Peter Cardinal Turkson celebrated Mass at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology on Oct. 19 as part of the school’s fall Dehon Lecture. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology)

Peter Cardinal Turkson visited Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology on Tuesday, Oct. 19, to present the fall Dehon lecture.

The Cardinal delivered a keynote lecture on ideas for a renewed social catechism for the 21st century. He presented a lecture on the life and teachings of Fr. Leo J. Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Fr. Dehon lived during the Industrial Revolution, a period of great change, and he encouraged his priests to go out among their people and know how they lived and worked. The Cardinal showed how Fr. Dehon’s writings were part of a broader Church Tradition that encourages people to see the dignity of each human. He also noted how some of the struggles faced by priests and laity then are similar to problems faced today. The Cardinal answered questions from the audience of more 100 seminarians, with another 100 audience members comprised of graduate students, laity, visiting priests and religious. The event was livestreamed to a global audience.

Cardinal Turkson is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Coast (Ghana). Respected as an international leader in justice and peace, he has numerous advanced degrees and awards.

He held many roles in his home country of Ghana, as well as throughout West Africa, before being called to Rome. In 2009, he was nominated president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and confirmed in that position by Pope Francis in 2013. He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI, and in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.

In the afternoon, Cardinal Turkson engaged in a panel discussion with Catherine Orr and Dr. James Stroud. Exploring the topics in detail, the panelists reflected on how to put some of the ideas into practical use in families, parishes and beyond.

Orr serves as the pastoral associate at Lumen Christi Parish in Mequon and as the program coordinator for the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors. She also serves on the Catholic Charities USA Parish Social Ministry Leadership Team and on the board of directors for the Catholic Labor Network. She and her husband have three children.

Stroud is an associate professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, specializing in the areas of fundamental moral theology, biomedical ethics, social ethics and philosophical ethics. He is currently working on an edited volume on St. Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical “Veritatis splendor” with contributions from 10 other scholars. He also is an active member of St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic parish. He and his wife have eight children.

The day began with Cardinal Turkson presiding and preaching at Mass with the school community, during which he encouraged seminarians to study the Church teachings and to develop a robust prayer life.

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology hosts a lecture every fall in honor of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  The Dehon Lecture Series invites speakers of international, national and/or local importance to speak on topics of critical and timely significance for the Church.  Each lecture is structured in a manner that offers its audience, consisting of seminarians, lay students, faculty, staff, local clergy and laity, opportunities for theological reflection and integration on significant topics.