Harkening back to a time when Catholic culture was much more visible and pervasive in society, Lydia LoCoco has created a series of events over the next year that is intended to share and highlight the gift of the Catholic culture that is alive and well in southeastern Wisconsin.
LoCoco, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s director of community relations, said the appeal of these events is they are free, open to the public and are one-time events that are neither liturgical nor strictly catechetical, but rather offer a glimpse into the richness and depth of the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition.
“We know that Jesus Christ is the answer to the questions of what it means to be human today,” LoCoco said. “Through the Church, his body here on earth, we can revitalize and transform culture, offering people a means to flourish and grow.”
The first event is scheduled for Sept. 11 at the Catholic Ecology Center (W1468 County Road NN, Neosho; www.catholicecologycenter.org). Beginning with Sunday Mass at 9 a.m., the event, “Toward a Human Ecology,” will also include brunch and tours of the grounds. The Catholic Ecology Center is an organization that seeks to deepen faith and stewardship through hands-on encounters with nature. LoCoco said it is the perfect place to start the series because there is a new generation of younger Catholics who are drawn to beauty, sustainability and authenticity.
“They can pop in and they can pop out,” she said. “These are occasions and opportunities that highlight the beauty of the Catholic Church, engaging people to envision lives worthy of our humanity. In Laudato Si we read, ‘If we approach nature and the environment without … openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.’”
LoCoco continued, “Ecology is the science of the relationships among living things and their environment, and human ecology is concerned with relationships of human beings. We want to showcase all of the beautiful Catholic culture we have, and this is a really unique setting for it.”
The series of events, “Cultivating Catholic Culture in Southeastern Wisconsin,” will continue Nov. 17 with an evening with author and poet Joshua Hren. Reservations will open soon for a free evening at Shorewood’s Hubbard Lodge. The author is best known for his book “How to Read (and write) Like a Catholic,” and his new novel, “Infinite Regress,” was recently hailed by Catholic Weekly as the “best Catholic novel of the last decade.”
The annual Pallium Lecture will be held Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Brookfield Conference Center. The Pallium Lecture is an annual event that seeks to foster conversation and engage the broader culture through the Catholic intellectual tradition.
This year’s Pallium Lecture will feature Msgr. James Shea, an official Eucharistic Preacher for the USCCB and the president of the University of Mary, who will speak on “Love for the Eucharist in an Apostolic Age,” as part of the USCCB’s three-year National Eucharistic Revival. Msgr. Shea’s book, “From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age,” took the Catholic world by storm, and this year’s Pallium Lecture will build upon the theme that Christendom, as we know it, is a thing of the past.
“Last year’s Pallium Lecture drew 700 Catholics from around the archdiocese, so save the date now,” LoCoco said. The room at the Brookfield Conference Center was filled to capacity for the Lecture by Ryan T. Anderson.
Later in the spring, the last of the series will focus on sacred architecture.
“Catholics want Catholic culture,” LoCoco said. “I don’t want to say that they are ‘nostalgic,’ but they are in some way ‘homesick’ for that faith and social cohesiveness that a lot of us grew up with. We have lost a whole web of Catholic culture that we used to have. Young adult Catholics, especially, are yearning for a world in which deep reflection on the core tenets of life is central to education, spiritual formation and public discourse. They understand that to be Catholic is to see things sacramentally and to understand that everything is connected.”
For more information on any of these events, contact LoCoco at 414-769-3558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.