Father Jan Michael Joncas recently was chosen by Washington Theological Union to be its 2012 Sophia Award recipient. The award is presented annually to a scholar whose work defines national excellence in theological scholarship contributing to the ministry of the Catholic Church. Anne E. McLaughlin, R.S.M., D.Min., acting academic dean of WTU, said of Joncas, “A highly productive academic scholar and gifted musician, he continues to disclose the riches of the liturgical tradition in ever new and creative ways.” Past award recipients include Father Michael J. Scanlon, O.S.A., Villanova University; Father Donald Senior, C.P., S.T.D., Catholic Theological Union; and Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., Ph.D., Fordham University.

Joncas gave the award lecture on Feb. 12 at WTU. His topic was “Heavenly Harmonies in Human Habitats: Composing for the Church.” Joncas noted that “when theologians discuss church music, they almost always focus on texts being sung, but rarely explore how music itself may make a theological contribution.” He used his lecture to demonstrate how music may manifest wisdom (sophia) in compositions intended for the Church’s worship.

While in Washington, D.C., he also gave a lecturedemonstration, “New Musical Settings of the New English Translation of the Order of Mass,” as a benefit for the Lay Centre at Visitation convent.


Dr. Michael Naughton also was recognized this semester.Marquette University invited him to deliver the Père Marquette Lecture in Theology, which Marquette describes as a “series of annual public lectures by distinguished theologians of international reputation.” The lectures are published in volumes by Marquette University Press. The annual lecture has been delivered in the past by scholars such as Dr. Jon Levenson, Harvard University; Dr. Christopher Charles Rowland, Oxford University; and Jürgen Moltmann.

Naughton delivered his lecture, “The Logic of Gift: Rethinking Business as a Community of Persons,” on March 4. The lecture focused on the purpose of business in light of Pope Benedict’s “logic of gift,” which serves as a theological basis to understand business as a “community of persons.” He offered a case study on firings and layoffs and how the logic of gift can be operationalized in a modern business context. He also argued that the Catholic university has an instrumental role to play in rethinking the business enterprise.

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