Dallas/Fort Worth area faithful gathered at the Irving Convention Center for the 12th Annual Dallas Ministry Conference (DMC) Oct. 11-13, 2018. Sponsored by the Diocese of Dallas and the University of Dallas, the event seeks to provide opportunities for faith formation, with talks and sessions given by speakers from across the nation and keynote addresses in English and Spanish, as well as celebrations of the liturgy.
The keynote address was given by Father Agustino Torres, C.F.R., from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx, New York. His work is dedicated to evangelizing to young adults, whether it be through his organizations Corazon Puro and Latinos por La Vida, through his shows in English and Spanish on EWTN, or through founding Catholic Underground, Casa Guadalupe, and JPII houses of discernment. True to the charism of the Franciscan order, his address was titled “Repair My House: St. Francis’ 5 Points of Renewal in the Church.”
Other conference speakers included several faculty members and alumni from the University of Dallas. These hailed not only from the Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry, but represented other colleges within the university as well, including the Constantin College Education and Chemistry Departments. Although coming from diverse fields of study, the faculty speakers were unified in their passion for ministry and love of the faith.
“I have been an attendee of the ministry conference since 2013, when I began my master’s degree studies in the school of ministry,” said David Catlett, Ph.D., a former adjunct instructor in the Neuhoff School of Ministry who now teaches physical chemistry (the subject in which he has his doctorate) in the Chemistry Department after years in the semiconductor industry. “This year was the second time I’ve spoken at the conference on the topic of science and Catholic teaching. I sense that people want to enter into a conversation and dialogue between science and our faith, and that was evident in the response at the conference to my session. I'm grateful to be at UD and to have an opportunity to explore the mysteries of the universe and the mysteries of our lives as Catholics. The University of Dallas and the ministry conference offer the ideal forum for such exploration.”
“The 2018 DMC gave colleagues the opportunity to reconnect, rejuvenate and rejoice in their work,” said Assistant Professor of Education Carmen Newstreet, Ph.D. “It was a privilege to work with professionals devoted to inclusivity in the church and schools, to hear strategies that welcome the others within our midst, and to focus on the good work of teaching faith-based empathy to our children.”
In the same spirit, Affiliate Assistant Professor of Ministry Father Rafael Ramirez, S.S.D, said that during the weekend he “felt the great desire to learn and growth in faith and fellowship that characterizes the Dallas Ministry Conference.”
Jodi Hunt, Ph.D., fellow Affiliate Assistant Professor of Ministry, similarly reflected on how the conference provided a time for community.
“Speaking at the DMC offered me an opportunity to not only present my research to ministers, but reconnect with what is happening in ‘the trenches’ of ministry,” she said. “To add, I always enjoy meeting lay ecclesial ministers and Catholic school teachers who work across the state of Texas as they teach me what ministering to the other looks like today. Thus, my work in academia as a practical theologian and religious educator is better because of offered insights and immediate feedback to the work that I present. It is a true honor to represent the University of Dallas as well, connecting the greater work of the university to the everyday lives of those whom we hope our research will inform and impact. It is a great blessing to see one's work formed within the academy have meaning beyond the brick and mortar walls of the ivory tower.”
"The Dallas Ministry Conference was another great success this year," said Neuhoff School of Ministry Dean Theodore Whapam. "We had a wonderful keynote address from Father Torres, who spoke about five principles of reform from the life of St Francis of Assisi. Returning to the Irving Convention Center was an outstanding opportunity because it helped to create a warm and energetic feel to the whole conference. We are pleased that we will be returning there next year as well for the 13th Annual Dallas Ministry Conference on Oct. 10 - 12, 2019."