Beginning Sept. 2 and running through April 21, St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the place to be on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. That’s the time for sessions of the cathedral’s adult faith education program.

Intended for all people of the archdiocese, the sessions bring some of the most respected Catholic minds to the podium.

Theme of the year is based on Pope Francis’ writing: “Joy of the Gospel: Let Us be the Lights of Hope.”
Unless specified, sessions are held in St. Joseph Hall, with an entry off NW 17th.

On Sept. 2, Dominican Sister Carol Dempsey, a Bible scholar at University of Portland, speaks on the Bible’s transformative vision and its call for us to be people of hope. She will focus on various biblical texts from both the Old and New Testaments that served as beacons of light and hope for the people of their day. Participants will reread selected texts in the context of their own lives and contemporary times to discover how these ancient narratives, poems, and letters can be personally transformative.

On Sept. 9, UP theologian Rene Sanchez discusses love of neighbor as encounter with the other. Because we as Christians are called to love of neighbor in all conditions we must seek to understand what this command might mean for contemporary Catholics, says Sanchez, son of farmworkers who holds a doctorate from Boston College. He will seek to explain some of the features of our contemporary society and offer a process known as Agapic Solidarity as one way to fulfill a vocation of love of neighbor.

Jesus and passion for the Reign of God is the topic Sept. 16 as Father Raymond  Carey speaks. The reign of God was the whole key to the mission that Jesus engaged, beginning in Galilee and continuing to this moment in the life of the Church. This presentation will attempt to tap that radical passion of Jesus, and to capture some sense of the astounding news of the coming of God’s reign.

On Oct. 7, Sister Carol continues her sessions on the Bible’s transformative vision.

Sanchez returns Oct. 14 to explore the prophetic tradition and response to empire. He says we now find ourselves as people of faith living in a time of empire. Sanchez will demonstrate how the prophetic tradition as lived within the Christian community is called to respond to the current empire. This response can be seen as way of critically engaging the empire as Jesus did in his day.

The first letter of St. Clement, the topic on Oct. 21, is often included in early lists of Scripture and is the first time the church in Rome intruded itself into the affairs of a sister church to settle a controversy on its own authority. Father Jon Buffington leads a personal look into the life and times of two church communities around the year 96 A.D.

Nov. 4 is the third session on the transformative vision of the Bible, led by Sister Carol.  

On Nov. 18, a liturgist and adjunct instructor at UP examines the culture of encounter embracing the call of Pope Francis. Michael Prendergast says the pope is calling the church to embrace the Culture of Encounter, or common ground, which is the foundation of peace. Prendergast will explore the principles of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative’s 1996 document “Called to be Catholic” and explore the parallels in the writings teachings and preaching of Pope Francis.

The series goes on Advent and Christmas break until Feb. 3, when the popular tri-faith presentation takes place inside the cathedral. Msgr. Patrick Brennan, pastor of the cathedral, will team up with Rabbi Michael Cahana and the Rev. William Lupfer of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral to discuss their traditions’ takes on marriage, divorce and remarriage.

On Feb. 10 and continuing on Feb. 17, Holy Cross Father Charles Gordon of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture speaks on G.K. Chesterton’s 1908 book Orthodoxy, a classic of Christian apologetics in which Chesterton gives an explanation of how he came to embrace the Christian faith.

Prendergast returns March 3 to discuss the psalms of praise and lament. He calls the two forms “the two melodies” that accompany the Christian. He will ask how the Psalms are coming alive for people today.

Father Gordon leads discussion of a play March 10. In “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” American playwright Stephen Adly presents the story of a court case over the fate of Judas, calling upon witnesses Mother Teresa, Caiaphas, St. Monica, Freud and Satan.

Father Gordon returns March 17 with a talk and discussion on the poetry collection Incarnadine. Written by Mary Szybist, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for poetry, the collection is a series of annunciations that reveal a yearning for love, motherhood, the will to see things as they are, and to speak.

Father John Tuohey is leader April 7 for a session on difficult medical and ethical issues when it comes to caring for those we love. Father Tuohey, director of the Providence Center for Healthcare Ethics, will address questions like, Why do I have to purchase insurance? What is the teaching on feeding tubes? Is it OK to complete an advance directive form? Can I donate my organs or my body to science? He will cover misunderstood church teachings and leave time for questions.

Father Francis Chun takes the podium April 14 to speak about films of faith and reconciliation. He will speak and lead discussion on Get Low, Monsieur Vincent, Romero and Philomena.

The series ends April 21 when Father Gordon leads a look at Dana Gioias’ Pity the Beautiful, poems that focus on life, especially glimpses of beauty that encourage people to accept each gift and fully experience their own lives.