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About the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture

Cover of Year in Review features publication title on background image of windows looking into Rehm Library.

The Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture sponsors and supports programming that explores basic human questions of meaning, morality and mutual obligation. Following the principle that faith and learning are partners in liberal education, the McFarland Center's programs foster dialogue that respects differences and provide a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious as well as interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope. Most events are free and open to the public.

View our 2021-2022 Year in Review (PDF) »

Lectures and Programs

Each semester, the McFarland Center plans and co-sponsors lectures and conferences that address current issues and meet the timely needs of faculty and students. In addition, events are planned to fulfill ongoing funded programs. Click on the Calendar to view upcoming and past programs. Many lectures are recorded for podcast and available here.

Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity
This series explores the place of religious and spiritual life in a world that is sometimes at odds with faith, other times in search of it, and always at work reshaping it.

International Visiting Jesuit Fellowship
This program is designed to give Jesuits from many different countries the time and resources to pursue scholarship, to collaborate with American scholars, and to build a better sense of the Jesuit global community. International Visiting Jesuit Scholars will offer one course per semester and may present a public lecture and/or faculty seminar in their disciplinary area.

Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding
The Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding supports campus and community-wide educational initiatives that foster understanding of Judaism and Jewish culture, and dialogue between Jews and Christians. The McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture administers the program, including scholarships for students and faculty to study in Israel as well as regularly scheduled on-campus lectures.

Virtual Classroom Visits
Each year, the McFarland Center provides support for faculty to invite guests to visit their classes via Zoom or other means to discuss their work. These opportunities give students first-hand access to scholars, authors, performers, and community leaders whose work they are studying.

Co-Sponsored Programs
The McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture also partners with faculty and academic departments to support programming that enhances classroom learning and faculty professional development.


The McFarland Center also presents and supports conferences and workshops on a diversity of topics. From rooting out the biological foundations of morality to an assessment of the War on Poverty — then and now, to the philosophy and economic theory of Adam Smith, the conferences feature distinguished scholars and thought leaders and engage students and faculty to further their interdisciplinary discussion and learning. Many conference sessions are recorded and available online.

Catholics & Cultures

In 2015, the McFarland Center launched an online resource for exploring the religious lives and practices of Catholics around the world. The first-of-its-kind Catholics & Cultures website uses scholarly articles, videos, slideshows, demographic data and bibliographies to chronicle what it means to be Catholic in a particular place and cultural context. Learn about feasts, shrines, worship styles, religious music and visual culture in different countries and cultures. Consider how faith and culture shape migration patterns, family and gender roles, and death rituals. View liturgy and explore the distinctive practices of Eastern Catholic Churches. As part of the Catholics & Cultures initiative, the McFarland Center occasionally organizes lectures and conferences, both at Holy Cross and around the nation and the world.