In This Section

Lecture Series

Each semester, the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture 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 that support our Center's mission. 

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.

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.

Thomas More Lectures on the Humanities
The Thomas More Lectures explore ways the humanities illuminate moral dilemmas, enhance our capacity for understanding and empathy, and help us to imagine more just ways of living.

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.

Past Series:

Presidential Colloquia on Jesuits and the Liberal Arts
This series, presented by the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture and the Office of the President, focuses on important historical moments in Jesuit history and pedagogy. Faculty and staff may join in discussion following the lecture on the impact these events have for Jesuit education today.

Thomas More Lectures on Faith, Work and Civic Life
Thomas More Lectures honor graduates of Holy Cross by them to speak about their own profession, vocation, and the ethical opportunities and challenges faced there.

Aging, Ethics and Spirituality
This occasional series was co-sponsored with the Gerontology Studies Program to explore aging and end of life issues.

"Last" Lecture Series
This series, formerly funded by the Lilly Vocation Discernment Initiative, offers students and faculty an opportunity to learn more about why some of their favorite professors find the work they do meaningful and worthwhile. The pretext of the lecture is that the speaker is about to retire and has been asked to sum up in a final lecture to students what has made his or her work worthwhile.

Thematic Series:

Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation
(Spring 2021)
Following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2022, this series engaged the community in exploring the causes of our multilayered political crisis, the fragmentation of American politics and society, and how to rebuild.

Holy Cross Elections Forum
(Fall 2020)
Organized by a small team of faculty, staff and students working across political differences, this series offered weekly lectures, panels and forums leading up to the 2020 elections on issues such as political identity, access to affordable healthcare, racial justice, climate change, and foreign policy.

1620/2020 Speaker Series
(Fall 2020)
This series explored past and contemporary Indian/New England/U.S. relations in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts. It culminated with a screening and discussion of the Holy Cross film project “Pakachoag: Where the River Bends.”

Women's Lives, Global Contexts
This series explored some of the issues that affect women's wellbeing around the world: including systemic sexual violence as a weapon of war, international rights for domestic workers, and Muslim attitudes about women after the Arab Spring.

In Our Lifetimes: Environmental Change and Stewardship
Six lectures over the 2010-2011 academic year are intended to get students thinking about the environmental changes and challenges they will face in their lifetimes, through the year 2050. Events are expected to tackle climate change, alternative energy, biodiversity, public health crises, and sustainability efforts at Holy Cross through 2050.

After the Fall: Capitalism and a just way forward
(Nine-part series, 2009-2010)
This comprehensive series of lectures and discussions explored the lessons learned during the credit crisis that began in 2007 and offered diverse perspectives on how to construct a new economy that is sustainable and just. The series addressed the economics of healthcare, climate change and consumerism as well as religious law. Audio recordings of the lectures are available.

Moral Responsibility for the Legacies of War: Vietnam to Iraq
(Four-part series, February 2009)
Just War theory, a doctrine of military ethics prescribed by Catholics, offers articulate perspectives on when it is allowable to go to war, and how one ought to behave in war, but it has far less to say about what obligations follow afterwards. The campus symposium is an opportunity to think about those moral obligations, and to address specific legacies of war, such as the environmental impact of Agent Orange and forms of post-traumatic stress. Podcasting of the talks and a forum for comments are available online.