Religious Studies
Mount Saint Mary's College

Religious Studies

Vatican II @ 50: A Symposium

Spring 2014: February 22, 2014, Doheny Campus

“Vatican II @ 50”
The Church in the World and the World Church

Coffee & Registration

8:45 - 9:30 a.m.


9:30 - 11 a.m.

Carmen Nanko-Fernandez

Carmen Nanko-Fernandez

"the walls are sprayed in gospel":
Re-Reading the Signs of the Times as a Global-Local Church

Dr. Nanko-Fernandez, a Latin@ theologian, is Director of the Hispanic Theology and Ministry at the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago and the author of numerous books and articles.

Global realities such as immigration, advanced communication technologies, and grassroots movements are re-shaping what it means to be church and how to be church in the world. Vatican II brought theological and pastoral attention to the local church in all its particularity, as interconnected communities bound together as a universal church. Subsequent papal visits and World Youth Days engrained images of this rich diversity in the Catholic imagination. Fifty years later Francis, Bishop of Rome, embodies the spirit of Vatican II and animates a new scrutiny of the signs of our times in language, images and even tweets intelligible to this generation. How do we critically interpret the signs of our complicated times as pastoral agents and ecclesial ministers and how might theologies grounded in la vida cotidiana, daily living, resource our endeavors?



Rev. Guillermo Garcia, PhD

Mount St. Mary’s College, Rev. Guillermo Garcia, PhD

Fr. Guillermo C. Garcia is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Department at Mount St. Mary's College and a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He earned the Ph.L. in Philosophy and the PhD in Religious Studies from the Catholic Universities of Louvain. Fr. Garcia has worked in parish ministry and secondary and higher education for 38 years. His present areas of interest include Christology, Ethics, Contemporary/Alternative theologies.


Dr. Susan Abraham

Loyola Marymount University, Susan Abraham, PhD

Dr. Susan Abraham is the author of Identity, Ethics, and Nonviolence in Postcolonial Theory: A Rahnerian Theological Assessment and Co-editor of Shoulder to Shoulder: Frontiers in Catholic Feminist Theology. Her research interests include Global Catholicism and Christianity, Interfaith Peace Initiatives and Christianity between colonialism and Postcolonialism. She earned her PhD from Harvard Divinity School, Massachusetts.

11:15am - 12:15pm

There will be several break-out sessions on topics related to the Church in the World and the World Church. Check back for presenters and session titles.


Maria Covarrubias

Maria Covarrubias, MA (SPANISH)

Multicultural/Intercultural Catechesis

La Catequesis después del Vaticano II/Catechesis after Vatican II

El Vaticano II constituye sin duda la reforma más grande que transformó nuestro sentido de iglesia. A raíz de esta reforma, La evangelización y catequesis tomaron un nuevo significado y expresiones. En este taller exploraremos algunos de los desarrollos de la historia de la catequesis desde Vaticano II hasta nuestros días, con un mayor énfasis in una catequesis multicultural e intercultural que responda a las necesidades contemporáneas

The Second Vatican Council constitutes without a doubt the most important reform that transformed our sense of Church. Since this reform, the evangelization and catechesis took a new meaning and expressions. In this workshop, we will explore some of the developments in the history of catechesis since Vatican II to our days with an emphasis in a multicultural/intercultural catechesis to respond to our contemporary needs.

María G. Covarrubias es directora de la oficina del Ministerio para la Catequesis en la Diócesis de San Bernardino. Tiene una experiencia catequética de más de veinte años. Es maestra de catequistas y ha escrito talleres para la preparación básica y avanzada de catequistas. Tiene una maestría en Estudios Religiosos del Colegio de Mount Saint Mary’s.

María G. Covarrubias is the director for the Office of Catechetical Ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino. She has a vast experience in the area of catechesis. She is a Master Catechists and has written several courses for basic and advance catechist formation. She has a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Mount Saint Mary’s College


Dr.Sara Frykenberg

Sara Frykenberg, PhD

Technology, Video-Gaming, and Theology

Loving My Avatar’s Neighbor?

Transformative Potentials within Cyber Communities of Video Gamers

While many spiritual communities are coming to embrace the benefits of digital technology and social media, as well as its challenges, video games and their online communities remain largely suspect. Critics of video games tend to see these digital and online worlds as unreal fantasies, which are at best, a waste of time and at worst, addictive imitations of violence that only perpetuate alienation and damaging stereotypes. This breakout session will challenge a narrow view of video gaming, suggesting that there is a unique creative potential within online and digital gaming communities to transform oppressive visions of reality. Cyber-embodiment parallels and intersects our physical embodiment as creatures made imago dei. Therefore, spiritual community is not only called to love its avatar’s neighbor, but can also expect the creative and life-giving incarnation of divine love manifesting in online places.

Sara Frykenberg, PhD is an adjunct professor of Religious Studies at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles, CA. Sara obtained her doctorate degree from Claremont Graduate University in 2011, specializing in feminist theology, liberative pedagogy, justice theories and diverse feminist and queer epistemology. Her research interests include the formation of counter-abusive community, liminal violence, women’s spiritual empowerment, feminist ethics and the meaning and potentials of cyber-embodiment. Sara’s current research examines the role (and formation) of empathy within particular video games, considering the way in which cyber community can become spiritual community. Sara is also a gamer, an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, and a permanent blogger for the international project


 Dr.Jaye Houston

Jaye Houston, PhD

Eco-Theology Is God Green? A Sustainable Approach to Creation Care

This session addresses the paradox of our consumptive choices known to some as a treadmill of consumption and the treadmill of production. These dual treadmills expose our uncontrolled consumption and underdeveloped view a healthy planet. The session’s guiding questions are: How does one resolve the disconnection between our earthly wants and our transcendent hope? What is a sustainable approach to Creation care?

Dr. Jaye Houston currently is pursuing her academic interest in social environmental justice; eco-justice. She focuses on two questions: What does it mean to be human? What is the connection between environmental issues, racial injustice, gender issues, ethics, and religion? Dr. Houston graduated Claremont Graduate University.


Michelle LaForce

Michelle LaForce, MA

Catechists, Collaboration, Cinema and Cookies:
The Hopes and Joys of Working with Catholic Youth and Young Adults
“You are not alone.” Many teachers in the catechetical profession, become better catechists when they work together in order to enhance their classes. In this workshop we will be looking at ways to make the most of the time we have with our teens and young adults by encouraging teachers to collaborate and thus instill in the Millennial Generation a commitment to their Church.

Michelle Laforce has worked with teens and youth for more than 25 years and earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Mount Saint Mary College, Los Angeles. Currently, she is the Vice Principal at Our Lady of Peace School in North Hills, CA where she also teaches 8th Grade Religion.


Brett Hoover

Brett Hoover, PhD (SPANISH)

Choques de cultura: Perspectivas divergentes en entender el Concilio Vaticano Segundo
Culture Clash and the Council: Divergent Cultural Perspectives on Vatican II

El Concilio Vaticano Segundo transformó la experiencia eclesial de millones de católicos por todo el mundo, pero cada región, país o cultura según su propia interpretación cultural. En la sociedad multicultural de Estados Unidos, a veces estas perspectivas distintas se chocan. Dr. Hoover habla y facilita un diálogo sobre las diferencias culturales en interpretar el Concilio Vaticano Segundo para que podamos descubrir otra vez el regalo profundo que es la diversidad cultural de la Iglesia en Estados Unidos.

The Second Vatican Council transformed the experience of Church of millions of Catholics around the world. Yet each region, country, or culture interpreted the Council in its own way, according to its own cultural experience. Here in the multicultural society of the United States, sometimes these different interpretations clash. Dr. Hoover will lead a conversation around different cultural interpretations of Vatican II and how they are truly a gift to the Church in the United States.

Dr. Brett C. Hoover es profesor auxiliar de teología en la Universidad de Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, donde el enseña la pastoral y asuntos de diversidad cultural. Sus investigaciones enfocan en parroquias católicas compartidas por culturas distintas. Es autor del libro de próxima publicación The Shared Parish: Anglos, Latinos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism (La parroquia compartida: Anglos, latinos, y el futuro del catolicismo de Estados Unidos) (New York: NYU Press, 2014).

Brett C. Hoover, PhD is assistant professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches pastoral theology and issues at the intersection of faith and culture. His research focuses on culturally diverse Catholic parishes. He is the author of the forthcoming book, The Shared Parish: Anglos, Latinos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism (New York: NYU Press, 2014).


David Sanchez

David Sanchez, PhD

Guadalupe, East Los Angeles, and Vatican II

This breakout session will explore the correlation between the Second Vatican Council and the popular mural depictions of East Los Angeles in the late-1960s and early 1970s. Topics will include the Councils emphasis of greater laity participation, employment of the common vernacular, and the explosion of post-Vatican II religious iconography.

David A. Sánchez is an Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Loyola Marymount University and a past Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at Mount St. Mary's College. He is the current Book Review Editor of the the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Director of the American Cultures Studies Program at LMU, and Past President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. He is the author of the award winning book: From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths (Fortress Press, 2008) and co-editor of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible (Fortress Press, 2014). He has published extensively on Guadalupan iconography, the Book of Revelation, the Gospel of Mark, and modern apocalyptic groups.


12:30 - 1:15pm
General Discussion with all presenters and participants

Lunch for all (complimentary)

Sponsored by Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University.