Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Mount St. Mary’s University to
Host National Conference

On April 7-9, Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., will host the first annual Callings Conference, bringing together scholars, students and the public in a national conversation on the many interpretations of Christian vocation. This year, conference attendees and presenters from several academic disciplines and walks of life will explore the question, "What does it mean to be called by God?"

Conference registration is now being accepted online at and by phone at 301-447-5772. Early registration discounts are in effect through March 14.

Conference organizer Michael Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, explained, "Through presentations and plentiful opportunities for discussion, we plan to look at several basic questions from a variety of angles: To what are we being called? How do we recognize this call? Most importantly, how can exploring the meaning of Christian vocation change our lives?"

Keynote presentations include:

"Numb and Numb-er: Youth and the Church of ‘Benign Whatever-ism’" -- The Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean, Ph.D., tackles the findings of the mammoth National Study for Youth and Religion (2002-04), which asserts that mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic teenagers are the most spiritually at-risk youth in America. Dean is associate professor of youth, church and culture, as well as director of the Tennent School of Christian Education, at Princeton Theological Seminary.

"The Art of Teaching and the Christian Vocation" -- Jeanne Heffernan, Ph.D., explores the way in which the professional calling of the Christian academic must be rooted in, guided by and in the service of his or her primary baptismal vocation. Heffernan is an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University.

"Hearing God’s Call in an Idolatrous World: The Role of the University Between Popular and Ecclesial Culture" -- Thomas Hibbs, Ph.D., examines the obstacles in our popular culture that make it difficult to hear God’s call or even to entertain the notion of vocation. Hibbs is distinguished professor of ethics and culture and dean of the Honors College at Baylor University.

Among the other 19 presentations will be:

 "The Ethics of Vocation in a Violent Calling: Reconciling Military Service and Christian Faith"

  • "The Hobbitus of Vocation in ‘The Lord of the Rings’"
  • "Discerning the Soft Voice of God in a Loud World"
  • "Making ‘My Boss Is a Jewish Carpenter’ More Than Just a Bumper Sticker Slogan: Practical Advice for Thinking about Vocation"
  • "Hear My Cry/Hear My Call: The Struggle for Black Women’s Leadership  During the Civil Rights Movement and Its Biblical Origins"
  • "A Stranger on the Bus: God’s Call in ‘Joan of Arcadia’"
  • Called to Be Saints: Holiness and Sanctity in Today’s World"
  • "When Does the Artistic Vocation Become a Calling?"

Mount St. Mary’s University, founded in 1808, is the oldest independent Catholic university in the nation. Together, its main campus in Emmitsburg, Md., and its Continuing Studies Center in Frederick, Md., provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 1,800 students. It is consistently ranked among the "Best Master’s Universities" in U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings.

The conference is sponsored by Mount St. Mary’s University and Callings, a Mount program of theological exploration funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. For the full conference schedule and to register, visit or call 301-447-5772.

Read other stories on Mt. St. Mary