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Epiphany Party

Posted by Michael Krom on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 15:01 PM

Over the weekend, past participants from the Faith and Reason Summer Program gathered for our annual Epiphany Party. My apologies for not taking photos! Here is the link to last year's party with some photos - you get the idea! After dinner, we dug into the traditional King Cake, and our king and queen had as their first task directing the choir in singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Our evening concluded with discussion and a movie.

The movie this year was "Joyeux Noël," which tells a stylized version of the spontaneous Christmas truces that took place along the front lines in 1914. Before watching the film, we discussed Aquinas's claim that fighting war on a holy day is not a sin so long as it is fought out of necessity. One of the difficult examples to think through on this is Washington's Christmas attack on Trenton. Was it justified using Aquinas's arguments? After looking at this issue, we examined a passage from Josef Pieper's In Tune with the World.

Pieper claims that war is the modern world's replacement for celebration and festivity, and thinking through this helped prepare us for the film.

While I will not attempt a plot summary here, two things stood out from the film.  First, the role of music in uniting people and overcoming tragedy.  One of my favorite scenes is when the married singers perform before the Crown Prince. "Bist du bei mir" is such a moving song, and the way it is performed captures how it cannot be sung by one who does not know love and true festivity; second, the film seems to avoid openly identifying whether or not the pastor in the film is Catholic. Yet, the celebration of the mass for German, Scottish, and French soldiers marks him off as a Catholic, and it is worth noting that only the Catholic Church could provide such international, devotional union. So, while the film is not a Catholic film in the strict sense, it seems to acknowledge the unique position of the Catholic Church as a communion of faithful across ethnic and national lines.

To everyone who made it, thanks for coming! It was great to see you again, and I look forward to future gatherings. In the meantime, best of luck with your studies, and I hope to see you this June for the Summer Program!

Topics: faith and reason, Michael Krom, epiphany

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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