New lecture series begins with end-of-life discussion
GREENSBORO — On Friday, May 18, at St. Pius X Church in Greensboro, Dr. David Williams, associate professor and chair of the theology department at Belmont Abbey College, kicks off a St. Pius X/Belmont Abbey College Lecture Series with the presentation "Remembering We are Mortal: Death and End of Life Decisions in the Catholic Tradition." The program is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m.
"Quite beyond issues of specific technologies or medical interventions, there's a theological perspective on death and dying that ought to inform our decision-making as Catholic Christians," Williams said. "It's especially good to consider this in advance of our actual encounters with those situations, which can often take place suddenly or under great emotional distress."
Williams, who has a Ph.D in theology, a Ph.D in political science and an M.A. in Christian ethics, all from Boston College, was born Methodist and received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1986 during his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University.
While the subject matter of this particular lecture may not be the easiest to discuss, Williams does feel that the presentation holds much value, both from a theological perspective as well as specifically being designed to help in actual decision-making.
"Death will come to us all, the common lot of our fallen humanity, and failing to consider or discuss it just leaves us unprepared," Williams said. "I'd hope that people come away with a better theological perspective, one that sees our deaths as part of that dying and rising with Christ that begins in our baptism. Grief and sadness there will be, but only in our dying with Him is there hope of rising. Closer to home, I'd also wish for people to leave with a better sense of the Church's principles that are in play when we're called to make end-of-life decisions for ourselves or families."
Tracy Earl Welliver, pastoral associate at St. Pius X Church, helped put the lecture series together with Williams and was excited to have him kick it off.
"We're really excited to bring some quality teaching to the parish as well as the Greensboro community," Welliver said. "I also think it will be a great opportunity for visibility for Belmont Abbey College in the northern region of the diocese."
Throughout his career, Williams has had the opportunity to learn a variety of things regarding death, end-of-life decisions and Catholicism.
"I'd say the biggest thing I've learned is the depth of what our faith has to offer in Scripture and in the teachers of the Church through the ages," Williams said. "It's very easy for us, with all of our
wonderful technologies, to dismiss anything thought or written in days gone by, but given time and attention, I've seen that our basic human situation in the face of death remains the same as theirs – whatever century we're called to live in."
Williams has also learned many important facts about his self-understanding throughout his career, as well.
"Activities outside the classroom are an essential part of my self-understanding as a theologian," he said. "I love teaching at a Catholic college because it's a privilege to help in the formation of young people, but I'm never more a theologian than when I'm responding to people's questions or putting the gifts of my education and training to work in a church setting."
For more about the St. Pius X/Belmont Abbey College Lecture Series, call the parish office at 336-272-4681.
— Ryan Murray, correspondent
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy