The Mission of The Bishop John S. Cummins Institute for Catholic Thought, Culture and Action at Saint Mary’s College of California addresses our Catholic heritage by calling us to affirm and foster the Christian understanding of the human person which animates the educational mission of the Catholic Church. This mission promotes the dialogue of faith and reason, builds community among its members through the celebration of the Church’s sacramental life, defends the goods, dignity, and freedom of each person, and fosters sensitivity to social and ethical concerns. Dialogue, then is a particularly necessary element of the Bishop Cummins Institute.
Pope Paul VI provides a blueprint for dialogue. His great documents – such as Populorum Progressio, Octogesima Adveniens, Evangelii Nuntiandi, and in particular Ecclesiam Suam – describe the nature of the Church, its duty to evangelize, and its effort to engage others in dialogue as a means to seek the Truth. His leadership at the Second Vatican Council opened up the agenda surfacing in the Church concerning scripture, the sacramental life, social needs, peace, ethical concerns, and evangelization. The role of Catholic higher education in the dialogue of faith and reason, of faith seeking intellectual understanding, is crucial to the Church as it addresses this contemporary agenda. It is in Catholic colleges and universities where the Church is able to engage multiple perspectives in order to better inform the teaching authority of the Church as it works to guide people of faith and good will. It is in Catholic higher education where Catholic intellectuals are formed.
The Bishop Cummins Institute recognizes those who have contributed significantly to Catholic higher education in its role to evangelize and to promote the Catholic intellectual tradition. In the name of Pope Paul VI, this recognition is made by naming these persons Montini Fellows in Catholic Higher Education. A Montini Fellow is invited to our campus over the course of a week, to deliver a formal public lecture and to be available for visits with campus constituencies, including the possibility of classroom visits.
Melanie Morey, 2008-2009
John Piderit, S. J., 2008-2009
Mary Peter Traviss, O.P., 2009-2010
John C. Haughey, S. J., 2010-2011
Richard Yanikowski, 2011-2012
Marcello Sánchez Sorondo, 2012-2013
Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, 2014-2015