Major Academic Conference Celebrating 10 years of Pope Francis at St. Mark’s College, UBC

Join us May 4-6 as 45 global and local experts reflect on “Pope Francis and the Future of the Church: Prospects and Challenges for Renewal.”


VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA, March 16, 2023 / — The conference, Pope Francis and the Future of the Church, is being held at St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, May 4-6, 2023.

“This is the first major conference dedicated to the pontificate of Pope Francis to be held in Canada,” said Dr. John W. Martens, Director of the Centre for Christian Engagement at St. Mark’s College, UBC, “and we are excited to be bringing in experts from across Canada, the US, and around the world.”

Pope Francis’ election in 2013 marked a new stage of reflection on the nature of the church and its mediation of God’s love for the world. Informed by his programmatic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Francis has set in motion a reform that challenges Catholics to rethink what it means to be the Church in the 21st century. The broad contours of this renewal are significant, and they require theological analysis and assessment. After ten years of the Francis pontificate, it is time to consider the impact of this Pope on the Church and on the world.

Hosted by the Centre for Christian Engagement at St. Mark’s College, UBC, Pope Francis and the Future of the Church responds to this call for reflection on a wide range of themes central to Francis’ pontificate and his vision of the church, including the legacy of Vatican II; synodality; accompaniment; reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada and the US; integral ecology; and justice and concern for the poor and marginalized. A first such conference dedicated to exploring Francis’ pontificate in a Canadian context, this event will include presentations from over 45 scholars and practitioners – lay, cleric, and religious – from across North America, South America, and Africa.

Our keynote speakers include the Italian theologian Dr. Massimo Faggioli, Villanova University, who will offer the Inaugural Annual Laudato Si’ Lecture; the Argentinian theologian Dr. Emilce Cuda, Loyola University Chicago and ​​Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America at the Vatican, known as “the woman who knows how to read Pope Francis”; and Dr. Catherine Clifford, St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, co-editor of the recently released The Oxford Handbook on Vatican II.

For more information, press only:
John W. Martens
[email protected]

For more information on the Conference:

John W. Martens
St. Mark’s College
+1 604-785-2590
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