Dr. Charles Strauss will deliver “The Church as Field Hospital: St. John Neumann, St. Francis Xavier Parish, and Catholic Social Teaching” as the 10 annual William K. Collinge Lecture, according to a release from the Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice.

The lecture will take place today, Monday, June 20, at 7 p.m., at St. Francis Xavier School, 465 Table Rock Road, Gettysburg.

The lecture takes its title from a 2013 statement by Pope Francis: “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. And you have to start from the ground up,” according to the release

Strauss will apply the metaphor of the field hospital to the life and ministry of St. John Neumann, an immigrant from Bohemia, who as Bishop of Philadelphia laid the cornerstone of the current St. Francis Church on June 20, 1852, exactly 170 years before the date of the lecture, and returned a year later to dedicate the church, according to the release.

This talk will examine Neumann’s work with the infirm, immigrants, and students as a way to examine the social goals of the Catholic Church in the 19th century.

Strauss, who received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame, is associate professor of history at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., and executive secretary of the American Catholic Historical Association. He is president of the St. Francis Xavier School Advisory Board, a board member of the Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), and a former member of the Gettysburg Borough Council.

The Collinge Lecture, an annual event jointly sponsored by ICPJ and the St. Francis Xavier Church Social Welfare and Justice Committee, honors the late William K. Collinge, who left significant bequests to St. Francis Xavier Church and ICPJ. Admission is free.

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