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Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP and Fr James Baxter OP begin 2024 Scholarship at the Cathedral series

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Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, spiritual adviser to the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, addresses the gathering in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall 23 October 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

The Scholarship at the Cathedral series will host two Dominican speakers in back-to-back sessions this March.

Parish priest of St James Forest Lodge and St Bede’s Pyrmont Fr James Baxter OP will launch the 2024 series of speakers with a lecture on Thomas Aquinas, at the Chapter Hall of St Mary’s Cathedral on 7 March.

Less than a week later on 12 March, the cathedral will host respected British Dominican Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP for a lecture on the Eucharist as a Sacrament of Hope.

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Ordained in 1971, Fr Radcliffe was the master of the Order of Preachers from 1992-2001, and has held a range of prestigious academic positions, including ex-officio grand chancellor of the Angelicum in Rome and director of the Las Casas institute at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Register at the Scholarship at the Cathedral website by clicking here.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University in 2003, and in 2007 was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing for his book What is the Point of Being a Christian?

He was named by Pope Francis to be spiritual advisor to the Synod on Synodality last year, where he preached on the need to overcome differences and factionalism.

“We may be divided by different hopes,” he told the delegates. “But if we listen to the Lord and to each other, seeking to understand his will for the Church and the world, we shall be united in a hope that transcends our disagreements.”

Bishop Richard Umbers said Sydneysiders were fortunate to have Fr Radcliffe appear at Scholarship at the Cathedral.

“He is a well-known name and when people hear it their ears pick up,” Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers told The Catholic Weekly.

“He will no doubt be very engaging and practical and will look to share in and answer people’s hopes and frustrations.”

Fr Baxter’s lecture on St Thomas takes place during the 750th anniversary of the saint’s death, although time has hardly diminished the Angelic Doctor’s relevance to the church and world.

“It is certainly always worth looking into one of the greatest minds who is as valid today as any time,” Bishop Umbers said.

“Fr James is certainly well-versed in the life and mind of this great saint.”

The Archdiocese’s Scholarship at the Cathedral program aims to deliver public lectures by Australian and international intellectuals to help guide young adults in Sydney.

“It helps to further people in the art of conversation, in dialogue and in being able to give publicly accessible reasons for their beliefs, and to be able to give respectfully accessible reasons as to why they may disagree with others,” Bishop Umbers said.

“As scholars, we should find ourselves in situations where we are able to understand and critique rather than simply absorb.”

The first lecture by Fr Baxter, Thomas Aquinas: Model Student, Model Preacher, will be in the St Mary’s Cathedral Chapter Hall on Thursday 7 March at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

Fr Radcliffe’s lecture, Eucharist as our Sacrament of Hope, will be presented on Tuesday 12 March.

Register at the Scholarship at the Cathedral website.

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