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Rafael Luciani Offers the 2022 Keynote Presentation

Professor Rafael Luciani, S.T.D. is a world renown expert on synodality in the Catholic Church who knows much about the current efforts of Pope Francis to create a new phase in the reception of Vatican II — a church that “walks together” discerning the future.

Professor Luciani argues that what is at stake is nothing less that the Church’s fidelity to her calling as a follower of Jesus and her response to the new signs of the times.  He contends that synodality is a re-ordering of relationships within the church.  In this new ecclesial “we”, all the faithful – from the pope to the laity – are equals in a communion, with the same responsibility regarding the identity, vocation, and mission of the Church.

Professor Rafael Luciani is lay theologian from Venezuela who has been appointed as Expert of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. He holds degrees of Doctor in Theology and Licenciate in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome; Baccalaureatum in Philosophy and Baccalaureatum in Theology from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome; and Licenciate in Education (with mention in Philosophy) earned from the Jesuit`s Catholic University Andrés Bello in Caracas. He is an Associate Professor of the Practice at Boston College and is currently engaged in postdoctoral research activities at the Julius-Maximilians Universität in Würzburg, Germany.

He is the author of Synodality: A New Way of Proceeding in the Church, the book FutureChurch used during our three-week book study in October.

Yunuen Trujillo Accepts the 2022 Christine Schenk Award

FutureChurch’s Christine Schenk Award for Young Catholic Leaders is given to a young Roman Catholic who has demonstrated promising leadership in advancing FutureChurch’s Vatican II mission in one or more areas of social justice, pastoral care, ministry, advocacy, teaching, researching, or publishing.

FutureChurch is pleased to present the 2022 Christine Schenk award to Ms. Yunuen Trujillo for her ministry with LGBTQ+ Catholics.

Yunuen Trujillo is a Catholic lay minister, a faith-based Community Organizer, and an Immigration Attorney. As a lay minister, she has served in Young Adult Ministry for more than 15 years and she is one of the leading figures for inclusive Catholic LGBT Ministry in the United States. Yunuen is a regular speaker at the yearly Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, a Congress that draws about 30,000+ attendants from all over the world, where she teaches about inclusive LGBT Ministry. As a community organizer, she has worked with L.A. Voice PICO, a faith-based, multi-faith, multi-racial organization that works to create a society that reflects the Dignity of all persons; working on issues such as immigrant rights, education, and criminal justice reform. Yunuen is also the founder of the Instagram @lgbtcatholics, an online platform of resources for Catholic LGBT Ministry, and she is the Religious Formation Coordinator (Sp) for the Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She is the author of the new book, LGBTQ Catholics: A Guide for Inclusive Ministry (Paulist Press, 2022).

Sister Maureen Sullivan Accepts the 2022 Louis Trivison Award

The Louis J. Trivison Award is given to a Roman Catholic who exhibits outstanding leadership in advancing FutureChurch’s Vatican II mission or vision in one or more areas of teaching, administration, research, publication, advocacy, and pastoral care.

FutureChurch is honored to present Dominican Sister of Hope, Sr. Maureen Sullivan, with the 2022 Louis J. Trivison award, for her life-long efforts educating Catholics about and instilling in them a love for the Second Vatican Council.

In the past few years, Sr. Maureen has been instrumental in advancing FutureChurch’s mission of reviving our Vatican II church. Offering several FutureChurch series on the revolutionary importance of Vatican II, Sr. Maureen has earned the love, trust, and devotion of many Catholics who share the goal of making the Spirit of Vatican II come alive throughout the church. Her work has helped us arrive at this moment where synodality, a radically new way of being church, is being shepherded forward by Pope Francis.

As world renown church historian and theologian Massimo Faggioli told us,

Sister Maureen Sullivan is not only a dear friend, but also a scholar and a teacher from whom I have learned a lot, especially during my first years in the USA. There is no doubt that Maureen is one of those American scholars and teachers of Vatican II who kept the light of Vatican II aflame. She is one of those who made possible the comeback of the theology of the council today, in the context of Pope Francis’ pontificate and of Synodality. We as a church and as a scholarly community are indebted to her for helping American Catholicism prepare for a new phase in the reception of the council.

Theologian and Ecclesiologist Richard Gaillardetz agrees:

For decades now, few if any have matched the zeal of Sr. Maureen Sullivan in championing the continued relevance of the Second Vatican Council. Her deep knowledge of the council and her pastoral perspicacity have fueled her many writings and speaking engagements. Her work wonderfully supports Pope Francis’s own commitment to the council. She continues to be an extraordinary gift to the life of the church.

Catholic Women Preach Book Launch

FutureChurch hosts “a Celebration of Women’s Wisdom and Witness” to launch the first volume of Catholic Women Preach: Raising Voices, Renewing the Church (Orbis Books, 2022).

We are joined by Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, a leading authority on the role of women in the early church; Nicole Trahan, FMI, vocations director for the Marianist sisters; Virginia Saldanha, a theologian-activist in Mumbai, India; and Kerry Alys Robinson, founding executive director and partner for global and national initiatives at Leadership Roundtable.

Visit the Orbis Books Website to purchase your copy. Also available on Amazon as a paperback and digital (Nov. 3) for those residing outside of the United States as well as many other booksellers.


A Study of Synodality

Join us as we discuss synodality, what it means for each of us, our communities and parishes, and the wider church.  Our main text will be “Synodality: A New Way of Proceeding in the Church” authored by Vatican Synod consultant Professor Rafael Luciani.

We will gather for three weeks in October (4, 11, 18) at 12noon ET for prayer, expert guidance, small group discussions, and actions we can take to make synodality a greater reality.

Register for These Sessions

Session One: From Pastoral Conversion to Synodal Conversion

Read Chapters 1 – 4

According to Prof. Luciani, We are experiencing a crisis in the transformation of faith because we are still mired in a clerical institutional model.

As he notes, Yves Congar was one of the giants at the Second Vatican Council who understood most clearly that the clericalist institutional church desperately needed reforming.  And Pope Francis has made overcoming it a cornerstone of his papacy saying to priests, “Clericalism is a true perversion in the Church…Clericalism condemns, separates, frustrates, and despises the people of God.”

Synodality is the re-structuring principle that transforms the Church from a Western, monocultural Church, centered on Rome and its primacy, to a global and intercultural Church, opening the way to recognize the authority of the local church.

Additional Media

Session Two: Synodality and the People of God

Read Chapters 5 – 8

The Second Vatican Council reinscribed the centrality of the church as thee “People of God.”  Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens, the principal architect of Lumen Gentium, described it as a rediscovery of the people of God as a whole, as a single reality” with each member of the church sharing co-responsibility for the life and work of the Church.

However, in the 1980s the blossoming of this newfound way of being was thwarted by a pope who, once again, emphasized the primacy of the hierarchy subordinating the “sense of the faithful.”  Regressive policies and teachings undercut the reformist principles of Vatican II.

With his constant emphasis on synodality, Pope Francis wants to make take the church forward making this exercise of authority as the work of the entire People of God a constitutive ecclesial dimension and way of proceeding for this third millennium.


FC Powerpoint for Chapters 5 – 8 

Kelly Meraw’s synod resources (click below)

Synod 2021 – 2023

Session Three: Synodality and the Local Churches

Read Chapters 9, 10, & Conclusion

Although, under the papacy of John Paul II, there was a progressive deflation of the value of the local church as normative for interpreting tradition, theology, and faith, Pope Francis has emphasized that we become a “listening church” so that the People of God can be heard in their ” particular place and time” in order to know what the Spirit is saying and how to proceed.

In order to allow the Spirit to move us into this new phase of synodality, we must move into a new creative phase of receiving and implementing the Second Vatican Council.

How will this principle translate into new realities?  That is the work we are undertaking today!

The video for this session will not be posted here at the request of our speaker.  It has been sent to all the participants signed up for this study.  To learn more contact

FC Powerpoint for Synodality Book Study Part III, Chapters 9, 10 & conclusion

Synodality study –  Participant responses to what they learned

Women Erased: Women’s Authorship in Jewish and Christian Literature

Professor Ross Kraemer joins FutureChurch for this “Women Erased” presentation which explores a few texts that may have been composed by women, ending with a conversation about why and to whom this matters in the 21st century. Was authorship of Jewish and Christian texts from the Greco-Roman period a “male only” enterprise? Or did Jewish and Christian women also shape the writings that are foundational for Christians today? Since a significant portion of early literature is either anonymous or pseudonymous, past assumptions of male authorship are rightly subject to new lines of feminist inquiry.

Ross S. Kraemer is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University, where she specialized in early Christianity, Jews and Jewish religion in late antiquity (especially the Mediterranean diaspora) and other religions of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, often with an emphasis on issues of women and gender. She’s the editor of Women and Christian Origins (Oxford, 1998, with Mary Rose D’Angelo), and the New Testament editor for The Dictionary of Women in Scripture(Houghton-Mifflin, 2000). She’s also the author of Unreliable Witnesses:  Religion, Gender and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean (Oxford, 2011), Her Share of the Blessings: Women’s Religions Among Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford, 1992) and many articles on Jewish and Christian women in antiquity. Her most recent book, The Mediterranean Diaspora in Late Antiquity: What Christianity Cost the Jews (Oxford, 2020) examines what happened to Jews living in the late antique Mediterranean diaspora in the wake of Christianization.

Texts for Further Exploration


Subversive Habits Book Study

Join us as we take a deep dive into Dr. Shannen Dee Williams groundbreaking research, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle. We will explore the lives, experiences, struggles, and advances Black Catholic women religious made in the long struggle for freedom.  This series will include prayer, study, and guest speakers.  Please join us for an exciting exploration of our Catholic history and the women who changed the course of our faith.

Session One: Preface and Introduction

This first session covers the preface and introduction to Dr. Williams’ book. Deborah Rose, co-director of FutureChurch, provides a summary of the material and our guest, Sr. Anita Baird, DHM, offers her personal reactions.

View the Prayers, Questions, and Large Group Responses

Session Two: Chapters 1 & 2

Chapters 1 and 2 trace the emergence of Black Catholic communities; the struggles and barriers they faced and overcame; and, the unwavering commitment they made to education as a path to liberation in their formative years.

Here are resources that may be useful to you as you read each chapter.

  1. An article about the founding of St. Augustine, Florida, where African descended people, free and enslaved, first came to the U.S.  The Settlement of St. Augustine
  2. An article about the Haitian Revolution which was a turning point for abolition and the influx of refugees that prompted the growth of communities of Black Catholic women religious.  The Haitian Revolution
  3. A timeline the early years of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the ties to the Catholic Church.  Timeline Transatlantic Slave Trade: 1400s – 1600s

In this Second Session, we welcome Sr. Marcia Hall, OSP, who offers her insights and reactions as a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence – the first successful community of Roman Catholic sisters of African descent in the United States.

View the prayers, questions, and large group responses from this session.

Session Three: Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Here is an excellent resource from PBS with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that offers two minute videos on various aspects of Black history.  The series is called “Black History in Two Minutes (or so)” with dozens of videos that will help you contextualize Dr. Williams’ book, “Subversive Habits.” 

Also, please view the website of the National Black Sisters’ Conference to get a more thorough understanding of this historic organization.

In this session, we welcome Sr. Josita Colbert, SNDdeN, a founding member of the NBSC, who shares their important work with us.

View the prayers, questions, and large group sharing for this session.

Session Four:  Chapters 6, 7, and Conclusion

We are joined this week by the author, Dr. Shannen Dee Williams.

To see the full documentary (at no charge through Avila University), Sisters of Selma:  Bearing Witness for Change go to

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