Leeds Trinity University launches Catholic Conference and online lecture series

This spring, Leeds Trinity University is to host the Catholic Conference, complementing its new ‘Beyond the Dark Clouds’ lecture series commencing in April and continuing throughout the year. The work is in response to post-pandemic alienation, division and injustices. The body of work has been curated with the University’s foundational Catholic values in mind. The aim is to promote the values of human dignity, the common good and solidarity.

The University will deliver its Catholic Conference in person at its Horsforth campus on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May. In collaboration with St Mary’s Twickenham, London, the two-day conference focuses on leadership, faith, spirituality and the Catholic curriculum.

The conference will be led by Dr Ann Marie Mealey, Director of Catholic Mission at Leeds Trinity University, with guest speakers from across the world, round table discussions, Mass, dinner and opportunities to network. Attendees will also hear from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Egbu.

The weekend will also feature a panel made up of the ‘Stella Maris Awards’ recipients of youth leadership and values from the Notre Dame Sixth Form College – a partner of Leeds Trinity University.

Complementing the conference, Leeds Trinity’s new 2023 lecture series ‘Beyond the Dark Clouds’ takes its name from ‘dark clouds over a closed world’, a phrase used by Pope Francis in his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti. The Pope delivered a message to the world aimed to help minimise fear during the coronavirus pandemic and unite communities being divided.

The series, made up of 12 lectures, features international contributors as well as keynote speakers from across the UK including a former government minister, guests from the Federation of Catholic Universities and other senior officials. The content is centred around justice in contested issues such as the prison service, the police, business ethics, spirituality and the arts.

The free online lecture series will commence on Monday 24 April with a talk from internationally renowned Professor Tobias Winright of St Patrick’s Pontifical University in Maynooth in Ireland. The first in the series, this lecture will focus on ‘Guardians and Servants of Life: A Catholic Vision for Just Policing’.

Economics, justice and Catholic social teaching will be addressed by Philip Booth, Professor of Public Policy at St Mary’s University; and former Labour government Trade and Industry, and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs minister, Sir John Battle, will discuss the Church in the wider, secular, world.

Dr Ann Marie Mealey, Director of Catholic Mission at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Much of the suffering and alienation that people felt during lockdown has not yet been acknowledged fully or discussed openly, and we should acknowledge the need for healing. Universities are attempting to reclaim their specific faith foundation and identity and make sense of it in a challenging, complex and competitive market.

“The Catholic Conference and the online lecture series bring together academics, young people, the community and others to discuss how the Catholic Higher Education sector can be the vehicle through which the values-driven, ethical leaders of the future can be found and supported – without excluding the role that can be played by faith and spirituality in that quest to create the leaders of the future.”

Professor Charles Egbu, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, said: “We are pleased to have the participation of such a prestigious line-up of speakers for our lecture series and Catholic Conference, and look forward to discussing some key social issues affecting communities today and how the Catholic university can be a vehicle for change and progress.”

Leeds Trinity University was founded in 1966 as two teacher training colleges and has grown significantly since then. Guided by its Catholic faith foundation, the mission then and now is to focus on opportunities for young people. Leeds Trinity University is a diverse and inclusive establishment, welcoming students from all backgrounds and beliefs as it promotes the principles of dignity, respect, social justice, equality and inclusion.

For more information and to register for the Catholic Conference visit the online booking page.

For further information and to register for the free lectures visit the event page.

For more information about Leeds Trinity’s strategic plan, mission and values, visit the University website.