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Past News & Events

March 26 & 27, 2023

Lux Center Spring Public and Sacred Heart Community Lectures
On Sunday, March 26, Sacred Heart held the Spring Lux Center Public Lecture. About 80 people attended from the public. Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich presented on the topic, “Jewish Sects in the New Testament”. Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich is the
Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies and the director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. 

Additionally, on Monday, March 27, Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich presented at the Spring 2023 Lux Center Lecture for the Sacred Heart Community. The lecture titled, “What did Judea-Diaspora Relations Look Like in the Hellenistic World”, was given to faculty, staff, and student body. The Lux Center programming aims to educate us and strengthen the relationship between Catholics and the Jewish People.

March 31, 2023

Interactive Seder Dinner
On Friday, March 31, in anticipation of the upcoming Passover holiday, The Lux Center Co-Directors, Rabbi Michal Woll and Mr. John Sweeney hosted an interactive Seder dinner for the seminarians. The dinner was led by Cantor David Barash and Rabbi Steve Adams. This interactive Seder provided the seminarians the opportunity to learn about what Seder is and how the dinner is prepared.

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle: A Free Publication of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation
“Teaching tomorrow’s priests”

FRANKLIN – Rabbi Michal Woll and scholar Jon M. Sweeney are the new co-directors of the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, where they will work to change how future priests are taught.  

The Lux Center is a project of the Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin. Read more here.

November 02, 2022

“Pope Francis’s Encyclical, ‘Fratelli Tutti’: A Response to Rising Antisemitism” with Bishop Stowe, A Lux Center Lecture


The Lux Center held a lecture on Wednesday, November 2 at Sacred Heart. The lecture was led by Bishop Stowe, Diocese of Lexington. The topic was “Pope Francis’s Encyclical, ‘Fratelli Tutti’: A Response to Rising Antisemitism.” Sacred Heart thanks Bishop Stowe for taking time out of his busy schedule to join the Sacred Heart community!

June 30, 2022

Bonnie Shafrin Retires

On Thursday, June 30, SHSST Faculty and Staff celebrated Bonnie’s retirement as Director of the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies. An ice cream social was held in her honor. We are grateful for all the work she has done for SHSST and the Lux Center. She will be greatly missed.

Congratulations on your retirement, Bonnie!

May 19, 2022

Sister Rose Thering Dinner

On Thursday, May 19, the Lux Center hosted their 3rd Sr. Rose Thering Award Dinner at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. The dinner honored Rabbi Ronald Shapiro and Rev. David Cooper with the Sr. Rose Thering Award for their lifetime contributions to further interreligious relations. In addition, Rev. Wayne Jenkins, SCJ and Dr. Steven Shippee were honored with the Building Bridges Award for their continuing efforts to bring religious harmony into our world.

Congratulations to all!

To see more pictures, click here.

March 28, 2022

On March 28, Fr. Dennis McManus presented at the 2022 Lux Lecture. He addressed the entire student body and faculty on the topic of “An Unfinished Reform of the Rites of Paul VI: Eliminating Anti-Judaism in the Roman Rite”.

In 2021, Fr. McManus was appointed Senior Research Fellow at Georgetown University to investigate the Vatican Archives and the question of Pius XII and the Holocaust. He has served as the delegate for Jewish Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since 2010. He has also served as Associate Director of the Secretariat for the Liturgy at the USCCB. He currently teaches at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA, and is a delegate for Jewish Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fr. McManus has written widely on liturgical topics but specialized in the application of liturgical translation theory, the development of the Rites of Exorcism, and Judaism in the Roman Rite. Fr. McManus holds a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and philosophy from St. Mary’s College of California; a master’s degree in ethics from Georgetown University and a doctorate in historical theology from Drew University. Fr. Dennis McManus is a priest of the Archdiocese of Mobile in Alabama.

Thank you, Fr. Dennis, for sharing your time and experiences with Sacred Heart!

June 13, 2021

Click HERE to read the article from The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle about Dr. Richard Lux and his work towards helping Jews and Catholics understand one another.

"Richard Lux has Worked for Years to Help Jews and Catholics Understand One Another"

November 03, 2020

“In Wisconsin, local Jews are helping tomorrow’s Catholic priests understand”

Click HERE to view an article form The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle featuring faculty member, Dr. Sherry Blumberg, and Director of the Lux Center, Ms. Bonnie Shafrin.

November 17, 2019

“Reflections on the Holocaust: Franklin Roosevelt, Immigration, and the Jews”

Lecturer Dr. Tim Crain, the former director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education and assistant professor of history at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, visited Sacred Heart to speak on the type of relationship President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s had with the Jews and his response to their situation during the Holocaust.  He expanded on the contentious debate that still lingers (nearly seventy-five years after World War II) over whether FDR turned his back on the Jews of Hitler’s Europe or saved millions of potential victims by defeating Nazi Germany.

November 3, 2019

Catholic-Jewish Book Dialogue: An Antidote to Misunderstanding and Bias

Guided by their own religious convictions, Rabbi Skorka and Pope Francis conversed about their understanding of God and each other. The book discussion was led by Rev. Stephen Lampe & Rabbi Steve Adams.

September 27, 2019:

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine Lecture

On Friday, September 27, The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies invited Dr. Amy-Jill Levine to speak on the topic “Understanding Jesus Means Understanding Judaism”. A key focus of her presentation will be on how to avoid preaching and teaching anti-Judaism.  This topic has taken on even more urgency with the recent rise in anti-Semitism, which most tragically manifested itself in the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh last October.

Known as the world’s leading Jewish scholar of the New Testament, Dr. Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science.  She is highly respected in Catholic circles, as evident by the fact that she was recently invited to address the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

September 26, 2019:

Sr. Rose Thering Award Dinner

On Thursday, September 26, the Lux Center hosted their 2nd Sr. Rose Thering Award Dinner at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. The dinner honored Most Rev. Richard J. Sklba for his many years dedicated to furthering interreligious relations.

Recipient Bishop Emeritus Richard J. Sklba has served the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the past 60 years. As a pastor and an auxiliary bishop, he is known for his compassion and his scholarly knowledge of both Hebrew and New Testament Scriptures. Bishop Sklba’s career has demonstrated unique dedication to the church’s ecumenical and interreligious relationships on a national and local level. He co-chaired the national Lutheran/Catholic Dialogue and served as chair of the USCCB’s Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

The Most Reverend Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Richard J. Sklba has participated in projects with the country’s mainline Protestant Churches and has attended countless meetings with Jewish scholars in United States in an effort to promote interreligious understanding and cooperation. He has been a long-time member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and the Society for Biblical Literature. He has published many articles, papers and books.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Bishop Sklba attended St. Francis Minor Seminary in Milwaukee. He then studied at the Gregorian University in Rome where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Milwaukee Archdiocese in 1959. He served at St. Mary’s Parish in Elm Grove before returning to Rome to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute where he earned an advanced master’s degree in Sacred Scripture. He also completed the equivalent of a doctoral degree in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Bishop Sklba taught Scripture at St. Francis de Sales Seminary for 11 years and was appointed Rector of the seminary in 1976. In December of 1979, he was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Rembert Weakland, OSB, and continued to serve under Archbishops Dolan and Listecki.

Bishop Sklba served for three years as the co-chair of the Advisory Board of the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies. The Lux Center recognizes his leadership as a promoter of love and peace among human beings and a builder of bridges between people of faith.

For more photos, click here.

April 23, 2019:

Granddaughters learn rest of Holocaust victim’s tragic fate

The daughters of Rev. Carl Simon will tell their family’s story at SHSST. Here is an article with their story.

May 3, 2018:

Sister Rose Thering Award and Recognition Dinner

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, the Lux Center presented the first Sister Rose Thering Award at a dinner held at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Fr. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, was chosen to be the recipient of this award for his lifetime of contributions to furthering interreligious relations.

Servite Father John Pawlikowski is one of the most prolific and respected contemporary writers and speakers on the Holocaust and on the dramatic change in Christian attitudes toward Jews since WWII. A leading figure in the Christian-Jewish dialogue on the national and international levels for over forty years, he is Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics and immediate past director of Catholic-Jewish Studies program at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

The award was named in memory of Sr. Rose Thering who was born in 1920 in Plain, Wisconsin. She was a nun of the Dominican Order in Racine who gained note as an activist against anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church and was a professor of Catholic-Jewish dialogue at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Both Sister Rose Thering and Fr. John Pawlikowski are models which the Lux Center encourages everyone to emulate. As prominent leaders in the Catholic Church, they have also dedicated themselves to caring about others while fostering respect and understanding.
Additional awards were given to the Priests of the Sacred Heart and the Clarice S. Turer Charitable Fund as major donors of the Lux Center. Also honored were Danielle Merrill Yakich and Acklen Banks for their dedicated volunteer service.

March 11, 2018:

2018 Spring Lecture: Lux Center holds public lecture with Rabbi Or Rose: Calling Out from the Depths: Reading the Psalms in Two Voices

What can members of different religious traditions learn from one another when they come together to examine Scripture they have in common? That’s the question scholar and author Rabbi Or Rose explored through an examination of the Psalms at a March 11, 2018 public lecture, hosted by Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin.

“Jews and Christians have turned to the Book of Psalms in times of joy and thanksgiving, and in times of sadness and lament, for centuries. Rarely, though, have members of these two communities explored these ancient poetic texts together as fellow spiritual seekers,” says Rose. His lecture, entitled “Calling Out from the Depths: Reading the Psalms in Two Voices,” explored the Psalms through both Christian and Jewish perspectives.

Rose emphasized that “by learning with the religious other [we] can better understand ourselves.”

Rose is the founding director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College in Boston. He was previously a founding faculty member and associate dean of the Rabbinical School there. Rose is the co-editor of the award-winning book “My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation” (Orbis) and “Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from Around the Maggid’s Table” (Jewish Lights). Along with his colleague, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore of Boston University, he also serves as the co-publisher of The Journal of Interreligious Studies and the blogging platform for emerging religious and ethical leaders, State of Formation.

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was established in 2010 to strengthen relations between people of two great faith traditions. It strives to instill the knowledge, understanding and skills to advance interreligious dialogue and relations in future Catholic priests and religious leaders who serve across the United States, Canada and throughout the world. The Lux Center is the only program of its kind at a Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States.

March 28, 2017:

2017 Spring Lecture: Building Bridges through Interreligious Dialogue in our Multi-Faith World

The Lux Center hosted a public lecture entitled “Building Bridges through Interreligious Dialogue in our Multi-Faith World.” on March 28, 2017, at the Lux Center and Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, 7335 S. Highway 100 (U.S. Highway 45) in Franklin, Wis.

Two eminent theologians, a rabbi and a Catholic priest, explored what we can do to create bonds instead of barriers between people of different faiths.

Fr. John Crossin is the former director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko is a Rabbinic Scholar at the Jewish United Fund/ Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

The talk was moderated by TV journalist Mark Siegrist.

Co-sponsors: CT Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation; Catholic-Jewish Conference of the Jewish Community Relations Council; the O­ ce of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee; Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee; and the U.S. Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

March 13, 2016:

2016 Public Lecture: Archaeologist’s talk aims to bring time of Jesus and early Judaism alive

What do recent archaeological discoveries tell us about early Judaism in the time of Jesus?

Renowned biblical archaeologist Jodi Magness addressed this question and others at a free public lecture entitled “Unearthing the Truth: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” on March 13, 2016. The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin hosted the lecture, which aimed to unlock the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Israel’s Qumran archaeological site through a fascinating illustrated presentation.

MagnessAccording to Magness, Qumran is one of the most remarkable and interesting archaeological sites in the world. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered nearby, are among the most important archaeological discoveries ever made, she argues.

scroll text“Study of Qumran and the scrolls has provided invaluable information about Judaism and the Jewish world in the last centuries B.C.E., and can help understand the common soil from which both Christianity and rabbinical Judaism arose,” she says.

QumranMagness’ lecture, with photographs, explored the archaeological remains of Qumran, which was inhabited by members of a Jewish sect who deposited the scrolls in nearby caves. She will also examine the meaning and significance of the approximately 1,000 scrolls.

Magness currently holds the senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism and is currently the first vice president of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has a Ph.D. in classical archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Magness has published 10 books, including the award-winning The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (2002). Her books also include Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus (2011), and The Archaeology of the Holy Land from the Destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim Conquest (2012). She has participated in 20 different excavations in Israel and Greece. Since 2011, Magness has directed excavations at the Huqoq site in Galilee.

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was established in 2010 to strengthen the relations between people of two great faith traditions. It strives to instill the knowledge, understanding and skills to advance interreligious dialogue and relations in future Catholic priests and religious leaders who serve across the United States, Canada and throughout the world. The Lux Center is the only program of its kind at a Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States.


Holocaust Study Institute

The Lux Center is hosted a Holocaust Study Institute, a spring semester evening class that focuses on historical anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, followed by a study trip to Israel, in 2016.


Veteran Jewish educator Bonnie Shafrin named director of Lux Center

Bonnie Shafrin, a veteran Jewish educator and the former director of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Holocaust Education Resource Center, has been named director of the Lux Center for Catholic Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

“Sacred Heart is the only Roman Catholic seminary with a center dedicated to promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding, and with Bonnie’s leadership and energy, the Lux Center is poised to become a national academic voice in interreligious conversations,” said Patrick Russell, the seminary’s vice president of academic affairs.

Shafrin has been a member of the Lux Center’s Advisory Committee since 2014, and has worked with the Lux Center on a variety of issues, including bringing the Holocaust Study Institute to the Lux Center in 2013. The institute included a class, student travel to Israel, and a major public lecture by Fr. Kevin Spicer.

She is the past president of the Milwaukee Association for Jewish Education, and chaired the board of the Coalition for Jewish Learning. Prior to becoming director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, she was a teacher in public and Jewish schools.

The Lux Center was established in 2010 as a tribute to Professor Richard Lux (emeritus), on the occasion of his retirement after 37 years on the Sacred Heart faculty. Its purpose is to continue his tireless and extensive life’s work in strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations.

Lux himself had previously held the position of director. He will now assume the role of founding director, continuing to actively provide support to Lux Center activities and Shafrin’s work.

Lux commented, “Having worked extensively with Bonnie on a variety of projects, I am very excited about what her background, leadership skills and energy will bring to the center as it enters a new phase.”

Shafrin has a master of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is working toward a master of arts in Jewish education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies.

There are currently more than 500 Catholic priests serving across the United States and Canada who graduated from Sacred Heart.

March, 2015

2015 public lecture: Full house hears Roddy lecture on historical context of Jesus’ ministry

Approximately 200 people were on hand to hear Dr. Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University deliver a lecture on the historical context of Jesus’ ministry.

The Lux Center at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology sponsors a lecture annually on topics that aim to build dialog and common understanding between Catholics and Jews.

Following a Q&A session, guests visited the Dehon Library to see the Lux Center’s Judaica collection there, and to meet and greet Dr. Roddy and SHSST professor emeritus Dr. Richard Lux.


For the past 18 years, Roddy served as co-director and area supervisor for the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, an archaeological site located near the Sea of Galilee. Sacred Heart is a consortium member. Dr. Roddy also co-directs the Virtual World Project, a web-based virtual reality resource dedicated to archaeology, and serves as Senior Editor for JOCABS, the journal of Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.

March 9, 2014:

Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund to speak at March 9 Lux Lecture

“How is archeology changing Jewish and Catholic identity?”

Well-known archeologist Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund will discuss exciting recent discoveries around the Sea of Galilee. Both the Jesus movement and the Rabbinical tradition emerged from this same soil. Freund will explore what Jews and Catholics may be able to share with respect to their common roots in that place.

About Dr. Rabbi Freund:
Long before his appearances on TV specials brought him status as a celebrity archaeologist, Rabbi Freund earned his reputation as an author, university professor and, foremost, a working archeologist. He is director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Freund is an ordained rabbi with a Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has also written two volumes on Jewish ethics. Freund has directed six archaeological projects in Israel, including digs at Qumran, Nazareth and Yavne, as well as projects in Spain. He has also appeared in the History Channel’s “God vs. Satan: The Final Battle,” CNN’s “After Jesus: The First Christians” and NOVA’s “Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land,” based on his book “Secrets of the Cave of Letters.”



October 27, 2013:

Fr. Kevin Spicer, CSC, gives lecture on the role of Catholic Priests during the Nazi Holocaust

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, the Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, CSC, Ph.D., (left), professor of history at Stonehill College in Boston, gave a presentation entitled “Catholics, Nazis, Jews: The Complex History” as part of the Lux Center’s Holocaust Study Institute. His lecture explored the actions, or inaction, of Germany’s Catholic priests in the face of the Nazis’ persecution of Europe’s Jews. Bonnie Shafrin (top center) of the Holocaust Education Resource Center, co-sponsor of the event, Dr. Richard Lux (top right), and the Rev. Scott Jones, SDS, Ph.D., of the SHST faculty, welcomed more than 100 guests attending the lecture.


April 19-21, 2012:

Benefit dinner brings financial support amid serious theology

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University, participated in several events sponsored by the Lux Center at Sacred Heart School of Theology April 19 through 21.

Photos above:

A., B. and E.: Levine and Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba teamed up to present dual lectures on how Catholics and Jews can benefit from understanding each other’s faiths and scriptures, at a Lux Center fundraiser. About 160 Catholics and Jews attended the event, held at Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid in Glendale, Wis.

C.: Levine conducted a workshop for faculty of SHST and other area colleges and universities on Friday afternoon, with Dr. Richard Lux. Her topic was, “Christian and Jewish Readings of the Parables: Theological and Pastoral Implications.”

D and F.: Levine presented a two-hour lecture on “How to avoid anti-Jewish Teaching and Preaching” to about 200 seminarians, faculty, religious educators from the Milwaukee community, and international priests and nuns enrolled in SHST’s English language program.

Benefit dinner plans gearing up

Community organizations and individuals are stepping forward eagerly to support the Lux Center’s April 21 benefit dinner, featuring noted scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Bishop Richard Sklba. Catholic Financial Life, the Marcus Corporation Foundation, Bob and Mimi Habush, BMO Harris Bank, Beth Peterman in memory of her husband Bob Peterman, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the Jewish Community Center, Atid Properties, and many others have stepped forward as sponsors. The Lux Center is extremely grateful for these organizations’ contributions to Catholic-Jewish dialogue.