The After Dinner Scholar
Introduction to ”Spe Salvi” by Dr. Michael Bolin

Introduction to ”Spe Salvi” by Dr. Michael Bolin

August 23, 2022

The 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought featured readings on the topic “Mortality and Eternity” including Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi.

“The belief that love can reach into the afterlife,” wrote Pope Benedict, “that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today.”

Dr. Michael Bolin gave the 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought participants this introduction to Spe Salvi.

Introduction to St. Robert Bellermine’s Sermon on Death by Dr. Scott Olsson

Introduction to St. Robert Bellermine’s Sermon on Death by Dr. Scott Olsson

August 9, 2022

The Book of Hebrews 9:27 reminds us, “it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

St. Robert Bellarmine, had, it seems, a congregation that had, for the most part, forgotten that truth. Their lives were focused on this world, their concern for death and judgment weak, their hearts cold to the things of God and to their faith.

As a good pastor, they needed to be warned. Bellarmine preached four sermons on the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. At the 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, we read the first of the four, Bellarmine’s sermon on death.

Dr. Scott Olsson gave us this introduction before we broke up into seminar groups to discuss Bellarmine’s words.

Numbering Our Days: Lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Numbering Our Days: Lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

June 28, 2022

“Teach us to number out days,” sang the psalmist, “that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

This past June 12-17, the 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought convened here in Lander. Adult learners came from California, Texas, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and elsewhere to study great texts on the theme “Mortality and Eternity.”

Our Wyoming Catholic College faculty led the sessions comprised of a short lecture introducing the reading followed by seminars.

This summer, The After-Dinner Scholar will bring you those lectures. And while they are helpful on their own, they will also serve as an introduction to your own study of the texts in the curriculum.

We began Sunday, June 12 with an after-dinner lecture to introduce the week. That night Dr. Jim Tonkowich spoke about Psalm 90.

Dante and The Sin of Ulysses with Prof. Adam Cooper

Dante and The Sin of Ulysses with Prof. Adam Cooper

April 26, 2022

The eighth circle of Dante’s Hell are the Malabolge, the evil ditches. In the eighth evil ditch false counselors are punished, trapped in flames. Dante the pilgrim asks Virgil his guide about one flame in particular Virgil answers, "Within this flame find torment Ulysses and Diomedes.”

Ulysses is also known as Odysseus who, after conquering Troy, wandered ten years trying to get home to his kingdom of Ithaca, to his father, Laertes, to his beloved wife, Penelope, and to their son Telemachus. After he finally returns to all that was dear to him, Dante tells us, Odysseus succumbed to wanderlust "to gain experience of the world and learn about man’s vices, and his worth."

The voyage did not end well. Death and Hell take him. But did he deserve to be in Hell? Was his sin really as great as all that? 

Prof. Adam Cooper has been teaching Dante helps us understand.

Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

April 12, 2022

There was a time, remarked twentieth century theologian Karl Rahner, when people were “full of life’s joy, satisfied and carefree, and they celebrated Mardi Gras in the streets and laughed the laughter that still came from the heart.  Therefore, they could presumably experience a brief period of recollection, of contemplative seriousness, and of ascetic restraint from life’s luxuries as a beneficial change from everyday life and for the good of the soul.” In such a world, Lent and Holy Week made sense. Dr. Jim Tonkowich asks, "Do they still make sense?"

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 5, 2022

This is spring Outdoor Week at Wyoming Catholic College and as a result our campus is a bit of a ghost town. Students are spending the week canyoneering, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, learning to hunt, and producing Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”

As a college, we take educating the bodies of our students as seriously as we take educating their minds and spirits. That’s why, as we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we are rebroadcasting an interview with Dr. Kent Lasnoski about Romano Guardini's book Sacred Signs and the importance of the physical in our spiritual lives.

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

March 22, 2022

 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:26-28)

The 2022 Solemnity of the Annunciation falls on this coming Friday, March 25. That day we remember Gabriel’s visit to Mary, his message, and her response: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And so Mary became the Mother of God and, as she sang in the Magnificat, “all generations will call me blessed.”

Monsignor Daniel Seiker is our Latin rite chaplain here a Wyoming Catholic College tells us about this great holy day for us.

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

January 4, 2022

“What are you doing, O Magi?” asked St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel, wrapped in miserable rags? Can this Child be truly God? … Are you become foolish, O Wise Men … Yes, these Wise Men have become fools that they may be wise!”

With the presents snug in their new homes, the wrapping paper recycled, the New Year’s Eve noisemakers silent, the so-called “holiday season” spent, we can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to celebrating Epiphany.

Epiphany, a solemnity, means “showing” and the Church draws our attention to the Three Magi, to John the Baptist, to Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. “Can this Child be truly God?” Epiphany a firm and reliable, “Yes!”

Wyoming Catholic College faculty, staff, and in-town alumni attend Holy Rosary parish here in Lander. This week, our pastor, Fr. James Schumacher gives us some insights on the celebration of Epiphany.

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

June 15, 2021

“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,” begins George Herbert’s poem “Love (III).” It’s one of the 26 poems students at Wyoming Catholic College memorize over their four years and one of the most beloved.

George Herbert, an Anglican clergyman, lived a mere 39 years, from 1593 to 1633. Yet the great Puritan pastor and theologian, Richard Baxter said of him, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth in God, and whose business in the world is most with God. Heart-work and heaven-work make up his books.”

Dr. Tiffany Schubert  taught the poem this year and began this interview by telling us something about poet George Herbert.

“30 Days with Married Saints” with Kent and Cait Lasnoski

“30 Days with Married Saints” with Kent and Cait Lasnoski

May 11, 2021

As they begin their devotional guide for married couples, 30 Days with Married Saints, Wyoming Catholic College theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski and his wife Cait ask the reader to imagine a beatification ceremony for a married couple. The words they quote are from St. John Paul II’s homily at the beatification of Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, but they add, “One day, God willing, such a homily might be given for you! You may think this possibility highly unrealistic and perhaps it’s true that you and your spouse will never be officially canonized. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot become saints.”

Their book 30 Days with Married Saints is a means to that end.

I began by asking Kent and Cait what inspired them to write the book.

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