Catholic Intellectual Series Hosts ‘Pope Francis’ Year of Firsts’

Panel will reflect on the first anniversary of papacy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

by Amanda Sapio '13

PHILADELPHIA (February 19, 2014) — As Pope Francis’ first anniversary as the worldwide leader of the Roman Catholic Church approaches on March 13, Saint Joseph’s University’s Catholic Intellectual Series will host the panel, “Pope Francis' Year of Firsts: Reflections on the Anniversary of the Papacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.” The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., in the Wolfington Teletorium, located in Mandeville Hall at 54th Street and City Avenue. The panel will consider the papacy from a variety of perspectives, drawing on the expertise of two theologians, a physicist and an influential blogger/commentator.

“Attendees will learn why Pope Francis was the most searched Internet topic in 2013, why his Twitter account outpaces all other world leaders, and why he was the most trended topic on Facebook,” says Daniel Joyce, S.J., assistant to the vice president for mission and identity. “When you go from obscurity to making Forbes magazine’s ‘Most Powerful People in the World’ list, and Rolling Stone puts you on the cover within one year’s time, then there is something extraordinary going on.”

The panel members include:

David Meconi, S.J. – The assistant professor of early Christianity at Saint Louis University and lauded author and theologian will offer a refreshing perspective as a fellow Jesuit.

Kathleen Duffy, S.S.J., Ph.D. – The professor of physics at Chestnut Hill College and expert on science and religion will comment on Pope Francis' scientific background, and how it influences his views on social issues.

Maggie McGuiness, Ph.D. – The professor of religion and vice president of mission at La Salle University and expert on Jesuit history will discuss the long-term impact that Pope Francis will have on the future of Catholicism.

Rocco Palmo – A former U.S. correspondent for the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, church analyst for The New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, CNN, and one of the foremost bloggers in the Catholic world through his blog, Whispers in the Loggia, will provide insight on Pope Francis’ impact on social media.

Following the panel discussion, students will host a collection of small group reactions from a generational perspective, as Pope Francis’ leadership is highly popular among millennials. This event is free and open to the public. 

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Director of Communications/CAS, 610-660-3240,


As Philadelphia's Jesuit, Catholic University, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. SJU ranks as a top university in the Northeast, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the College of Arts and Sciences and AACSB accreditation of the  Erivan K. Haub School of Business. The University is also deeply committed to the Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, earning a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With courses offered on campus and online, SJU prepares its more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to lead lives of personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.


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