Chaput to deliver keynote address and receive prestigious Lumen Vitae Medal

BISMARCK, ND— With a keen intellect and deep love for the Church, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is known for his ability to speak clearly about current cultural topics. When reporters from The Washington Post were in attendance doing a story on Chaput, just days ahead of him hosting Pope Francis for the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Washington, Chaput spoke to his people during Mass about the role of God’s law in the lives of the faithful. Effective Christians know how to witness to, rather than call into question, God’s law, wrote the Post reporters as they listened to Chaput give his homily. Then Chaput added, “Adam and Eve thought they knew better, and we tend to do the same.”

Chaput is this year’s special guest for the fourth annual Vocations Jamboree and will give the keynote address, Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., inside the McDowell Activity Center (MAC) on University of Mary’s campus. The event is free and open to public. 

A special feature of the Jamboree will be Chaput’s visit with the religious orders attending the Vocations Jamboree and his reception of the university’s Lumen Vitaemedal. The prestigious Lumen Vitae Medal, (Latin for “The Light of Life”) is given to those who are champions of Catholic education and who bring others closer to Christ and his Church.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

Chaput is recognized not only for his genuine pastoral qualities, as witnessed during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, but also for his authentic writings about his faith. Chaput is the author of three books, including, “Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics.” The second he penned is a best-seller called “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.”

Internationally acclaimed biographer George Weigel, another recipient of University of Mary’s prestigious Lumen Vitae Medal, wrote recently about Chaput’s third published book, “Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World.”

“Like any sensible person, Chaput knows that the United States is living through a season of profound moral and cultural turbulence—turbulence that threatens to unravel the American democratic experiment,” said Weigel, in his April 2017 article published by The Catholic Report. “Yet for all his penetrating analysis of how the United States came to its present season of discontent, Strangers in a Strange Land is, finally a hopeful book. Thus the archbishop closes on this note: ‘The Word of God testifies to the goodness of creation, the gift that is life, and the glory of the human person. With this glory comes a duty. We are born for the City of God. The road home leads through the City of Man. So we are strangers in a strange land, yes. But what we do here makes all the difference.’”

The archbishop will fit right in at the University of Mary—a premier higher learning institution that believes in an Education for the Whole of Life.

Chaput first became a bishop not too far from Bismarck. He became the bishop of Rapid City, SD, in 1988. Then Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver in 1997. As a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput became the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop. The Kansas-born Chaput later led the Philadelphia archdiocese after being appointed archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI. Chaput, a member of the simple and modest Capuchin order, chose not to reside in the archbishop’s residence by moving into an apartment at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

“The thing that shaped me the most, outside of my parents, was my life in the Capuchin Franciscans,” Chaput told the Washington Post. “Capuchin life, when it’s lived honestly, requires a serious effort to live the Gospel without caveats and to follow Francis of Assisi radically — the real Francis, not the flower child of modern mythology,” Chaput said.

For the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Chaput is currently chair of the Subcommittee on Native American Catholics; a member of the Committee for Cultural Diversity in the Church and the Task Force for Health Care; a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and a consultant to the Committee for Pro-Life Activities. He formerly served on the Committee for Divine Worship, the Committee for Migration, the Committee for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and the Task Force on Strengthening Marria