Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium Summer 2024

The Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium at the McGrath Institute for Church Life is a week-long gathering from June 16-21 at the University of Notre Dame for leaders in Catholic education and diocesan ministry. Participants can expect to develop a deeper understanding of human dignity in the Catholic intellectual tradition and its application in educational and pastoral contexts. In addition to intellectual formation, educators and pastoral leaders can expect to develop distinct professional skills:

  • Educators will participate in workshops that develop the effective integration of life and human dignity issues across the subject areas and think about how to create a culture of human dignity in the classroom and school. 
  • Leaders in ministry will participate in workshops that develop and build the pastoral skills necessary for promoting the Gospel of Life in a complex world.

"The Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium was a magnificently orchestrated conference that provided opportunities of fellowship, team development, and personal formation. The conference presenters were top notch experts in their field providing the attendees the ability to recognize ways to apply the Church’s teachings of human dignity into many aspects of ministry and educational instruction."
- Michael Donaldson, Senior Director, Office of Life, Justice, and Peace, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

"This has been the most edifying experience of my life as a Catholic educator." - Catholic educator

Click here to learn more about our resources for promoting a culture of life, including unit lessons, expert guides, and curriculum resources. 


Application Process


Through the generosity of our donors, the Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium is free to Catholic high school educators and pastoral leaders. 

Accepted participants will also receive reimbursement of up to $200 per participant to defray the cost of travel. Upon arrival at the University of Notre Dame, conference fees and meals are covered by the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity. Participants are responsible for lodging and personal expenses. 

Please note that due to rising costs and increased number of participants, beginning in 2024, we will no longer be able to defray the cost of lodging. If this presents a barrier to participation, please email life@nd.edu to discuss scholarship options.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact life@nd.edu.

Interested in attending the Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium 2025?

Fill out the form below to receive information about the 2025 symposium when information becomes available. 


Participant Information

The symposium will begin the evening of Sunday, June 16 and conclude by noon on Friday, June 21. Please arrange your travel plans accordingly so that you are able to attend the entirety of the program. More details, including a complete program schedule, will be available as we get closer to the actual week

  • Location/Venue:
    The symposium will take place in the Smith Family Ballroom, located in the Morris Inn on the Notre Dame campus. All meals will take place in the South Dining Hall, a short walk from the venue. A residence hall room block will be available; however, our specific dorm assignment has not yet been confirmed.

    For visitors with mobility issues, golf carts will be available for courtesy rides between the Morris Inn, the residence hall, and the South Dining Hall.
  • Flights/Travel:
    The symposium will begin at 6:30 pm on Sunday, June 16 and conclude at 12:00 pm on Friday, June 21. Please arrange your travel plans accordingly so that you are able to attend the entirety of the program. Notre Dame is located in the Eastern time zone, 90 miles east of Chicago (Central time). The South Bend International Airport is located approximately 5 miles from the Notre Dame campus, or roughly a 15-20 minute cab/Uber/Lyft ride. If you plan on flying into one of the Chicago airports, please note that there is no longer a shuttle bus between the Chicago airports and South Bend. Additional transportation options include the

    South Shore Train Line and the Greyhound Bus Line.

    You can arrange your air travel through your own agent or airline contact or you can contact our on campus travel agency to arrange your flights. Janice Camparone of Anthony Travel will be happy to assist you. She can be reached at 574.631.4066 or 800.366.3772 (toll-free), or by email at janicecamparone@anthonytravel.com. Please be prepared to provide her with your credit card information and with any airline loyalty program information you may wish to use.

    You will be reimbursed up to $200 to defray the cost of travel. Receipts must be provided, and reimbursements will not be processed until after the symposium is finished and your travel has taken place. If you are within driving distance, mileage will be reimbursed at the current federally allowable rate.

    Please note: if you make travel arrangements then decide you are unable to attend the symposium, we will be unable to reimburse any expenses you may have incurred.
  • Lodging:
    There are two options for lodging during the symposium. You may choose to stay in the residence hall at a cost of approximately $65 per night, or in one of several hotels on or near campus.
  1. A block of residence hall rooms has been reserved for our participants, with arrival on Sunday, June 16 and check-out on Friday, June 21. If you choose the residence hall option, towels and light bed linens will be provided. Please keep in mind that residence hall spaces are sleeping rooms only; lavatories and showers are shared in common with separate men’s and women’s facilities on each floor. You may want to consider bringing your own pillow and/or additional blanket. While most halls are air-conditioned, the University manages the overall conditions of the buildings and sets the thermostats at 75°F for the entirety of the summer. Unfortunately, we are not able to adjust this temperature.  
  2. We will have one hotel block available in 2024. 

Morris Inn Room Reservation

Morris Inn Online Reservations

Other hotels close to campus include:

  • The Inn at Saint Mary’s, 53993 State Rd 933, South Bend - 574.232.4000
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 53955 IN-933, South Bend - 574.232.7700
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites, 1220 E. Angela Blvd., South Bend - 574.234.5510
  • Meals:
    Meals throughout the symposium will be available in the South Dining Hall, just west of the meeting venue. A meal card will be provided to you upon arrival and will be honored at the South Dining Hall ONLY. Meal cards can be swiped once only per each meal period.Beverages and snack items will also be available in the meeting venue during morning and afternoon break times.

Questions regarding program content/schedule? Please contact: Jess Keating Floyd (jkeatin2@nd.edu) or Christina Leblang (ccossel1@nd.edu)

Questions regarding logistics/housing/directions? Please contact: Barbara Luter (574.631.5436)

Past Speakers Have Included:


Charlie Camosy, Ph.D. is Professor of Medical Humanities at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches medical ethics to first and second year medical students at their new campus in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, he holds the Monsignor Curran Fellowship in Moral Theology at St. Joseph Seminary in New York. Prior to that, Charlie spent 14 years in Fordham University’s theology department, where he taught since finishing his Ph.D. in theology at Notre Dame in 2008. His work has appeared in the American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of the Catholic Health Association, New York Times, Washington Post, and America magazine. He has monthly columns with Religious News Service and Angelus, and he also does weekly interviews for The Pillar

Charlie is the author of six books, and has two more on the way. These include Peter Singer and Christian Ethics, Beyond the Abortion Wars, Resisting Throwaway Culture. His most recent book, published in July 2021, is Losing Our Dignity: How Secularized Medicine is Undermining Fundamental Human Equality. He is also the founding editor of a new book series with New City Press called The Magenta Project.

In addition to his award winning writing, he advises Faith Outreach office of the Humane Society of the United States and the pro-life commission of the Archdiocese of New York. 


John Cavadini Small Square

John C. Cavadini, Ph.D. is a Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, having served as Chair from 1997-2010. Since 2000 he has served as the Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame. He received a B.A. in 1975 from Wesleyan University; an M.A. in 1979 from Marquette University; M.A., 1981, M.Phil., 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1988 from Yale University. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1990, Cavadini specializes in patristic and early medieval theology, the theology of Augustine, and the history of biblical and patristic exegesis. The author of several theological books, he also writes essays, articles, and reviews in popular journals and is frequently called upon by Church leaders, ministers and teachers to talk on these subjects.Recent publications include Pope Francis and the Event of Encounter, which he edited with Donald Wallenfang; Mary on the Eve of the Second Vatican Council, edited with Danielle M. Peters, and the essay, “The Kingdom of Irony: Augustine, Sin, and Dante’s Inferno” in Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person.

In 2009, he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to a five-year term on the International Theological Commission. The commission, whose membership is personally reviewed and appointed by the pope, consists of some 30 theologians from around the world who advise the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cavadini has served as a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine since 2006 and was also named by Pope Benedict to the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great.


Kristin Collier

Kristin M. Collier, MD, FACP is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School where she practices general Internal Medicine. She serves as an Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and is the Director of the Program's Primary Care Track. In addition, she is the Director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health Spirituality and Religion





David Cloutier, Ph.D. is associate professor of moral theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. A graduate of Carleton College and Duke University, he is the author of The Vice of Luxury: Economic Excess in a Consumer Age (Georgetown University Press) and Walking God’s Earth: The Environment and Catholic Theology (Liturgical Press) and the co-editor of the new book, Naming Our Sins: How Recognizing the Seven Deadly Vices Can Renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation (CUA Press). His writing has appeared in Commonweal, America and US Catholic, among other popular publications. He edits the academic group blog catholicmoraltheology.com.

For a short clip of David's previous talk, please click here.



Kathleen Domingo

Kathleen Domingo lobbies on behalf of the 12 Catholic dioceses in California, representing the bishops of California on issues such as human life and dignity, strong and healthy families, racial justice, environmental justice, healthcare access, housing, restorative justice, educational excellence, and religious liberty.

Kathleen served for eight years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Senior Director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace. She led OneLife LA, created Respect Life Week, and built the first Caring for the Whole Person diocesan-based program in the nation. Kathleen is a national speaker, writer, and organizer. She regularly shares her insights and resources with dioceses and organizations around the country and internationally.

Kathleen holds a BS from the University of San Francisco as well as a Certificate from its St. Ignatius Institute. She earned a Master’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family in Washington, DC.


Sr. Virginia Joy

Sr. Virginia Joy is a member of the Sisters of Life, a New York based community of consecrated women religious dedicated to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life. She has served in the Vocations mission and the Visitation mission working with vulnerable pregnant women. Sister currently serves in Manhattan as the Director of the Respect Life office for the Archdiocese of New York.




Clare Kilbane Sq

Clare Kilbane, Ph.D.  is a Professor of the Practice at the University of Notre Dame and serves as the McGrath Institute for Church Life's Senior Learning Designer.  Prior to joining the Institute team in 2018, she was a Professor of Education at Otterbein University, teaching courses on instruction, assessment, and technology integration for pre-service and in-service teachers.  She is the author of Teaching Models: Designing Instruction for 21st Century Learners (2013, Allyn & Bacon/ Pearson), and The 4C's: Understanding 21st Century Skills in the Light of Faith (National Catholic Educational Association, 2018) as well as numerous other books, multimedia, and articles.  A frequent collaborator with Catholic schools, Clare has extensive experience supporting teacher professional development and educational change initiatives.


Melissa Moschella

Melissa Moschella is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and a Visiting Scholar at the Heritage Foundation’s B.K. Simon Center for American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on natural law, bioethics, and the moral and political status of the family. She is the author of To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education and Children’s Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and of numerous articles published in scholarly journals as well as popular media outlets, including Bioethics, The Journal of Medical Ethics, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, The Journal of Law and Religion, The American Journal of Jurisprudence, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Public Discourse. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, received a Licentiate in Philosophy summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and received her Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from Princeton University.

Anthony Pagliarini Square


Anthony Pagliarini, Ph.D. is an assistant teaching professor in Biblical Theology and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Depart of Theology at The University of Notre Dame. He is fellow of the Word on Fire Institute and is an occasion contributor at various Catholic publications such Church Life, Aleteia, Crux, and Our Sunday Visitor




Brian Pedraza 2

Brian Pedraza, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Theology at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge, where he has taught for six years since earning his Ph.D. at The Catholic University of America. His publications have appeared in Church Life, First Things, the Catechetical Review, and the Josephinum Journal of Theology. His recent book, Catechesis for the New Evangelization: Vatican II, John Paul II, and the Unity of Revelation and Experience was published by CUA Press in 2020. WIth his colleagues and students, he also hosts the Dunces' Corner podcast.



6gloria Purvis Headshot Web

Gloria Purvis is a graduate of Cornell University and worked for nearly two decades in the mortgage industry before becoming a risk management director at a major financial services company. She served on the National Black Catholic Congress’ Leadership Commission on Social Justice, and as an Advisory Board Member on the Maryland Catholic Conference’s Respect for Life Department, as well as the Archdiocese of Washington’s Pastoral Council. She taught Natural Family Planning and helped prepare engaged couples for marriage as a member of the Pre-Cana team in the Archdiocese of Washington. She has appeared in various media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS Newshour, Catholic Answers Live, and EWTN News Nightly, and has hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show. She was Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic of the Year for 2020.


Gloria is a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Religious Liberty. She has been collaborating with America Media on “The Gloria Purvis Podcast,” which has provided important commentary on the life of the Catholic Church in the United States. She is dedicated to promoting the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the dignity of the human person. 

For a short clip of Gloria's previous talk, please click here


Brett Photo

Brett Salkeld is Archdiocesan Theologian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, where he is responsible for deacon formation. He is the author of Can Catholics and Evangelicals Agree about Purgatory and the Last Judgment?, How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating (with Leah Perrault), and most recently, Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity. His newest book for  Catholic teachers is titled Educating for Eternity: A Teacher’s Companion to Making Every Class Catholic. His work has been featured in Church Life Journal, Word on Fire, Crux, Busted Halo, and more.



He serves the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) as a member of the Roman Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue in Canada. His weekly podcast, Thinking Faith! (with Deacon Eric Gurash) has over 300 episodes and is available wherever you get your podcasts. 

For a short clip of Brett's previous talk, please click here



Todd Walatka, Ph.D. is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Theology, where he also serves as the Assistant Chair for Graduate Studies and Director of the Master of Divinity Program. His current academic research centers on the theology of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the reception of Vatican II in Catholic thought and practice. For the past ten years, he has led the pedagogical formation of doctoral students in the Department of Theology and also teaches an introductory pedagogy course for high school teachers each summer. In 2018, he was awarded the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.