Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium Summer 2023

The Teaching Life and Human Dignity Symposium at the McGrath Institute for Church Life is a five and a half-day gathering from June 25-30 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

Application Process


Participating schools are required to send a team of 3-5 administrators and/or teachers. While we do not require five participants from each school, schools choosing to send five teachers from at least three different subject areas will receive first priority. Administrators (e.g., principals, vice principals, deans, directors of curriculum, department chairs) are also encouraged to attend as part of the proposed team.

Pastoral Leaders

If possible, pastoral leaders are encouraged to send a team from their diocese. However, individuals are also most welcome to apply. Leaders may be from a wide variety of offices including Life and Dignity, Evangelization and Catechesis, Young Adult Ministry, Youth Ministry, etc. Diocesan leaders may also choose to come as a team with select individuals working at the parish level.

Applications for the summer of 2023 are due by Tuesday December 20th.


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

Accepted participants will also receive a stipend of up to $200 per participant to defray the cost of travel. Upon arrival at the University of Notre Dame, food and lodging costs will be covered by the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity.* Participants are responsible for personal expenses.

Additional Information

For more information or if you are interested in attending please contact life@nd.edu.

Participant Information

The symposium will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 25 and conclude at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. 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.

Each participant must complete and return the registration by FEBRUARY 17, 2023. Completed forms should be emailed to our Program Coordinator, Barbara Luter at bluter@nd.edu.

  • 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 5:00 pm on Sunday, June 25 and conclude at 12:30 pm on Friday, June 30. 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 airport, 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:
    We have arranged two options for lodging during the symposium:
  1. A block of residence hall rooms has been reserved for our participants, with arrival on Sunday, June 25 and check-out on Friday, June 30. If you choose the residence hall option, your room will be provided at no cost to you. 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 75F for the entirety of the summer. Unfortunately, we are not able to adjust this temperature.  
  2. We are also have a limited number of rooms at the Morris Inn, the on-campus hotel where the meeting venue is located. These rooms are available at a cost of $139 per night plus tax; however, reimbursement for these rooms will be limited to $65 per night. If you wish to reserve a room at the Morris Inn, please click this link to book your reservation:

Morris Inn Room Reservation

Please note: this room block rate and booking link will be available until May 26, 2022. If you choose to reserve a room at the Morris Inn, you must do so by that date to receive the symposium rate.

Rooms at the Embassy Suites hotel are available at a cost of $173-203 per night plus tax. As mentioned above, reimbursement will be limited to $65 per night. If you wish to reserve a room at the Embassy Suites, please click this link to book your reservation: 

Embassy Suites

Please note: this booking link will be available until May 26, 2023.

Should you wish to arrange for your own lodging at a location other than the two options mentioned above, please keep in mind that your nightly reimbursement amount will be limited to $65 per night. Some 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. He has four children, three of whom he and his wife Paulyn adopted from a Filipino orphanage in June of 2016. 

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) and Walking God’s Earth: The Environment and Catholic Theology (Liturgical) 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.



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.

Kathleen and her husband Rocky, along with their two sons Joseph and Owen, are members of Holy Spirit Parish in Sacramento, CA.


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. He resides with his wife and four children in South Bend, IN.




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.




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.