XXXVII Paul Wattson Lecture in San Francisco

Prof. Volker Leppin Lecturer--"The Reformation: A Challenge for Ecumenism"
XXXVII Paul Wattson Lecture in San Francisco

Press Release ( - SAN FRANCISCO - Jan 12, 2017 - Prof. Volker Leppin will deliver the XXXVII Paul Wattson Christian Unity Lecture at the University of San Francisco on Monday, February 27nd, 2017, at 7:30pm in the McLaren Conference Center, Room 252.

Leppin is Professor of Church history at Jena and Tübingen  Universities in Germany. He serves as Director of the Institute for Late Medieval and Reformation Times, Tübingen and is a member of the Academies of Saxonia (Leipzig) and Heidelberg. He studied German literature and theology at Marburg, Jerusalem and Heidelberg. He earned his doctoral degree at Heidelberg in 1994 and his habilitation in 1997.  Author of eleven books on Church History, Martin Luther, German Lutheranism during the Reformation and William of Occam, Prof. Leppin will speak about the challenges that the Reformation has presented to ecumenism, on its 500th anniversary.

The Paul Wattson Christian Unity Lectures honor the memory of the Servant of God Fr. Paul of Graymoor (Reverend Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A.,1863-1940), founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and pioneer for the cause of Christian Unity.  These annual lectures feature national and international leaders in the fields of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue who speak on current topics of interest.  Initiated in 1974 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, the series was expanded in 1980 to the University of San Francisco; then, in 1995 to the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax; and in 1996 to the Toronto School of Theology in Toronto.  In 1998, it was added to the ministry of the Friars at their Centro Pro Unione in Rome honoring not only Father Paul, but also Mother Lurana White, S.A., founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.  In 2017, the first Paul Wattson Lecture in Chicago will take place in October in conjunction with the Catholic Theological Union, and will feature Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, fourth presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The University of San Francisco is a Catholic institute of higher education founded by the Jesuits in 1855. USFCA enrolls approximately 11,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs. The University’s Theology faculty has academic expertise in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and in several Social Sciences that explore the human experience of the Divine.  The Friars have chosen to share sponsorship of this prestigious annual lecture program with USF because of their innovative and ecumenical reputation.

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are a Roman Catholic order of brothers and priests founded in 1898 by Fr. Paul Wattson, SA at Graymoor in Garrison.  Since that time, the Friars have worked for reconciliation and healing through “at-one-ment” — the unity of men and women with God and with one another —  so that the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” might be fulfilled.  Through their mission and ministries they serve people of every race, religion, and walk of life. Their social ministries help the poor, the needy, and the homeless; people living with HIV; frail and elderly in hospitals and hospices; those in prison; and people seeking recovery from alcoholism and chemical addictions.  They are active in the international movement to heal the divisions within Christianity and among all faiths.  Through their prayers and pastoral ministries, they bring spiritual renewal, unity, harmony, and reconciliation throughout the world and carry the Gospel message to three continents. For more information about the Friars, visit

For more information about the Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco, contact Anne Marie Devine (415) 422-2697 or email

Source : Franciscan Friars of the Atonement



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