John Galten, whose 2001 dismissal as director of the conservative-leaning Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco prompted protests that reverberated all the way to the Vatican, will be one of two keynote speakers at the Diocese of Sacramento’s Catechist Ministry Day at St. Francis High School on Saturday, Sept. 18. “More than 1,000 catechists, Catholic school educators, parish coordinators of religious education, youth ministers and others are expected to attend,” says an announcement on the diocesan website. The theme of the event, says the announcement, will be
“Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love,” which will conclude Saturday afternoon with a Mass celebrated by Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto. “John Galten, co-founder and president of the former Campion College, will be the keynote speaker in English,” said the diocesan announcement. “He chaired the religion department at Presentation High School in San Francisco and helped found the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco in 1976, serving as assistant director and finally as director for five years until 2001.” The announcement, however, did not provide additional details of Galten’s interesting past. In January 2001, USF president Fr. Stephen Privett abruptly fired Galten as director of the Ignatius Institute, at the time a “Great Books” program and theologically conservative enclave on the otherwise heterodox USF campus. The Associated Press described the Institute as “a significant voice for conservative Catholics nationally” before Fr. Privett dismissed Galten. Galten’s firing led several faculty members to resign, but Fr. Privett defended the move, calling his critics the “self-appointed guardians” of “authentic Catholicism.” Fr. Privett’s decision was later upheld by the USF board of trustees, but not before weeks of protest, which included demonstrations on campus. In 2002, Fr. Joseph Fessio, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Ignatius Institute, co-founded Campion College in San Francisco along with Galten to carry on the Institute’s mission as an authentically Catholic, two-year college. Galten was named president of Campion College, but the school folded under financial pressures in 2004. The other keynote address on Saturday will be delivered in Spanish by Alejandro Aguilera-Titus. “He is assistant director of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a nationally-know speaker and wrier on the practical application of theological thought to pastoral ministry and formation,” said the diocesan announcement. Workshops in English and Spanish “will offered to catechists who work in parish faith formation programs, youth ministry programs, adult education programs and in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,” said the announcement. “Among the workshop topics are marriage preparation; teaching children about marriage; marriage-building parishes; the human family; catechetical principles for transforming minds, hearts and culture; the catechist’s toolbox, employing social media in catechesis; building respect life awareness; understanding the Mass for children; the liturgical calendar; spirituality and catechesis; salvation history; building small faith communities; the RCIA process; and cultivating family prayer.” For more information, Click Here.
8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
St. Francis High School
500 Elvas Ave. • Sacramento