Seeds of Hope

The Veritas Lecture Series engages speakers from a variety of backgrounds to explore the depth of human experience and to articulate the truth – the fullness of humanity – to which we aspire. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition welcomes and embraces this exploration as a participation in the common good that enhances the world we inhabit.

Our theme this year, Seeds of Hope, acknowledges that new life and opportunity often follow times of adversity. By trusting in the wisdom that lies embedded within the community, we can collectively find a way forward into a future full of hope.

All lectures this year will be offered online through Zoom webinar.


  •  SEPTEMBER 16, 2021  

Cindy Blackstock 

A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Cindy is honoured to serve as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. She has over 30 years of experience working in child welfare and Indigenous children’s rights and has published more than 75 articles on topics relating to reconciliation, Indigenous theory, First Nations child welfare and human rights. Cindy was honoured to work with First Nations colleagues on a successful human rights challenge to Canada’s inequitable provision of child and family services and failure to implement Jordan’s Principle. This hard-fought litigation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of services being provided to First Nations children, youth and families.

She recently served on the Pan American Health Commission on Health Equity and Inequity and fundamentally believes that culturally-based equity is fundamental to meaningful reconciliation. Cindy is frequently sighted in the company of the Caring Society’s reconciliation Am-bear-rister, Spirit Bear, engaging children in meaningful actions to implement the TRC Calls to Action.

Reconciling History: Echoes of the Past

Link lessons of history to the contemporary injustices that First Nations children and families experience in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action.

President's Lecture
Sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada

Link to event poster here

Webinar Registration


  •  OCTOBER 21, 2021  

Dr. Phyllis Zagano 

Dr. Phyllis Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar who has lectured throughout the United States, and in Canada, Europe and Australia. Her many awards include the 2014 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice from The Paulist Center Community in Boston for “her prolific body of work that has constantly echoed the cry of the poorest of our society for dignity and for justice both inside and outside the church....specifically the dignity of all women.” Her groundbreaking work on women in the diaconate led to her appointment to the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women in 2016. She has taught at Fordham, Boston, and Yale Universities, and currently holds a research appointment at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Catholic Women, Catholic Church: Where Do We Go From Here?

Many Catholic women, the mainstays of Catholic pastoral ministry, are increasingly frustrated by the Church’s response to requests for increased professional presence of women in ministry. At least four commissions have studied women deacons. The 2019 Amazon Synod asked for increased roles for women. Now regional synods will present their needs to the next synod of bishops, now scheduled for October 2023. Will the talking ever end? Lord, to whom shall we go?

Webinar Registration


  •  NOVEMBER 18, 2021   

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, Ed.D.

Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM is president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.   For over a century, the ACCU has provided thought leadership on the issues facing Catholic higher education as well as training, representation and consulting on a wide array of matters to help these institutions flourish.  Now in his 32nd year as a Vincentian priest, Fr. Holtschneider has worked in Catholic education and Catholic healthcare, serving most recently as president of DePaul University (2004-2017) and chair and then chief operations officer of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the United States.  He teaches higher education strategy and governance in Harvard University’s programs in professional education, and holds degrees in mathematics, theology and a doctorate in higher education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Bringing a New Generation into the Catholic Intellectual Life

Woody Allen lost his moral voice. Flannery O’Conner has had hers questioned. Church scandals have made it harder for all of us who claim this tradition. And yet, there is treasure to be had and to be given to the next generation. How does one successfully invite the young now into this extraordinary way of seeing the world?

Webinar Registration


  •  FEBRUARY 10, 2022 

Christian Harvey 

Christian has ministered at St. John’s in Peterborough, Ontario in various capacities since 2005.  He started off as youth worker, developed the leadership of the Open Circle worshipping community, and was a member of the leadership team of our Community Ministries.  He was ordained a Vocational Deacon on May 3, 2014.  Christian also worked as the Coordinator of the Diocese of Toronto’s Youth Ministry Apprenticeship Program and as the Trent Durham Area Youth Social Justice Coordinator.  Christian has been a proud resident of Peterborough since 1993.  Before working at St. John’s he was a professional musician and still enjoys playing percussion when he can.  His passion, faith, and commitment to building a community where all are loved and welcome, as well as his love for Peterborough, guide what he does.  He lives with his family in East City.

Criminalizing Others for our Comfort: Confronting our Systemic Exclusion of Those Experiencing Homelessness and Marginalization

People aren’t disposable. Most of us would agree with this statement, and yet all around us policies are passed, bylaws are created, laws are enforced and even architecture built that states the exact opposite. Not that we are aware of it, often we just see policies, bylaws, laws and architecture that make us feel more comfortable, make us feel safe and so we go along with it. In this talk we will expose the way in which we increase societal harms such as homelessness and marginalization and then blame the very people harmed. We will engage with theology, music, prominent thinkers and stories to help us understand the narratives we tell ourselves to justify our actions and finally imagine what could be possible if we break free of these narratives and live like a different world is possible.

Webinar Registration