The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies

Coming events:

Photos from Rabbi Skorka's visit

Rabbi Skorka chats with WTMJ Radio's Mark Siegrist



Our Mission

It is the mission of the Lux Center to instill the knowledge, understanding and skills to advance interreligious dialogue and relations in future Catholic priests and religious leaders serving across the United States, Canada and throughout the world. The Lux Center provides seminarians, priests, church leaders and the community at large with a richer understanding of, appreciation for, and ability to share the Jewish spiritual roots of Catholicism. This training renders it possible to encourage dialogue and mutual understanding in parishes and with the greater community.

What We Do

The Lux Center — as a program within a seminary — is uniquely positioned to improve interreligious understanding:

  • Dedicated faculty position in Jewish studies.
  • Seminarian study trips in Israel.
  • Public lectures with renowned scholars.
  • Annual seminary-hosted symposium on Catholic-Jewish relations.
  • Seminary events recognizing Jewish holidays, liturgy and history.
  • Library with extensive public Judaica collection.
  • Speakers’ bureau for churches and synagogues.
  • Teaching about the Holocaust.

Past Lux Center past events and news

Sister Rose Thering Award and Recognition Dinner

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, the Lux Center presented the first Sister Rose Thering Award at a dinner held at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Fr. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, was chosen to be the recipient of this award for his lifetime of contributions to furthering interreligious relations.
Servite Father John Pawlikowski is one of the most prolific and respected contemporary writers and speakers on the Holocaust and on the dramatic change in Christian attitudes toward Jews since WWII. A leading figure in the Christian-Jewish dialogue on the national and international levels for over forty years, he is Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics and immediate past director of Catholic-Jewish Studies program at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

The award was named in memory of Sr. Rose Thering who was born in 1920 in Plain, Wisconsin. She was a nun of the Dominican Order in Racine who gained note as an activist against anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church and was a professor of Catholic-Jewish dialogue at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Both Sister Rose Thering and Fr. John Pawlikowski are models which the Lux Center encourages everyone to emulate. As prominent leaders in the Catholic Church, they have also dedicated themselves to caring about others while fostering respect and understanding.
Additional awards were given to the Priests of the Sacred Heart and the Clarice S. Turer Charitable Fund as major donors of the Lux Center. Also honored were Danielle Merrill Yakich and Acklen Banks for their dedicated volunteer service.


2018 Spring Lecture:

Lux Center holds public lecture with Rabbi Or Rose: Calling Out from the Depths: Reading the Psalms in Two Voices

What can members of different religious traditions learn from one another when they come together to examine Scripture they have in common? That's the question scholar and author Rabbi Or Rose explored through an examination of the Psalms at a March 11, 2018 public lecture, hosted by Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin.

Rabbi Or Rose“Jews and Christians have turned to the Book of Psalms in times of joy and thanksgiving, and in times of sadness and lament, for centuries. Rarely, though, have members of these two communities explored these ancient poetic texts together as fellow spiritual seekers,” says Rose. His lecture, entitled “Calling Out from the Depths: Reading the Psalms in Two Voices,” explored the Psalms through both Christian and Jewish perspectives.

Rose emphasized that “by learning with the religious other [we] can better understand ourselves.”

Rose is the founding director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College in Boston. He was previously a founding faculty member and associate dean of the Rabbinical School there. Rose is the co-editor of the award-winning book “My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation” (Orbis) and “Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from Around the Maggid’s Table” (Jewish Lights). Along with his colleague, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore of Boston University, he also serves as the co-publisher of The Journal of Interreligious Studies and the blogging platform for emerging religious and ethical leaders, State of Formation.

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was established in 2010 to strengthen relations between people of two great faith traditions. It strives to instill the knowledge, understanding and skills to advance interreligious dialogue and relations in future Catholic priests and religious leaders who serve across the United States, Canada and throughout the world. The Lux Center is the only program of its kind at a Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States.

2017 Spring Lecture:

Building Bridges through Interreligious Dialogue in our Multi-Faith World

The Lux Center hosted a public lecture entitled "Building Bridges through Interreligious Dialogue in our Multi-Faith World." on March 28, 2017, at the Lux Center and Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, 7335 S. Highway 100 (U.S. Highway 45) in Franklin, Wis.  Map.

Two eminent theologians, a rabbi and a Catholic priest, explored what we can do to create bonds instead of barriers between people of different faiths.

Fr. John Crossin is the former director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko is a Rabbinic Scholar at the Jewish United Fund/ Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

The talk was moderated by TV journalist Mark Siegrist.

Co-sponsors: CT Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation; Catholic-Jewish Conference of the Jewish Community Relations Council; the O­ ce of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee; Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee; and the U.S. Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

2016 Public Lecture:

Archeologist’s talk
aims to bring time of
Jesus and early
Judaism alive

What do recent archeological discoveries tell us about early Judaism in the time of Jesus?

Renowned biblical archeologist Jodi Magness addressed this question and others at a free public lecture entitled “Unearthing the Truth: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” on March 13, 2016. The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin hosted the lecture, which aimed to unlock the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Israel's Qumran archelogical site through a fascinating illustrated presentation.

MagnessAccording to Magness, Qumran is one of the most remarkable and interesting archeological sites in the world. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered nearby, are among the most important archeological discoveries ever made, she argues.

scroll text“Study of Qumran and the scrolls has provided invaluable information about Judaism and the Jewish world in the last centuries B.C.E., and can help understand the common soil from which both Christianity and rabbinical Judaism arose,” she says.

QumranMagness’ lecture, with photographs, explored the archeological remains of Qumran, which was inhabited by members of a Jewish sect who deposited the scrolls in nearby caves. She will also examine the meaning and significance of the approximately 1,000 scrolls.

Magness currently holds the senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism and is currently the first vice president of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has a Ph.D. in classical archeology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Magness has published 10 books, including the award-winning The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (2002). Her books also include Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus (2011), and The Archaeology of the Holy Land from the Destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim Conquest (2012). She has participated in 20 different excavations in Israel and Greece. Since 2011, Magness has directed excavations at the Huqoq site in Galilee.

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was established in 2010 to strengthen the relations between people of two great faith traditions. It strives to instill the knowledge, understanding and skills to advance interreligious dialogue and relations in future Catholic priests and religious leaders who serve across the United States, Canada and throughout the world. The Lux Center is the only program of its kind at a Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States.

The Lux Center and Sacred Heart are at 7335 S. Highway 100 (U.S. Highway 45) in Franklin, Wis. The lecture will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 13. Map.

Admission is free but attendees must register by March 8. There is no need for each person in your party to register. Just give your own name and the number in your party, including yourself.

2016 Holocaust Study Institute

The Lux Center is hosted a Holocaust Study Institute, a spring semester evening class that focuses on historical anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, followed by a study trip to Israel, in 2016.

For more information download the brochure.


Veteran Jewish educator Bonnie Shafrin named director of Lux Center

Bonnie Shafrin, a veteran Jewish educator and the former director of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Holocaust Education Resource Center, has been named director of the Lux Center for Catholic Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

“Sacred Heart is the only Roman Catholic seminary with a center dedicated to promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding, and with Bonnie’s leadership and energy, the Lux Center is poised to become a national academic voice in interreligious conversations,” said Patrick Russell, the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs.

Shafrin has been a member of the Lux Center’s Advisory Committee since 2014, and has worked with the Lux Center on a variety of issues, including bringing the Holocaust Study Institute to the Lux Center in 2013. The institute included a class, student travel to Israel, and a major public lecture by Fr. Kevin Spicer.

She is the past president of the Milwaukee Association for Jewish Education, and chaired the board of the Coalition for Jewish Learning. Prior to becoming director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, she was a teacher in public and Jewish schools.

The Lux Center was established in 2010 as a tribute to Professor Richard Lux (emeritus), on the occasion of his retirement after 37 years on the Sacred Heart faculty. Its purpose is to continue his tireless and extensive life’s work in strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations.

Lux himself had previously held the position of director. He will now assume the role of founding director, continuing to actively provide support to Lux Center activities and Shafrin’s work.

Lux commented, “Having worked extensively with Bonnie on a variety of projects, I am very excited about what her background, leadership skills and energy will bring to the center as it enters a new phase.”

Shafrin has a master of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is working toward a master of arts in Jewish education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies.

There are currently more than 500 Catholic priests serving across the United States and Canada who graduated from Sacred Heart.

2015 public lecture:

Full house hears Roddy lecture on historical context of Jesus' ministry

roddy 1Approximately 200 people were on hand to hear Dr. Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University deliver a lecture on the historical context of Jesus' ministry.

The Lux Center at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology sponsors a lecture annually on topics that aim to build dialog and common understanding between Catholics and Jews.

rod2Following a Q&A session, guests visited the Dehon Library to see the Lux Center's Judaica collection there, and to meet and greet Dr. Roddy and SHSST professor emeritus Dr. Richard Lux.

roddy digFor the past 18 years, Roddy served as co-director and area supervisor for the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, an archaeological site located near the Sea of Galilee. Sacred Heart is a consortium member. Dr. Roddy also co-directs the Virtual World Project, a web-based virtual reality resource dedicated to archaeology, and serves as Senior Editor for JOCABS, the journal of Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.

Past headlines

(Feb. 2014)

Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund to speak at March 9 Lux Lecture

"How is archeology changing Jewish and Catholic identity?"

Well-known archeologist Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund will Rabbi Freunddiscuss exciting recent discoveries around the Sea of Galilee. Both the Jesus movement and the Rabbinical tradition emerged from this same soil. Freund will explore what Jews and Catholics may be able to share with respect to their common roots in that place.

About Dr. Rabbi Freund:
Long before his appearances on TV specials brought him status as a celebrity archaeologist, Rabbi Freund earned his reputation as an author, university professor and, foremost, a working archeologist. He is director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Freund is an ordained rabbi with a Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has also written two volumes on Jewish ethics. Freund has directed six archaeological projects in Israel, including digs at Qumran, Nazareth and Yavne, as well as projects in Spain. He has also appeared in the History Channel’s “God vs. Satan: The Final Battle,” CNN’s “After Jesus: The First Christians” and NOVA’s “Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land,” based on his book “Secrets of the Cave of Letters.”

Sunday, March 9 2:00 p.m.
Main Lobby, Sacred Heart School of Theology
7335 S. Highway 100, Franklin, Wis. 53132

This is a free public lecture, but registration is required.

(Oct. 2013)

Fr. Kevin Spicer, CSC, gives lecture on the role of Catholic Priests during the Nazi Holocaust

Fr. Spicer speaks to group

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, the Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, CSC, Ph.D., (left), professor of history at Stonehill College in Boston, gave a presentation entitled “Catholics, Nazis, Jews: The Complex History” as part of the Lux Center’s Holocaust Study Institute. His lecture explored the actions, or inaction, of Germany’s Catholic priests in the face of the Nazis’ persecution of Europe’s Jews. Bonnie Shafrin (top center) of the Holocaust Education Resource Center, co-sponsor of the event, Dr. Richard Lux (top right), and the Rev. Scott Jones, SDS, Ph.D., of the SHST faculty, welcomed more than 100 guests attending the lecture.

(April, 2012)

Benefit dinner brings financial support
amid serious theology

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University, participated in several events sponsored by the Lux Center at Sacred Heart School of Theology April 19 through 21.

Photos above:

A., B. and E.: Levine and Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba teamed up to present dual lectures on how Catholics and Jews can benefit from understanding each other's faiths and scriptures, at a Lux Center fundraiser. About 160 Catholics and Jews attended the event, held at Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid in Glendale, Wis.

C.: Levine conducted a workshop for faculty of SHST and other area colleges and universities on Friday afternoon, with Dr. Richard Lux. Her topic was, "Christian and Jewish Readings of the Parables: Theological and Pastoral Implications."

D and F.: Levine presented a two-hour lecture on "How to avoid anti-Jewish Teaching and Preaching" to about 200 seminarians, faculty, religious educators from the Milwaukee community, and international priests and nuns enrolled in SHST's English language program.

Benefit dinner plans gearing up

Community organizations and individuals are stepping forward eagerly to support the Lux Center's April 21 benefit dinner, featuring noted scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Bishop Richard Sklba. Catholic Financial Life, the Marcus Corporation Foundation, Bob and Mimi Habush, BMO Harris Bank, Beth Peterman in memory of her husband Bob Peterman, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the Jewish Community Center, Atid Properties, and many others have stepped forward as sponsors. The Lux Center is extremely grateful for these organizations' contributions to Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

2013 Holocaust Study Institute

The Lux Center first offered the Holocaust Study Institute, a one semester evening class, in January, 2013, followed by a study trip to Israel. More ...

Dr. Lux Video

The Lux Center has recently released a video featuring Dr. Lux describing the rationale and goals of the Lux Center. See it here.

Please browse our information and don't hesitate to call us at 414-529-6966 if you would like more information.



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