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Robert E. Barron to be first holder

CHICAGO, IL (May 13, 2008) – The Very Rev. Dennis J. Lyle, Rector of Mundelein Seminary, has announced the creation of the Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Chair of Faith and Culture and the appointment of Fr. Robert E. Barron as the First George Professor.

The Francis Cardinal George Chair of Faith and Culture will receive its initial funding from a bequest from the estate of an alumnus of Mundelein Seminary. It will address the critical area of Christianity’s place in public life and cultural consciousness.

“Father Barron is the ideal person to undertake this task,” said Cardinal George. “His engagement of the culture through his work in evangelization brings the fruits of theological study to bear on the questions our culture puts to faith.”

The Francis Cardinal George Chair is the second endowed professorship established at Mundelein Seminary. “We have had great success with our first chair,” said Fr. Lyle. “Our hope has been to establish an endowed chair in each of the academic departments. This will help the seminary maintain the academic excellence for which our faculty is noted.”

Father Barron, who is presently Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology, will assume the new position July 1, 2008. “I’m very excited about the possibilities this new appointment offers. My hope is that in addition to my research and teaching at the seminary, I will be able to offer a series of public lectures each year as a way of bringing Catholic thought to a wider audience, especially to those in the professions. The Church has so much to offer society, but too often we have trouble finding our voice.”

The new appointment ideally suits Father Barron, said the Provost, Fr. Thomas A. Baima. “Father Barron is an accomplished teacher and author, having eight books to his credit. Most recently, he published the Priority of Christ, which takes up a number of the issues in the faith and culture debate. I hope this new professorship will give him a platform to bring these issues to a wider audience.”

Robert E. Barron is a native of the Chicago area, coming from Saint John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs. He attended the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America, where he received a master of arts in philosophy. He received the master of divinity and licentiate in sacred theology from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Father Barron was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. His doctorate in sacred theology is from the Catholic Institute of Paris. He was appointed to the faculty of Mundelein Seminary in 1989, and was promoted to full professor of systematic theology in 2000. Fr. Barron as also served as visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

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