Theology on Tap

2020 Series: Voices on the Periphery

Voices on the Periphery

To ensure everyone’s safety while still bringing everyone together, our summer Theology on Tap series will be held online rather than at individual parishes across the city. Five local community organizers will help us focus on listening to and amplifying the voices of those who may not have the biggest platform in our society. Each session will be open to all individual young adults, young adult groups and parishes across the archdiocese.

7 – 8 p.m. on all dates


Dr. MaryClare Birmingham, Executive Director of Kolbe House Jail Ministry
Voices on the Periphery: Kolbe House Ministry to those in Prison

Wednesday, July 1

Kolbe House is the agency of the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission of the Archdiocese of Chicago that serves individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system. This includes those who are currently incarcerated, families who have a loved one in jail, those who have just been released, those who work in prisons, and anyone else affected by crime or the criminal justice system.

Dr. Birmingham is the first lay woman leading Kolbe House as its Executive Director. She has been a member of the Kolbe House Advisory Board and supported the work of previous director Bishop Mark Bartosic. She is also a certified public accountant, a mother of five adopted children, and a licensed physical therapist.

Dr. Birmingham will speak about the work that Kolbe House does and how we can get involved, especially during this time of global crisis.

Join us on July 1 via Facebook Live by clicking here.

Josh Goralski, Founder, and CEO of Unlocking Communities
Voices on the Periphery: Unlocking Communities Ministry to Haiti
Wednesday, July 8

With lifelong connections to Haiti and extensive travel experience in the developing world, Josh has a decade of experience in the social sector, from analyzing global impact metrics to writing business plans to scale other organizations. He developed a nonprofit called Unlocking Communities while pursuing his undergraduate and master’s degree in social justice. The organization’s mission is to empower individuals and communities in Haiti to unlock their economic potential through entrepreneurial ventures.

In his session, Josh will talk about the work of Unlocking Communities, how it relates to the mission of the church, and how we can all be missionary disciples. Josh is an active member of Old St. Pat’s Church, where he is involved in various social justice ministries.

Join us on July 8 via Facebook Live by clicking here.

Luana Lienhart, OFS
Voices on the Periphery: the Holy Spirit Amid COVID-19 & Racism
Wednesday, July 15

Luana is a Secular Franciscan and holds a Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) from Loyola University Chicago. She has worked in social services and ministry in varied settings in the Chicago-Metro area and is an adjunct instructor at DePaul University.

She will be sharing her knowledge on the “Gift of the Spirit and finding joy in Christ during Covid-19”. Covid-19 and the protests against racial injustice have marked our humanity, and this talk will invite us to reflect and identify where we can find joy via the gift of the Spirit in the midst of a pandemic and a transformative time of protesting racial injustice.

Join us on July 15 via Facebook Live by clicking here.

Fr. Ed Shea OFM
Voices on the Periphery: Caring for the Homeless in Chicago
Wednesday, July 22

Father Ed Shea OFM has been involved in Young Adult Ministry for several years and really enjoys speaking with young people about what it means for us to be Catholic in this day and age. A Franciscan priest from St. Peter’s in the Loop who loves to sing and tell stories, more than anything he thrives on celebrating the sacraments of the Church. A true follower of St. Francis, Father Ed finds reasons to rejoice often in the goodness of God’s presence in our world.

The movement from blindness to sight is a Gospel narrative that is also a call to conversion. Fr. Ed will invite us to take seriously the call to conversion, even in the smallest of ways, in our own individual lives. “May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17)

Join us on July 22 via Facebook Live by clicking here.

Mr. Wayne Smith
Voices on the Periphery: Turning a Curse into a Blessing
Wednesday, July 29

Mr. Wayne Smith is a convert to the Catholic Church who was raised as a Jew and then became a rebellious atheist for 35 years, especially during the 60s and 70s when rebellion, recreational drugs and experimental sex became mainstream. As a photographer who was going blind, his life fell apart and he became suicidal. God was waiting for him at the bottom of the proverbial “barrel” and He drew him into the Catholic Church and a relationship with Jesus Christ in 1996 as he was baptized at St. Michael’s in Old Town. That began a new way of life and his struggles against his old habits. As somebody with a disability, he knows what it means to be pushed to the periphery. He came to understand that his disability did not define who he was but, rather, his relationship with God and neighbor as taught by the Catholic Church. He no longer has to make up his own rules and loves being obedient to the ways of Jesus Christ. It is a constant journey.

Mr. Smith will discuss coming to faith in the Church and God after growing up Jewish, losing his sight and ability to work along with his faith, fighting discrimination which led to depression and even a suicide attempt, only to find hope, faith, & love not apart but in the midst of his darkest moment. Wayne will discuss how becoming disabled has changed his life; where God was in the midst of his suffering and loss; what the Church and society have done to help persons with disabilities and what more they could do moving forward.

Join us on July 29 via Facebook Live by clicking here.