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University of Dayton Marian Forum explores connections between Annunciation, modern challenges of racism, immigration and the pandemic

By Jana Bennett

What wisdom does Mary, the mother of Jesus, have to offer us about contemporary concerns we’ve been facing in the past year?

On March 25, the University of Dayton Libraries and College of Arts and Sciences host a Marian Forum to explore the theme “Annunciation and Contemporary Challenges: Be Not Afraid (Luke 1:30).” Presenters will explore connections between the scriptural story of the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary she would be the mother of God’s son and name him Jesus, and contemporary challenges of racism, immigration and the pandemic.

This year’s virtual forum is being held on the Catholic feast day of the Annunciation, a feast whose Marianist significance recognizes the moment when Mary responded “yes” to God’s call. Her “yes” is a model for each of us, as we discern how best to respond to God in our world today.

The Marian Forum is a gathering of scholars, often international in scope, discussing Marian theology. Past Marian Forums have been short academic presentations hosted by the University’s International Marian Research Institute (IMRI).

In August 2021, IMRI moves to a new home in the College of Arts and Sciences. In honor of that move, this year’s Marian Forum intends to draw more of an undergraduate audience while also maintaining connections to IMRI’s globally-located alumni. The event is free and open to the public.

The 2021 Forum will feature student and scholar panelists who represent the multidisciplinary nature of the University.

Schedule of events:

12:30 p.m. - Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation

This is a livestream event.

2-3 p.m. - Annunciation and Contemporary Injustices

Fr. Sebastien Abalodo, S.M., IMRI and religious studies instructor; Corinne Daprano, associate professor of health and sport science; and Miranda Hallett, associate professor of cultural anthropology, will speak about their research as it relates to contemporary racial inequalities and immigration concerns, in connection with the Annunciation.

3-3:30 p.m. - 3:00 prayer, followed by an arts and music montage 

Created in collaboration with the Marian Library, UD Campus Ministry and a variety of University student musicians.

3:30-4:30 p.m. - Annunciation and the Pandemic

Roger Crum, professor of art history; Mary Connor, Chaminade Scholar and junior French and visual arts major; and alumnus Fred Tenover ’76, vice president of molecular diagnostic testing company Cepheid, discuss the pandemic in relation to their meditations on the Annunciation.

For more information or to view the Mass livestream or register to attend the free online panels, visit

Jana Bennett is professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

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