Agape Latte Has Been Serving Up Conversations About Faith Since 2006

As described in the Oct. 5, 2006 issue of The Heights, “warm apple pie, chocolate covered palmier cookies, and creamy whipped topping,” were all present at the Agape Latte event. Almost 10 years later, Agape Latte is still providing similarly delicious desserts and even better discussion.

Launched in 2006, Agape Latte is a program sponsored by the Church in the 21st Century (C21) and Campus Ministry and is a monthly lecture and discussion series. “The Agape Latte series provides a form of intellectual conversation around issues related to the church in a relaxed, non-classroom atmosphere,” said Tim Muldoon, director of C21, in the same Heights article. Students, like Chiara Rivas-Morello, BC ’10, said similar things in this article: “I’m looking for ways to tie my faith into everyday life, a hard thing to do in our secularized society, and I thought connecting religious symbolism to popular culture could be a means for the two to converge.”

The first lecture was a success. Around 150 students crowded into Hillside on a Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. to hear Muldoon kick off the series with his lecture, entitled, “I’m Spiritual. Who Needs Religion? Mediations on Spirituality, Faith, and the Church.” Muldoon covered the difference between spirituality and religion, used clips from American Beauty and excerpts from Thoreau’s Walden, and discussed the church’s view on modern issues, like gender roles and homosexuality.

Agape Latte has had many distinguished speakers follow Muldoon. These speakers have helped establish the program firmly in Boston College’s culture. Kerry Cronin, associate director of the Lonergan Institute within the philosophy department, spoke at the second Agape Latte, as the Nov. 9, 2006 issue of The Heights reported, and she discussed the role of Mass in her lecture: “Mass appeal: Why do we go, and what do we do?” Cronin shared her own experiences in Mass and encouraged students to use Mass as a time of self-reflection and renewal.

Rev. Jack Butler, S. J., was also a guest speaker, according to the Dec. 7, 2006 issue of The Heights. Butler spoke about three things: “the history of religious life, his definition of certain related terms, and why people choose to enter a religious life.” He also discussed his own journey to a life devoted to his religion.

In the sixth installment of Agape Latte, Marina McCoy, an associate professor within the philosophy department came to speak in a lecture entitled,

“Choosing the Church: My Story of Conversion and Faith”, as written in the April 12, 2007 issue of The Heights. In her lecture, McCoy shared her journey to Catholicism from her childhood religion of Lutheranism. “Conversion,” she said, “is a lifelong experience of God bringing us closer to Him. It is a greater expression of freedom.”

The Feb. 7, 2008 edition of The Heights featured Francis Kilcoyne, a professor within the theology department, and his time at Agape Latte. Kilcoyne talked about the several archaeological expeditions of which he has been a part and sites he and his group have discovered. He also discussed the experiences students have when they experience another culture and emphasized “an understanding of educational travel that goes beyond ‘cultural tourism.’”

He encouraged students, when they travel abroad, to engage in the cultures and countries as much as they could. “The presumption that we are in the center of the universe,” Kilcoyne said, “is unhealthy and cripples how we relate to the rest of the world.” In 2011, Cronin returned to Agape Latte, as documented by a February 4, 2011, edition of The Heights. In this Agape Latte, she gave her now-famous lecture, “The Imperfect Art of Dating,” a program in which she talks about the three levels of dating.

“Dating”, she said in the lecture, “demands honesty, showing that you care even if it’s a risk.”

Recently, Agape Latte began its 2014 season, kicking off with the upbeat “Shake It Off” music video, which featured many groups on campus—Sexual Chocolate, the marching band, the Emerging Leaders Program, several a cappella groups, and Cronin herself. The first speakers of this academic year were two speakers from the Jesuit Post, and they addressed a crowded room.

“Agape,” as a Greek word meaning “love that seeks nothing in return,” falls into place with BC’s mantras of “Men and Women for Others” and “Ever to Excel.” In all the speakers and events that Agape Latte has held in the past, these ideas clearly have been present. With such a well-attended start to the program this year, these ideas will remain at the forefront of the BC community.

 

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