A Poor Church and a Church for the Poor: Christian Poverty in the 21st Century

Shawn Colberg, Ph.D.

Three days after his election, Pope Francis proclaimed publically, "Ah, how I would like a church that is poor and is for the poor." This initial sentiment has remained a constant theme in his articulation of the nature and the mission of the church, and it may fairly be noted as one of the early themes of his pontificate. His selection of a papal name reflects this same commitment, calling to mind Saint Francis of Assisi who embraced a life of radical poverty even as the spirit of Francis and his followers breathed new life into the 13th Century Church. This session will explore the concept of Christian poverty. To do so it will look backward and inward in order to look forward. Our time will include a discussion of the biblical notion of poverty in Jesus' sermons and the apostolic lifestyle found in scripture, images and writings from Francis of Assisi, and review of recent statements by Pope Francis. Finally we wil examine how Christians in our modern context might cultivate something of the vision shared by Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis.

Shawn Colberg

Shawn Colberg is Assistant Professor of theology for Saint John's School of Theology·Seminary and the undergraduate Department of Theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. He received his doctorate in the History of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame and specializes in medieval and Reformation thought with particular focus on the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure. He has several publications including recent articles in Nova et Vetera, Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte, and Archa Verbi.




Date & Location 

Tuesday, May 13 - 6-9 p.m. - Saint Frances Cabrini Church, 1500 Franklin Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55414


A typical Theology Day consists of registration and refreshments, followed by a period of conversation/presentation/lecture. The conversation then continues as participants are given a chance to continue their discussions with one another. Morning presentations at Emmaus Hall are followed by a complimentary lunch for all participants, and most evening sessions include refreshments.

There is no fee for Theology Day, but registration is required.  Free-will offerings and gifts to support the mission of the School of Theology·Seminary are gratefully accepted.

For more information, contact our Development Office at 320-363-3570 or [email protected].

Register now!