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Mosaics of Faith Conference to Examine the Czech Experience
Graphic: Mosaics of FaithThe University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies Department will host the fourth annual Mosaics of Faith Conference: The Czech Experience Concert from Feb. 28-29 on the UST campus, with a panel discussion on 7 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 29 in Ahern Room, Crooker Center. Father Paul Chovanec from St. Justin Martyr Catholic Community will lead the conference on the Czech Experience and the resurgence of Czech faith communities.

Mosaics of Faith is an annual conference geared towards stimulating active interest in the vast universe of social, anthropological and political manifestations resulting from the intertwined relationship between culture and faith. The conference is meant to explore connections and divisions between the U.S. and other parts of the world by considering the spiritual journey of different cultures and their long-lasting struggles to live according to their faith and conscience.

“The Mosaics of Faith Conference is a network that focuses on the impact that faith has had on other countries’ faith, economy, politics and culture and bring the experience to campus to let the protagonists tell their stories,” said Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, University of St. Thomas assistant professor of International Studies and director of the UST Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Participants of this year’s conference will share descriptions of the presence of their communities in the Czech Republic in an open discussion forum in an effort to raise the public’s awareness of the interaction between faith and society. This year’s conference will feature Rev. Elias Rfaj, pastor of St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church; Dr. David Brenner, Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies professor at the University of Houston; Dr. Michael Sust, a native of the Czech Republic who escaped to the United States from the former communist Czechoslovakia; and Bishop Peter Esterka, S.T.D., author and founder of the North American Pastoral Center for Czech Catholics.

The conference has been funded by donations from several organizations including the Former Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas (SPJST), the Catholic Family Fraternal of Texas (KJZT), the Catholic Union of Texas (KJT), the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of America.

The conference is free and open to the public. Parking is available for $2 in the Moran Center, at the corner of West Alabama and Graustark. If you would like to contribute to the conference or receive some additional information, contact Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Conteras at or Fr. Paul Chovanec at

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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