Thou art great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised.
With these words, Provost Andrew Abela opened the Marathon Reading of St. Augustine’s Confessions that took place in McMahon Hall over a three-day period from Oct. 11 to 13. Forty-eight students, faculty, staff, and administrators participated in the reading of this Christian literary classic, with more than 200 members of the University community coming and going as their schedules permitted. A different translation of the Confessions was used each day.
On the first day of the marathon, readings were taken from the translation by Canadian-born philosopher Vernon J. Bourke published by the Catholic University Press in 1953. Trevor Lipscombe, director of the press, was himself one of the readers that day.
On the second day, readers used the translation of Monsignor John K. Ryan, dean of Catholic University’s School of Philosophy from 1956 to 1967. The final day of the marathon featured the translation of Sister Maria Boulding, an English Benedictine nun whose last book, Gateway to Resurrection, was completed a few days before her death in 2009.
The Marathon Reading was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Early Christianity. Its main organizers were junior Ian Flanders and senior Peter Bayer, both majors in the Department of Greek and Latin.