Humans have a “thirst” for the unknown and Albany’s two Cath­edrals are looking to quench that thirst.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and the Cathedral of All Saints of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany are welcoming author Carol Zaleski on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, for a two-part talk on “The Thirst for Eternal Life: Near Death Experience and Christian Hope.”

The Cathedral of All Saints will host the Friday event, which starts at 7 p.m., and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception hosts the Saturday morning event at 10:30 a.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance and admission to both talks costs just $20.

Zaleski earned her doctorate in religion from Harvard University and teaches philosophy of religion, world religions and Christian thought at Smith College. Zaleski is a noted columnist, editor-at-large and author and is currently working on a book about the search for immortality.

Dean Leander Harding, the dean of the Cathedral of All Saints, and Father David LeFort, vicar general of the Diocese of Albany and rector for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, lead both Cathedrals and talk about what to expect from the two-day event. (The following is a condensed version of a conversion the pair had on the Diocese of Albany’s YouTube channel.)

Dean Harding: “We are partnering together to bring to town Dr. Carol Zaleski, who is a professor at Smith College. She is a professor of religion and her research area is near-death experience. But she is also a Roman Catholic lay theologian and everything that she writes about — the Christian hope for the life of the world to come — is something that any Christian who is a biblical, Christo-centric person can get behind. Her teaching is broadly ecumenical in that sense. She is going to talk about the thirst for immortality, near-death experience and the Christian hope.”

Father LeFort: “We are really hoping for people that have a desire for what happens in eternal life — and even those people who are not going to be Christo-centric, they still have that question, ‘Is this all it is?’ And she is going to provide an ambience that could propose there is something more.”
Dean Harding: “One of the things she talks about is are we justified in hoping. And St. Paul says, ‘In this life only we hope, we are of all people, to be the most pitied.’ As I say, this is a topic of universal relevance. And I am so excited because this is what I have been praying we would be able to do, which is come together around a witness to a very basic, Christianity 101 doctrine.”

Father LeFort: “And it will draw no distinction, because there is no distinction about what we believe about hope and eternal life.”

This event is sponsored by St. Peter’s Health Partners, Albany Diocesan Cemeteries, Siena College, Maria College and St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry