World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue will be held Wednesday, April 2, at the Pontifical College Josephinum.

The speaker for the 10th anniversary of a lecture series sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus was once introduced to a new pope with these words:

"Holy Father, this man needs no introduction."

John L. Allen Jr., associate editor of The Boston Globe and senior Vatican analyst for CNN, is to appear for the World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the Jessing Center at the Pontifical College Josephinum, 7625 N. High St.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Allen's topic is, "Pope Francis and the World's Religions."

"He's just somebody who anybody and everybody will turn to for what's going on in the Vatican and what's going on with any particular pope," said Paul D. Numrich, Ph.D., chairman of the program in World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue for the consortium, which includes Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation.

Given "how immensely popular Pope Francis is," landing Allen as the guest speaker for the 10-year anniversary of the lecture series will make it the special event consortium officials were hoping for, Numrich said.

"All of it kind of fell together," he said. "We wanted to do something important and timely, and I think we're going to do that.

"To me, to do anything for 10 years is significant," Numrich said. "It seems like a good longevity to me, and we've had a variety of perspectives."

Past World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue speakers have included a German theologian, the auxiliary bishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a rabbi and professor of Jewish Studies at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and, appearing jointly, a Muslim chaplain and Roman Catholic priest.

Numrich, who has training in both theology and the academic study of religion with degrees from Aurora College, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University, kicked off the series in 2005.

Allen spent 16 years as senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter before joining The Boston Globe.

Allen has authored seven best-selling books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, and writes frequently about the church for major national and international publications, according to a biography provided by Numrich.

For more information about the April 2 lecture, call the academic dean's office at the Josephinum, 614-985-227, or email