Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD
Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD

Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD

Professor
Director, Undergraduate Theology Majors
College of Arts and Sciences

Expertise/Specializations

  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Community-Based Learning/Service Learning
  • Liberation Theology
  • Church of Latin America
  • Social Justice and International Immersions
  • Christology

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Theology

Position

  • Professor

Biography

Thomas M. Kelly is a Professor of Theology at Creighton University. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame (’91) and his Ph.D. from Boston College (’99). From 1998-2002 he taught in the department of theology at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H and has been at Creighton University since 2002. Dr. Kelly has held various administrative positions at Creighton including being the founding director of the M.A. in Lay Ministry (2003-2005), the Academic Director of Encuentro Dominicano, Creighton University’s study abroad program in the Dominican Republic (2005-2007), Campus Director of Encuentro Dominicano (2007-2010), the M.A. in Theology (2009) and director of undergraduate majors (2010-2016). Dr. Kelly has taught immersion courses in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and Peru over the past ten years. He has utilized immersion education, especially in reference to Fair Trade practices, to educate first world university students about the reality of global poverty and suffering, the response to this by the Catholic Church as well as their own obligation to use their privilege to make a concrete difference in the world. Dr. Kelly is particularly proud of former students who have and continue to volunteer all over the world and then take up professions which “effectively will the good of others.” He has published nationally and internationally on topics ranging from philosophical hermeneutics, liberation theology, immersion education, marriage and social ethics. His latest books analyze the life, ministry and death of Rutilio Grande, S.J., the first Jesuit killed in civil war in El Salvador (1980-1992). When the Gospel Grows Feet (Liturgical Press, 2013) and Rutilio Grande: Homilies and Articles (Liturgical Press, 2015). One emphasis of this book is the importance of the understanding of “church” promoted by Fr. Grande in El Salvador. Of particular interest to Dr. Kelly is the way in which the Catholic Church responds or fails to respond to contemporary issues of peace and justice. Dr. Kelly has been married to his wife Lisa for 24 years and together they parent Andrew, Michael and Catherine. Both Dr. Kelly and his wife are members of Ignatian Associates, a lay organization committed to Ignatian Spirituality. The Kelly family has lived throughout Latin America including Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.
 
For a more thorough view of research, teaching and service please see his CV.

Education

  • University of Notre Dame, B.A. in International Relations/Theology
  • Boston College, M.A./Ph.D. in Systematic Theology

Certifications

Advanced Language Speaker--Spanish, Maryknoll Language Institute, Cochabamba, Bolivia (2005, 2012)

Publications and Presentations

Books

  • Based on original translations of the author, this book consists of three homilies and three articles by Rutilio Grande, S.J. with brief introductions of context and audience. The commentaries on each cover the theological themes and their importance not only for the Church of El Salvador at the time of Rutilio, but for the Catholic Church of the U.S. today. Each chapter ends with questions for students of theology which focus on the relationship between church and state, theology and politics, and the gospel and the poor. http://www.litpress.org/Products/8773/rutilio-grande-sj.aspx, Liturgical Press, 2015
  • “Rutilio Grande, S.J.: An Evangelizing Exemplar for Archbishop Oscar Romero,” A chapter in Archbishop Romero and Spiritual Leadership in the Modern World. , Lexington Books: A Division of Rowman and Littlefield, 111-126, 2015
  • “When Liturgy Empowers: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” A chapter in Approaching the Threshold of Mystery: Liturgical Worlds and Theological Spaces (Volume 10 of the Theologie der Liturgie series, ed. by Martin Stuflesser (ISBN: 978-3-7917-2741-7). Leuven, Belgium., Peeters, 2015
  • “Encuentro Dominicano, Creighton University’s Commitment to Education for Transformation” a chapter in Transforming and Being Transformed: Justice in Jesuit Higher Education., Fordham University Press, 2013

Articles

  • “Remembering the UCA Martyrs: Education and Evangelical Conscientization in Collaboration with Rutilio Grande, S.J.” accepted by the Journal for Peace and Justice Studies (Villanova University, 2016)., Journal for Peace and Justice Studies, 2016
  • “From Salvation to Liberation: The Identity of the Poor in Latin American Catholicism,” in Proceedings of the Kripke Center Symposium on “Religion and Identity.”, Journal of Religion, Supplement 12, 2016
  • Rutilio Grande: Homilies and Writings, All Are Welcome at the Table of the Lord, Translation and commentary by Thomas M. Kelly. Based on original translations of the author, All are Welcome at the Table of the Lord consists of three homilies and three articles by Rutilio Grande, S.J. with brief introductions of context and audience. The commentaries on each cover the theological themes and their importance not only for the Church of El Salvador at the time of Rutilio, but for the Catholic Church of the U.S. today., Liturgical Press, 2015
  • “Rutilio Grande, S.J.: An Evangelizing Exemplar for Archbishop Oscar Romero,” Accepted in the proceedings of the International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero, University of Notre Dame, September 25 - 28, 2014., Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2015
  • “When Liturgy Empowers: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” Accepted in Mediating Mysteries, Understanding Liturgies, in the Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium series., Peeters, 2015
  • “Inquiry for Action: The Latin American Church and the Social Sciences Post Vatican II,” ” in Proceedings of the Kripke Center Symposium on “Religion and Science: Challenges and Opportunities,” Journal of Religion and Society., Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 11, 2015
  • Joe DeFeo and Thomas Kelly, “Advancing Partners in Mission for the Future of Jesuit Higher Education,” Conversations Magazine., Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, 2015
  • “Inquiry for Action: The Latin American Church and the Social Sciences Post Vatican II,” ” in Proceedings of the Kripke Center Symposium on “Religion and Science: Challenges and Opportunities.", Journal of Religion & Society, Supplement 11, January 2015, 2015
  • Local History of a Charismatic Catholic Base Community During the Pinochet Dictatorship: the “Dios con Nosotros” Community, 1973-1983., Journal of Religion & Society, 2014
  • “Formed in Latin America: Understanding the Ecclesiology of Pope Francis. http://www.americamagazine.org/formed-latin-america, America, 2014
  • “‘If We Don’t Do It, No One Will.’ Some Sociological Considerations on the Ukrainian Greco Catholic Church in Canada.”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2014
  • “Vodouphobia and Vodouphobic Discourse in Haitian Thought: An Analysis of Dantes Bellegarde’s Religious Sensibility.”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2014
  • “Challenging the Status Quo: How Rutilio Grande, S.J. Used Scripture to Address Socio-Economic Inequality” in Proceedings of the Kripke Center Symposium “The Bible, The Economy and the Poor., Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 10, 2014
  • “Points of Departure: Shifting Traditionalist Caymanian Understandings of Jamaica and Jamaicans.”, Journal of Critical Southern Studies, 2013
  • “Faith, Sport and Disengaged Youth”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2013
  • “Aspects in the construction of Brazil's transcontinental lusofonia.”, Journal of Critical Southern Studies, 2013
  • “Hearts as Large as the World: Charles Taylors Best Account Principle as a Resource for Comparative Theologians”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2013
  • When the Gospel Grows Feet: Rutilio Grande S.J. and the Church of El Salvador, Based on original translations by the author, When the Gospel Grows Feet follows the dynamic changes of Latin American Catholicism over the past 400 years. It begins with the Catholic Church’s role in the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the “New World” and concludes with the martyrdom of Rutilio Grande, S.J., in El Salvador. Each chapter ends with questions for students of theology which focus on the relationship between church and state, theology and politics, and the gospel and the poor. Designed for undergraduate and graduate courses on the church in Latin America, spirituality and social ethics, and theologies of ministry, this book offers original insights from a previously unknown but very influential Salvadoran Jesuit, Fr. Rutilio Grande, the first priest assassinated in El Salvador., Liturgical Press, 2013
  • “Encuentro Dominicano, Creighton University’s Commitment to Education for Transformation” in Transforming and Being Transformed: Justice in Jesuit Higher Education., Fordham University Press, 2013
  • “Discovering Bolivia”, Creighton Magazine, 2013
  • “The Effect of Catholic University Characteristics on Student Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis”, Journal of Catholic Higher Education, 2012
  • “Rethinking Religious Conversion: Missionary Endeavour and Indigenous Response Among the Zo (Chin) of India-Burma Borderland”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2012
  • “Vatican II and a New Church Mission to the World,” in Sacra Doctrina: Insights from Young Theologians, Edited by Anna Bonta Moreland and Joseph Curran, Forthcoming, C21, Boston College., Crossroads Press Publishing, 2012
  • “Investigating the Syncretism of Catholicism and Voodoo in New Orleans”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2011
  • “The Rhetoric of Prayer: Dutty Boukman, The Discourse of ‘Freedom From Below,’ and the Politics of God”, Journal of Religion & Society, 2011
  • Cisneros, Sandre, Kelly, Tom, Massie, RobertK, Kluger, Richard Letters, New York Times Book Review, 156, 6-6, 2007

Publications

  • “Faith That Does Justice,” http://vimeo.com/105948398 Author of the script that narrates an understanding of the UCA Martyrs for first year students at Creighton University who had no prior knowledge of the event. This was done in service to the Ratio studiorum program., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2014
  • “Faith That Does Justice,” (http://vimeo.com/105948398) Authored the script that narrates an understanding of the UCA Martyrs for first-year students at Creighton University who had no prior knowledge of the event. This was done in service to the Ratio studiorum program. , None, 2014
  • “Many Evils Confront Voters” Midlands Voices., Omaha World-Herald, 2012

Editing and Reviews

  • “Religion and Science: Challenges and Opportunities,” Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Thomas M. Kelly. (http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/toc/SS11.html) From February 20-21, 2014 a diverse group of scholars representing many disciplines were invited to Creighton University to discuss, delineate and debate the challenges and possibilities relating the fields of “religion” broadly considered and “science” broadly considered. The dialogue partners included fourteen scholars from physics, theology, religious studies, biblical studies, history, philosophy, history of science, and environmental ethics. Four general conversations emerged from this gathering which included: 1) the relationship between religion and the sciences broadly conceived; 2) religion and social sciences; and 3) religion and the natural sciences; and 4) religion and environmental science., Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 11, 2015
  • Kurt Armstrong, Why Love Will Always Be a Poor Investment: Marriage and Consumer Culture, (Eugene, Oregon, 2011) Journal for the Study of Marriage & Spirituality, INTAMS, 117, 2014
  • “The Bible, the Economy and the Poor,” Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Thomas M. Kelly. (http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/toc/SS10.html) The papers had their origin in the annual symposium sponsored by the Kripke Center at Creighton University, February 14-15, 2013. Nineteen scholars from Creighton University and around the nation gathered to discuss the role of poverty in the Bible and its implications for current social and economic concerns. The papers are divided into two parts. In the first part, biblical scholars address what the Bible says about the poor, or how reading it from the context of the poor shapes the meaning of the biblical text. In the second part, scholars of varying disciplines respond to the biblical message on poverty from within their own academic contexts: ethics, theology, history, business, and finance. Together, the papers present a compelling interpretation of the significance of poverty in the Bible and its continuing relevance for today., Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 10, 2014

Presentations

  • Presenter, “A New Church for a New World: The Influence of the Ministry of Rutilio Grande, S.J. on Saint Oscar Romero.” Followed by a forum with graduate students on Rutilio Grande, S.J.: Homilies and Writings, sponsored by the Centre for Liberation Theologies, Katholieke Universitat Leuven, Belgium, April 20-22, 2016., 2016
  • Presenter, “Ecclesiology and Communal Agency: The Case of Peru,” Regional American Academy of Religion, Denver, CO, April 1, 2016., 2016
  • Keynote Presenter, “Recursos Teológicos de Justicia Social—Concilio Vaticano II, Medellín y Papa Francisco” presented to the 2016 Deacon Congress of the Archdiocese of Dallas, TX (Spanish speaking only), March 5, 2016., 2016
  • Presenter, “A House Divided: Catholic Libertarian Economics and Catholic Social Thought,” at the Kripke Center Symposium on “Religion and Politics,” Feb. 18, 2016., 2016
  • Panelist, screening of Blood of the Martyrs by Loyola Productions, November 19, 2015., 2015
  • Presenter, “A New Church and a New Society: Human Development and Democratization in the Ministry of Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador.” University of Notre Dame, September 17, 2015 sponsored by the Department of Theology and the Latin American North American Church Concerns Center (LANACC) of the Kellogg Institute of International Studies., 2015
  • Presenter: “From Gaudium et spes to Medellín: Justice, Historical Dynamism and a Preferential Option for the Poor,” at Joy & Hope: 50th Anniversary of Gaudium et Spes, University of Notre Dame, March 22-24, 2015., 2015
  • Moderator: “Spirituality in Healthcare,” a Session of the Global Health Conference Midwest, January 31, 2015., 2015
  • Presenter, “When Liturgy Empowers: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” at the Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology IX Conference, Mediating Mysteries, Understanding Liturgies, KU Leuven, Belgium., 2014
  • “Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs: A Faith that Does Justice,” Spring Hill College, Mobile Alabama., 2014
  • Presenter: “Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs: A Faith that Does Justice,” Spring Hill College, Mobile Alabama., 2014
  • Presenter: “A Faith That Does Justice: Rutilio Grande, S.J., and the Church of El Salvador, lessons for us today.” The Inaugural Ignatian Peacemaking Lecture hosted by the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, Marquette University., 2014
  • “A Faith That Does Justice: Rutilio Grande, S.J., and the Church of El Salvador, lessons for us today.” The Inaugural Ignatian Peacemaking lecture hosted by the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, Marquette University, October 31-Nov. 3, 2014., 2014
  • Vocation of a Business Leader, for the Cortina Living and Learning Community at Creighton., 2014
  • Rutilio Grande, S.J., An Evangelizing Exemplar for Archbishop Oscar Romero, Proceedings of the International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero, University of Notre Dame, September 25 - 28, 2014., 2014
  • Presenter: “Rutilio Grande, S.J., An Evangelizing Exemplar for Archbishop Oscar Romero,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero, University of Notre Dame., 2014
  • New Faculty Orientation for the Vice-Provost for Mission and Ministry at Creighton. A Faith That Does Justice., 2014
  • “A Catholic Worldview for Contemporary Jesuit Higher Education,” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, Chicago, IL., 2014
  • Presenter, “A Catholic Worldview for Contemporary Jesuit Higher Education,” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, Chicago, IL., 2014
  • RSP Video on the 25th Anniversary of the UCA Martyrs., 2014
  • Social, Cultural and Political History of the Dominican Republic, for the ILAC summer program., 2014
  • “When the Gospel Grows Feet: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” The Inaugural Segundo Montes, S.J. Lecture at John Carroll University, sponsored by the Peace, Justice & Human Rights program the Latin American and Latino Studies Concentration, and the Sociology Department, March 26-28, 2014., 2014
  • Presenter: “When the Gospel Grows Feet: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” The Inaugural Segundo Montes, S.J. Lecture at John Carroll University, sponsored by the Peace, Justice & Human Rights program the Latin American and Latino Studies Concentration, and the Sociology Department., 2014
  • A Faith That Does Justice, for the Seminar on Jesuit Mission in Higher Education, Creighton University., 2014
  • Presenter: “Inquiry for Action: The Latin American Church and the Social Sciences Post Vatican II,” Presented at the Kripke Symposium on Religion and the Sciences, Creighton University., 2014
  • “Inquiry for Action: The Latin American Church and the Social Sciences Post Vatican II,” Presented at the Kripke Symposium on Religion and the Sciences, Creighton University, Feb. 20-21, 2014., 2014
  • “When Liturgy Empowers: Rutilio Grande, S.J. and the Church of El Salvador,” at the Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology IX Conference, Mediating Mysteries, Understanding Liturgies., 2013
  • “Being Transformed for Solidarity: Immersion Integration, Appropriation and Implementation,” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, Chicago, IL., 2013
  • Presenter, “Being Transformed for Solidarity: Immersion Integration, Appropriation and Implementation,” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, Chicago, IL., 2013
  • Presenter, “When the Gospel Grows Feet: The Community-Based Ministry of Rutilio Grande, S.J.” at On Fire at the Frontiers: The Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education, Creighton University., 2013
  • “When the Gospel Grows Feet: The Community-Based Ministry of Rutilio Grande, S.J.” at On Fire at the Frontiers: The Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education, Creighton University, August 1-4, 2013., 2013
  • “Pilgrimage, Immersion and Solidarity” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, Woodstock, IL., 2013
  • “Teaching Theology and Passing on the Faith: The Community-Based Ministry of Rutilio Grande, S.J.” 2013 College Theology Society, May 30-June 2, Creighton University, Omaha, NE., 2013
  • Social, Cultural and Political History of the Dominican Republic, for the ILAC summer program., 2013
  • Gaudium et spes, St. Matthews Catholic Church, Bellevue, NE., 2013
  • “Cannonball Moments” in Spiritual Growth, for Creighton University Campus Ministry., 2013
  • “Challenging the Status Quo: How Rutilio Grande, S.J. Used Scripture to Address Socio-Economic Inequality” at the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion and Society Symposium titled The Bible, the Economy, and the Poor, February 14-15, 2013., 2013
  • Respondent, “Models of the Church,” by Michael G. Lawler, Ph.D., Creighton University., 2013
  • Downward Mobility: Or the Nature of Christian Love in a Healthcare setting, for the Omaha Area Chaplaincy Program, Bergen Mercy Hospital., 2012
  • Social and Political History of the Dominican Republic, for the ILAC summer program., 2012
  • Solidarity Lecture Series: “When the Gospel Grows Feet: Rutilio Grande and the Church of El Salvador.”, 2012
  • Workshop on Spirituality for Social Concerns given to the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in the Archdiocese of New Orleans September 30-October 2, 2011. Talks included: “Vatican II: A New Mission for the Church to the World,” and “A Spirituality of Engagement: One Response to Vatican II by the Bishops of Latin America.”, 2011
  • Strangers No Longer: Immigration in Catholic Social Thought for St. Pius X Parish Community., 2011
  • Presentation on Strangers No More: A Catholic Response to the Immigration Problem, St. Pius X Parish., 2011
  • Presentation on Populorum progression and Evangelicum nuntiandi, for the Series on Catholic Social Thought., 2011
  • Global Poverty and Catholic Social Thought, Skutt Catholic High School., 2011
  • Global Poverty and Catholic Social Thought, Skutt Catholic High School., 2011
  • Presenter, “Deepening the Ignatian Imagination: Displacement, Immersion and Solidarity,” for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, July 23, 2015, Chicago, IL.

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Concrete Ecclesiology, Community-Based Learning, Ignatian Formation, Liberation Theology, Church in Latin America, CST and Business/Economics

Current Research Projects

  • Ecclesiology in Latin America Community-Based Learning and Ignatian Formation