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
  • Ignatian Spirituality, Ignatian Leadership

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Theology

Position

  • Professor

Secondary Appointment

  • Administration

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.

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

  • “Ignatian Leadership and Immersions: Formation in the ‘School of the Poor’” in Forming Students as Leaders in the Ignatian Tradition: Integrating Ignatian Pedagogy in and beyond the classroom Theory and Practice, Ed. by Bridget Keegan, Ph.D., (Loyola Press, TBD).

    There are times and places where learning can be heightened.  The proliferation of “high-impact” pedagogies attest to this.  International immersions, done with intentionality, reflection and follow-up, can be times and places where “theories” and “concepts” move from the abstract to the real.  Immersions to poor and marginalized communities are also where Ignatian leadership can be understood more profoundly, largely because of the values and commitments of Ignatius of Loyola and the spirituality that emerged from his life. , Loyola Press, Book, 2021

  • Ignatian Leadership and the Contemporary Leadership Landscape
    An Exercise in Counter-Cultural Engagement
     
    Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D.[1] and Jennifer Moss-Breen, Ph.D.[2]
     
    A Chapter in:
    Forming Students as Leaders in the Ignatian Tradition: Integrating Ignatian Pedagogy in and beyond the classroom Theory and Practice, Ed. by Bridget Keegan, Ph.D., (Press, TBD)
     
    This paper is written as a dialogue between two faculty members and scholars working within a Jesuit institution.  Through their shared interest in leadership, especially an interest in Ignatian leadership, the following dialogue has emerged.  Dr. Tom Kelly works in our institution as a theologian and director of academic service-learning, and Dr. Moss Breen works in the graduate school leading an interdisciplinary leadership EdD program.  Their backgrounds and fields are different, but their interest in the leadership of St. Ignatius is a common thread between them.  Dr. Kelly starts the conversation and Dr. Moss Breen responds in kind. 

    [1] Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D. is Professor of Theology and Director of Academic Service-Learning at Creighton University.  He also serves as Immersion Coordinator for the Ignatian Colleagues Program.
    [2] Jennifer Moss-Breen, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Program Director of Interdisciplinary Leadership (Doctorate in Education) at Creighton University.
     , Loyola Press, Book Chapter, 2021
  • “Ignatius, Poverty and a Commitment to the Poor: The Society of Jesus through its History:”

    The vow of poverty is essential to many religious orders—as is their relationship to the actual people who are marginalized and poor in their context.  This article traces the origin of Ignatius of Loyola’s embrace of poverty and its transferal to the Society of Jesus he founded.  It follows the challenge of maintaining that commitment considering the principle ministry of the Society in education.  Finally, it notes developments in the past 60 years for how “faith and justice” are framed and understood.  Ignatius’ preference for Jesuits to live in proximity to the poor is certainly challenged in the U.S. context of higher education.
     , Journal of Peace and Justice Studies, Fall 2019, 2019

  •             Educating “people for and with others” is the paramount mission of Jesuit higher education, informing all that we do in our schools.  It follows from this ideal that those who are committed to educating students at Jesuit colleges and universities should be credible models of the mission.  This commitment can take many forms across the disciplines; candidate dossiers and interviews present excellent opportunities for discerning whether a faculty candidate is a scholar and teacher “for and with others.”   The impetus for a Jesuit commitment to social justice is faith, and when Jesuits refer to “faith” in their documents, it designates “Jesus and his message of God’s Kingdom in a spirit of love to everyone.” (Kolvenbach, 2000) However, understanding such a faith in college and university communities requires delicacy and nuance.  It would be a mistake, for example, to think that only Catholics or Christians can embody this “faith.”  Rather, it is consistent with both Christian scripture and the Jesuit tradition to understand “faith” as an existential stance toward others and the world—a posture resulting in actions that effectively will the good of others.
     , Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, Conversations Fall 2019, 2019

  • Co-author, “Service-Learning Research for Development: Making an Option for the Poor in Practice through Social Analysis and Community Engagement,” Ed., by Rene Padilla, in a Special Issue on International Education of Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal (JHE) (August 2019).


    A group of faculty, staff and students from Creighton University conducted a research project using a strengths-based approach to create a community health needs assessment (CNHA) in the fall of 2017.  The instruments, including a survey to determine health status, a focus group questionnaire, an environmental scan and an individual interview instrument, were developed to help shift the paradigm from which many international medical missions are conducted with Creighton’s community partner in the Dominican Republic, the Centro de Educación para la Salud Integral (CESI). In the process of creating, developing, implementing, assessing and reformulating this strength-based CHNA, researchers encountered both unexpected challenges and opportunities.  Results showed that diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were prevalent to a degree which suggests the charity model for a medical mission may be ineffective at preventing disease and may inhibit community agency.   The goal was to encourage both individual and community agency through knowledge gleaned from the assessments.  With better knowledge of the community, its strengths and deficiencies, both CESI and Creighton are better positioned to make an option for the poor in practice that will help reduce the prevalence of chronic disease and improve long term quality of life. This bi-national, bi-lingual and interdisciplinary research project was both an educational and cautionary tale.
     , Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal, Fall 2019, 2019

  • “Ignatian Colleagues Program Immersions: Formation in the ‘School of the Poor’” International Education of Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal (JHE) (Fall, 2019)
     

    Each year the Ignatian Colleagues Program, the premier leadership development program of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), takes its participants on three or four different immersions throughout the world.  The purpose of these immersions, framed through Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, is to more deeply understand a “faith that does justice” and the meaning of Ignatian leadership.  The inspiration for this approach comes directly from the life of St. Ignatius and the central role his own encounter with the poor played in his conversion and development as a person.  This article summarizes the background, preparation, immersion, reflection and return to the U.S. of ICP participants.  It hopes to draw a clear connection between the “school of the poor” and Ignatian leadership as servant-leadership based on faith, hope and love.
     , Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal, Fall 2019, 2019
  • Analyzing the current reality of contemporary international mission trips reveals deep problems with the way participants are formed, oriented, educated, and engaged as they navigate cultural, social, political, and economic differences. A growing body of literature argues that many overseas mission, service, and education trips do more harm than good. By way of response, best practices in community-based service-learning as well as resources from the Society of Jesus can be utilized to respond to the dominance of the current model. Current international trips for purposes as varied as mission or service usually include little or no preparation, minimal expectations for language engagement, little or no knowledge of the host community, a lack of reflection on site, and no follow-up upon return to process and integrate what was witnessed. A better approach would include orienting participants to engage host communities with respect; emphasizing trust through relationships; encouraging accompaniment rather than doing for; ensuring research, reflection, accountability, and sustainability; and educating participants about structures that cause poverty. It is possible to salvage the contemporary focus on short-term trips, but such salvaging requires better planning, deeper investment in formation, authentic engagement with the host community, and honest, reflective integration upon return.+, Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, Supplement 16, 229-246, 2018
  • Analyzing the roots of Catholic libertarian positions on the economy allows one to compare the foundational anthropological assumptions behind different economic perspectives today. Catholics have radically different ways of engaging economics in the public sphere. On the one hand, a Catholic politician like Paul Ryan claims that Ayn Rand was an important influence upon him as he publicly discussed dividing America between "makers" and "takers." Ryan and the thinkers who influence him believe that the common good emerges from vigilant pursuit of one's individual good. On the other side of the understanding of the human person we have a long tradition of Catholic Social doctrine that argues the individual good emerges from the common good, and not vice versa. The social nature of human beings should be formed and managed with the genuine and common good of the human race foremost in mind. A deep concern for the well-being of all is necessary for the goodness and development of the individual. This essay delineates both theological anthropologies, compares them in terms of foundational understandings of freedom, justice, and individualism, and finds them fundamentally irreconcilable.+, Journal of Religion and Society, Supplement 14, 58-79, 2017
  • “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
  • "A Priest With His People" profiles the life, ministry and death of Fr. Rutilio Grande, S.J., America, June 6-13, 2016, 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

  • “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 and Society, Supplement 12, (January 2016).
     
     , Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, Supplement 12, 176-188, 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

Grant Funding Received

  • October 2016: Faculty, staff and administrators from multiple colleges/schools applied to participate in an immersion program in the Dominican Republic/Haiti. Participants were chosen. January-February 2017: Four group meetings consisted of reading and discussing 16 articles focused on best practices in academic service-learning. Topics included community partnerships, student development, reflective practices and syllabus development. 2017: Two different groups immersed in the Dominican Republic, one in March the other in October. Lectures on public health, fair trade, sustainable agriculture and international migration border issues were complemented with visits and immersive practices to bring the material studied alive. Reflective practices were modelled. January 2018: Each participant authored a plan (staff/administrator) or course syllabus (faculty) to support or implement Academic Service-Learning in their area or class.
  • “Ecclesiology and Social Resistance in Peru.” (2012) This is an inter-disciplinary (sociology and theology) investigation, using personal interviews with survivors of Catholic communities and their resistance to the Shining Path during the Peruvian civil war (1980-2000).
  • Service-learning Research for Development in the Dominican Republic This project created and implemented four community assessment mechanisms with an interdisciplinary, bi-national, bi-lingual team in two rural communities served by the CESI Center in the Dominican Republic. The purpose of this project was to provide detailed community health information for ILAC and visiting medical teams who serve the integral human development of rural Dominican community and Haitian bateys. September 2017: An interdisciplinary group of students applied, were interviewed and then chosen to participate in this project. The makeup of the group was two medical students, two nursing students and four students from Social and Cultural Studies. The Medical Director of the ILAC Summer Program as well as the ILAC Director (Omaha) served as coordinators of this group. November 2017-May 2018: Meeting weekly, the team researched and created four different community assessment mechanisms in consultation with experts in sociology, anthropology and public health. These mechanisms included English and Spanish versions of: 1) an interview, 2) a questionnaire, 3) a set of focus group questions and 4) a participant observation physical survey. May 1, 2018: IRB approval received, proposal #1229460-1. May 3-5, 2018: Formed and oriented eight fourth-year medical students from the Catholic University of Santiago (PUCMM). May 7-May 21: Piloted all four community assessment mechanisms with both Creighton students and medical students from PUCMM in two rural communities in the Dominican Republic.
  • Academic Service-Learning Faculty Training This project seeks to further integrate Academic Service-Learning (AcSL) into broader curriculum themes within academic programs. This next phase of AcSL implementation requires intense training of faculty. This aim will be accomplished through a five-day training program for 10-12 faculty, occurring annually over 3 years. This training program will 1) strategically recruit faculty who require more formation and orientation to AcS pedagogy; 2) educate such faculty on service-learning theory and practice; 3) introduce such faculty to North and South Omaha community agencies with concrete possibilities for partnership illustrated and examined; 4) result in syllabi due prior to the beginning of the Fall 2019, 2020 and 2021 semesters.
  • • George F. Haddix President’s Faculty Research Grant (2019) $15,000 Service-Learning Research for Development in the Dominican Republic This proposal sought funding to complete the interdisciplinary project (theology, medicine, public health) funded by a CGI Grant (see below) which piloted a community health needs assessment instrument in the Dominican Republic with an interdisciplinary bi-lingual and bi-national team. This grant will allow us to revise our instruments, implementing them in a new pilot and training Dominican health promoters on how to use this for their own community health needs assessment in the summer of 2019 and beyond.
  • Catholic Social Teaching Fund 2018 ($22,000 a year for 3 years) Imagination and Immersion: Forming Creighton Faculty in Catholic Social Thought. This program seeks to unite the intellectual tradition of Catholic Social Thought with an immersion for faculty formation. The hope is that abstract concepts will become evident in concrete realities. Following eight months of meetings to discuss some of the signature works of Catholic Social Thought and hear from faculty experts from diverse disciplines, Creighton faculty will travel to the DR/Haiti to “read” that reality through the lens of CST.