Book Review on Young Adult American Catholics

1American Catholic Studies just published a favorable review of Young Adult American Catholics thoughtfully written by Dr. Patricia Wittberg, a Research Associate at CARA and a Sister of Charity. Her praise and critique were greatly appreciated. Here is a pull quote:

I would strongly recommend this book to be read, studied, and discussed in every parish and every college campus ministry program in the country.

Thank you, Patricia, for this enthusiastic endorsement!

Wabash Center

I just got back from Crawfordsville, Indiana for the first of my three sessions with the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. The Center really knows how to create a space that is generative for reflection on our pedagogies; I already have lots of ideas for when I get back into the classroom this Spring! I’m looking forward to reuniting with the leaders and my cohort at our January session in Corpus Christi, Texas.

A big thanks to all the staff for all their organizing and hospitality!

One year anniversary

1It has been one year since my edited collection on young adult Catholics has come out. The reports for the first six months (the second six months are not yet out) show that it has sold well at nearly 200 copies. Since then, there is also an e-book version (at about half of the price if you buy it from the Paulist website).

It was reviewed in the National Catholic Reporter and featured on The CARA Report, a quarterly newsletter published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. I’ve spoken about the findings at several venues, including an upcoming invitation to use the book in a keynote address at a young adult Catholics conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

It is really great to see hard work become helpful to so many.

Conference with Villanova University

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En route home from a really enriching time at Villanova University’s Center for Church Management. We gathered to hear the findings from our (the ten fellows’) year-long investigations on clergy financial literacy. We were graced by the expertise of eight senior scholars (an arguable “who’s who” of the field) to help us hone our final drafts for publication. All this was beautifully orchestrated by the most hospitable and generous staff of the Center. Not only did they provide us with an opportunity for academic engagement, but for human joy and creativity, as the picture of us enjoying a Phillies’ skybox attests to! What a fantastic inaugural launch and well-done fellowship. Highly recommend to early- and mid-career scholars interested in church management.

Huge thanks to Chuck Zech, Matthew Manion, Jim Gallo and Megan Lowes for all their hard work!

Summer Plans

With great gratitude for the semester (congratulations to all our graduates!) and grades in, I’m now looking ahead to my summer research agenda.

Currently, the research team for the American Abortion Attitudes project–based at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society–is knee-deep in interviews. The team includes the principal investigator in Tennessee, myself here in north San Diego county, and three other researchers in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Indiana. They’re a great team and I’m really excited to be a part of this project.

In less than two weeks I’ll be taking off to Villanova University’s Center for Church Management to join the eleven other fellows and twelve senior scholars for our final meeting. I’ll be presenting on Latino Catholic financial stewardship. I’m really excited to hear the findings from everyone’s projects. I’ll also start teaching my five-week online summer course–Theology of Marriage–at Santa Clara University, which always combines an interesting topic with dedicated students.

In July I’ll be heading to Wabash for the first of three sessions of professional development for early-career theology faculty. It will be fun to be on the learners’ side of the desk for a bit and find ways to improve and better integrate my teaching, research and service. I’ll also be working on my paper comparing the ways Chinese and American Catholics each navigate their respective social contexts as a conclusion to my China immersion experience in January.

In August I’ll head out to Washington, DC to spend the first of three weeks with the social scientists at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. My background is qualitative research so I’m really excited to join these experts in quantitative studies of Catholics and learn from them. From there, I’ll take the train to NYC where I’ll be leading a session on Catholicism and Status as well as another on studying the ways groups and organizations foster emotions and character traits.

Lots of great projects to be thankful for!

Good Friday Reflection

I was invited by my alma mater, the Jesuit School of Theology, to provide a reflection on today’s readings for their daily Lenten email series, A Heart Renewed, which reaches over 4,000 subscribers. I’ll provide the readings and text here:

— 19 April 2019 —

Good Friday

IS 52:13-53:12; PS 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25; HEB 4:14-16, 5:7-9; JN 18:1-19:42

I’ll apply an important lesson from my preaching class to this reflection: Your sermon should always provide good news to your listeners.

However, today’s Gospel reading is dark: betrayal, denial, interrogation, intrigue, blame, torture, hubris and the execution of Jesus… good news is not obvious. But, we can see the dimmest of stars on the darkest of nights. After reading the texts several times, I finally saw it, and it appears only in John’s account, “The slave’s name was Malchus.”

When we first hear about the band who came to seize Jesus, we’re told of soldiers and guards. Peter, passionate and impulsive, reminds us that anger often follows the path of least resistance. He draws a sword and attacks, but not a soldier, not someone of power. Peter attacks Malchus, a slave. Likely, Malchus was not there of his own accord and had no personal interest in the situation. He had done nothing. He was innocent. And still, Malchus becomes the target of Peter’s anger.

With all the events that needed to be written down for Good Friday, this Gospel writer could have easily omitted Malchus’ name. True, his name doesn’t add to the plot… but, it does add to the story. The author of this Gospel may have recorded the name of this vulnerable, powerless slave to remind us that Jesus cared about those who were vulnerable and powerless. Malchus will never be “forgotten like the unremembered dead.” Malchus is forever a part of the story. He was marginalized and brutalized, but then lifted up and remembered. Including his name reminds us that there are possibilities for hope where there is despair, for solidarity amid fracture, and for tenderness, compassion and recognition in times of great violence.

“The slave’s name was Malchus.”

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Good and merciful God, help me to see when I am being like Peter, finding scapegoats for my anger and frustration. Give me the courage to oppose real sources of personal and social ill, and to discern the good, rather than the easy. Open my eyes and heart to those who, like Malchus, are oppressed. Lead me to bring justice and hope to our world. Amen.

—–

Maureen K. Day, M.A. ’05, GTU/JST Ph.D. ’15
Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology

A Good Friday, blessed Triduum and joyful Easter to everyone!

Wabash Workshop

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I am very excited to be joining thirteen new professors for the 2019-20 Workshop for Early Career Theological School Faculty. This series of three workshops over the course of the academic year, generously funded by the Lilly Endowment, comes highly recommended by my dean, as he benefitted from this program, too. A bit more on the program from their website:

Do you wonder about teaching and the teaching life in theological education? In what ways would a yearlong conversation about teaching and learning ground your vocational identity? This workshop is a collaborative peer opportunity to develop pedagogical skills, reflect on teaching identity, learn in community, and navigate institutional dynamics.

The workshop will gather 14 faculty members for a week in two successive summers at Wabash College, and a weekend winter retreat in Corpus Christi, Texas. There will be a balance of plenary sessions, small group discussions, workshop sessions, structured and unstructured social time, and time for relaxation, exercise, meditation, discovery, laughter, and lots of good food and drink.

Sounds like it’s right up my alley. Thank you, Wabash!