About maureenkday

I am the Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology. I am also a Research Fellow at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. Especially drawn to young adult ministry, I am a member of the Alliance for Campus Ministry, an advisory group to the USCCB’s Secretariat on Catholic Education. My previous appointments include Research Fellow at the Center for Church Management at Villanova University as well as the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. My writings on American Catholic life appear in both Catholic and academic publications, including Catholic Activism Today: Individual Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice (NYU Press 2020), as well as my edited collection, Young Adult American Catholics: Explaining Vocation in Their Own Words (Paulist Press 2018).

Intercultural Report Released

I’m excited to share the report on Journeying Together with you! Journeying Together is a multi-year effort to better understand the experiences of race and ethnicity among youth and young adults in the Catholic Church and society more broadly. I was on the editorial team and, wow, it’s been a really amazing gift to be a part of these efforts. This report will be the working document for the 350 youth, young adults and their ministers who will gather in Chicago this June; I’m very honored to be on the opening plenary there, too.

Here’s to one more step in creating a more just, inclusive and beautiful Church and world.

Named Laudato Si’ Fellow

Thank you to the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture (CCTC) at the University of San Diego for recognizing me and several others as Laudato Si’ Fellows. I’m looking forward to the award reception this evening as well as to meeting the other fellows who are involved in important climate change work. Thank you, CCTC, for encouraging work in this critical issue!

Essay on US Catholics and Climate Change

Journal of Moral Theology - Wikipedia

As you might know, I gave a keynote address (shared with Cardinal Blaise Cupich) this summer at a Catholic climate change conference co-sponsored by Creighton University and the Catholic Climate Covenant. That address, “Responding to the Invitation: Fostering a Bolder Response to Laudato Si’,” has just been published in the Journal of Moral Theology. This was a great conference that generated a lot of needed momentum on responding to climate change. Please share the address with those looking to understand some of the obstacles to Catholic engagement in the climate change issue as well as some ways we might foment a more robust Catholic engagement here.

Catholic Activism Today in Reading Religion (AAR)

I’m happy to share with you Dr. Jane Curry’s positive review of my latest book in Reading Religion, a book review publication for the American Academy of Religion. Curry currently teaches at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale and has much to say on the ways the findings caused her to reflect on her own teaching; she goes on to also discuss the insights the book offers to ministers and Church leaders. She ends her review by noting some of the major themes in the book:

“[T]he book inspires approaches that help people challenge structured inequalities, motivates readers to explore the implications of Christian individualism contextually, and emphasizes the power of hope, community, and compassion within this journey.”

Important themes for understanding Catholic engagement as well as human life more broadly. I hope you enjoy the read!

Review from JSSR

Lucas Sharma, graduate student at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, has offered an insightful review of Catholic Activism Today in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; thanks to Sharma for his time in this! I appreciated two of the book’s takeaways that Sharma identified: the way contemporary Catholics are bringing their faith and citizenship together in public life and the complex ways individuals, meso-level institutions (like parishes), and the Catholic hierarchy interact with one another. Sharma closes by identifying the multiple audiences that would find this book useful:

In conclusion, Day should be commended for an excellent book that contributes to a great legacy of Catholic sociology of religion. At the same time, the findings and questions raised above suggest that Catholic Activism Today could be helpful not just for sociologists, but for pastoral programs, church planning offices, seminaries, and schools of theology and ministry across the country.

Review in Choice

Dr. Timothy Walch of the Hoover Presidential Library has published a positive review of my latest book in Choice, a journal for librarians. Not only did Dr. Walsh recommend the book, but in the expanded listing he also recognized the wide number of audiences this book would appeal to, including undergraduates, graduate students, researchers and faculty, and professionals and practitioners. I had hopes that the book would have theoretical and practical implications for multiple audiences and I’m glad to know that an emeritus colleague thought so, as well! As Choice reviews are very brief, I will paste the text here, but you can read the official version in the December 2020 issue (vol. 58, no. 4) and the review number is #58-0991.

The image of American Catholicism as rigid, unchanging, and immutable dates to colonial times. In fact, as Day (Franciscan School of Theology) notes, American Catholicism evolved from a republican style (1750–1820), to an immigrant tradition (1820–1920), and then to an evangelical impulse (1920–60). Since the 1960s, American Catholicism has developed an individualistic style that emphasizes discipleship at the parish level. Volunteerism is replacing institution building as a means of Catholic engagement. It is in this context that Day focuses on the work of JustFaith Ministries, which describes itself on its website as “a vast community of faithful people, transformed by the Spirit, and leading extraordinary lives of compassion.” Since 1989, JustFaith Ministries has enlisted 50,000 people in more than 1,500 churches to share its vision. Day studied JustFaith Ministries over the course of three years, and her conclusions are based on interviews, surveys, participant-observation data, and traditional printed secondary sources. Including two useful appendixes and a substantive bibliography, this readable, professional treatment of JustFaith Ministries puts the organization in the context of a larger social movement within American Catholicism.