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).
I’m very excited to share with you that Catholic Activism Today earned Honorable Mention in the Catholic Media Association’s 2021 awards! I received this honor for the Catholic Social Teaching category along with the following winners: The Meal That Reconnects by Mary E. McGann (first), Peacebuilding and Catholic Social Teaching by Theodora Hawksley (second), and Blood in the Fields: Óscar Romero, Catholic Social Teaching, and Land Reform by Matthew Philipp Whelan (third). You can take a look at the complete list of this year’s winners here.
My thanks go out to Dr. Peter Baltutis, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Canada, for his generous review of my latest book. Dr. Baltutis and I have several overlapping interests that are explored in the book–including Modern Catholicism, Catholic social teaching and service learning–so it was truly affirming to read his positive assessment of Catholic Activism Today in Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses. Here are some excerpts of the review:
More than a narrow study of one faith-based organization, Day effectively uses JFM to draw some important conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of this new discipleship style and the implications that it has for the contemporary Catholic Church… Day’s thought-provoking study of the emergent discipleship style of American public Catholicism is most helpful to scholars seeking to understand contemporary Catholic life and the newest wave of Catholic civic engagement.
Congratulations to Dr. Jean-Luc Marion on the release of the English edition of his book, A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment (University of Chicago Press). Dr. Rich Wood and I offer our praise on the back of the book:
“This book deserves the fullest attention of all who care about the future of democracy. Writing for people of secular conviction as much as for people of faith, Marion offers a powerful thesis: If we are to overcome our current societal struggles and political impasses and find any kind of shared future, Christianity represents an irreplaceable public voice. In particular, Catholicism offers cultural resources the world needs in order to face this moment. But to offer that gift successfully, Catholics must be more truly Catholic.”– Richard L. Wood, author of Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing in America
“A rich and comprehensive philosophical analysis of Catholicism in contemporary France. And yet, the questions Marion raises have significance for Catholics globally, as they also assess the relationship of their faith to the public sphere. Through its insights on separation, crisis, communion and more, A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment is guaranteed to shape the philosophical imagination of its readers.”– Maureen K. Day, author of Catholic Activism Today: Personal Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice
Day’s in-depth portrait of JustFaith Ministries serves as an illuminating case for anyone interested in civic engagement, religious or not, especially in the tensions between justice and charity. For sociologists and theologians alike, Day also offers thought-provoking discussion about the role of the Catholic Church in the American public square.
The Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition has published my post, “Contemplating the Trinity: A Lenten Exercise” on their blog. It is a reflection on the prayer that concludes St. Francis’s “A Letter to the Entire Order,” which offers much to contemplate in this season of Lent. Enjoy!
My blogpost for Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs came out today. My post, “Catholics and American Public Life: Problems and Possibilities,” discusses two Catholic experiences in American public life, and the challenges and opportunities Church leaders face as they attempt to articulate a more robust public Catholicism. My post was part of a larger collection that explores the election of Joe Biden and Catholicism in U.S. Politics. I’d definitely encourage those interested in learning more about American Catholic public life to read the whole series as they are very well-written pieces.
The newest issue of The Way of St. Francis has just come out and in it you can read my reflection on experiencing Lent during a pandemic. I draw upon the scholarship of medieval historian Bert Roest and his analysis of the eremitical tradition and the life of the Order. I use this to consider the ways the our own homes can act as a hermitage in this season of Lent (and our lives more broadly). You can read my piece, “Entering Lent From a Hermitage,” here.
I am so honored to have started my three-year term on the board of the Eugene M. Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society. According to the website, the Lectureship “sponsors public lectures in which scholars, theologians, and religious practitioners address critical issues on the relationship between religion and society and on the religious dimensions of being human.” I’m really excited to help make these important conversations happen!
To share its origin story, as a Paulist priest, Eugene Burke initially came to the University of California, San Diego in his retirement to help with Catholic ministry. Along with leaders in the Lutheran and Episcopal communities, Burke outlined the scope of the lectureship in 1984, just before his passing. Hundreds of donations created the endowment needed to begin the Lectureship in 1985. Now, over thirty years later, they continue to provide some of the most important talks at the intersection of religion and human life.
Co-authored with Barbara McCrabb of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, our new article on successfully integrating professional campus ministers with missionaries is out. The article, Integrating Ministerial Visions: Lessons from Campus Ministry, is available through Religions. It is based on an analysis of a national survey and qualitative study of Catholic campus ministers as well as the work of a task force specially commissioned to offer guidelines and a process for campuses seeking to integrate professional ministers with a missionary team. The article is also forthcoming in a special issue containing some of the most recent and timely studies of Catholic youth and young adult ministry, so be sure to grab the whole issue if that is your area of research or ministry. Here is the abstract for the article:
In recent years, colleges and universities have seen an increase in a relatively new model of Catholic campus ministry: missionary organizations. As these missionaries grow in number, there is also an increase in the number of campuses that simultaneously use missionaries and long-term, professional ministers with graduate degrees. Drawing upon two national studies of Catholic campus ministers and the work of a national task force, this article will illuminate the obstacles these blended teams face in crafting a more holistic engagement with the Catholic tradition. It will also outline the steps to promote a more integrated ministerial vision and to become more pastorally effective. Implications for ministry more broadly are discussed.
My thanks go out to Dr. Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist at Queen’s University Belfast, for her positive review of Catholic Activism Today in Catholic Books Review. I know scholars are much busier in this pandemic time, so I’m all the more appreciative of us carving out time to alert academics and the public of the new books hitting the market. I’ll share the final paragraph of the review here:
Day’s analysis of Catholic activism is valuable in and of itself. But she also points us beyond her case study, asking to what extent the characteristics she has identified in discipleship style Catholicism reflect wider trends in the American religious landscape. Readers familiar with scholarship in the sociology of religion will recognize the traits of discipleship Catholics in other contemporary groups, from liberal Protestants to the Emerging Church Movement and beyond. As such, Day reminds us that discipleship Catholics are by no means unique actors within American religion. But they shed light on how religious actors can have unique impacts on their own local contexts.