I’m more than a little excited to be partnering with the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture! This center does some amazing work examining the intersection of religion, civic engagement, social change, personal and institutional thriving and more. I’ll be working with them on a variety of projects that connect to Catholicism, from Catholic sisters to formation to climate change. It’s an exciting collaboration that will include a trip to London and Oxford at the end of the month to meet with similar organizations and scholars and explore international collaborative opportunities. This will be my first trip to the UK and I’m thrilled to help make this important work happen.
Category Archives: Professional Organizations
New International Commission
This month a new commission I am a part of–The Commission for Affective Maturity, Order of Friars Minor–had our first meeting. It is a very international and interdisciplinary group, with five people across four continents. Needless to say, it was impossible to find a convenient time for everyone to meet (it was 6am my time!). But, time zone challenges aside, we are excited to be taking on some very important work.
The Order of Friars Minor has commissioned us to write a document on affective maturity. It will be roughly a two year process, and will result in a valuable and practical document. The final document (as we envision it at this stage) will assess socio-emotional maturity as well as provide guidance to help people further mature. I am very pleased to join the following practitioners and scholars in this endeavor:
- Br. Darko Tepert, a Franciscan and Scripture scholar from Rome (chair)
- Ms. Ann Yeong, an expert in spiritual formation from Singapore
- Br. Daniel Alejandro Fleitas Zeni, a Franciscan and psychologist from Argentina
- Br. Alessandro Ciamei, a Franciscan and therapist from Rome
It is still early in our project, but in our multilingual and multicultural context, we are generating some good ideas… even at 6am!
Newly-Elected Secretary for ASR
Here I am, booking my flight and room for the upcoming SSSR/RRA conference and I realized that I never posted that I was elected secretary for the Association for the Sociology of Religion! I first became acquainted with ASR in 2014 when it came to San Francisco while I was in grad school and I was one of the student workers at the registration desk. Soon I became involved in the membership committee, too (perfect job for my extroverted tendencies). Come 2022, I got to enjoy my first meeting (this past August) as part of the executive council. Looking forward to continued service!
And you can quote me on that!
Happy to announce that I’ll be more easily accessible to journalists across the country. The Women’s Media Center has an excellent resource, cleverly named SheSource, that helps connect journalists with female experts in a variety of fields. You can view my SheSource page here.
Role with Burke Lectureship
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.
Appearance on Campus Min Podcast
It was great fun opening the latest season of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association’s podcast with Dr. Mike St. Pierre. Aside from learning about my childhood fascination with human behavior <wink>, you’ll get a great summary of some of the major items covered in my recent qualitative study of Catholic campus ministers (so if you can’t squeeze in the read, download and enjoy it on your commute!).
CARA, USCCB and SSSR/RRA
Acronyms abound this week as I write this from Washington, DC! I am spending a few days at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate working on a variety of projects here. I also had a meeting with Barbara McCrabb of the USCCB to talk about the final draft of the national qualitative study of Catholic campus ministry (look for that soon!).
On Thursday I’ll be flying to St. Louis for the joint meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association. There I will present the findings from two projects: 1) Latino Catholic stewardship (funded by Villanova University’s Center for Church Management) and 2) Catholic campus ministers (funded by the USCCB and the RRA).
It is so great to be able to conduct research that will be useful for so many scholars as well as practitioners. Thank you to all those funding sources that make this financially possible!
Conference with Villanova University
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!
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!
Conferences and Interviews
Here comes a 2-for-1 post.
1) I had a great time at my alma mater at the Jesuit School of Theology last Thursday. I had a very good meeting with the new GTU president, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, to hear the projects the GTU is moving forward with. I also got to meet with a first-year doctoral student; look for Porsia’s work on sociology of Catholicism soon! Later that evening I had a beautiful experience at the liturgy remembering the lives of the four American churchwomen. Then I presented, to new and old friends, on studying and ministering to young adult Catholics. The following day I took the train to the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference and got to give two presentations on my book. Thanks for sponsoring me for this, Paulist Press!
2) If you are a fan of podcasts, NCR just finished a great series on Jewish perspectives of Catholicism. I was included as a sort of capstone of this, weighing in on what an outsider’s perspective can offer, as well as some concluding thoughts on polarization among U.S. Catholics. My interview begins at 25:20.