News and Updates: November 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spring 2011 at the Graduate School of Religion

There is still time to enroll in one of our school's master's or certificae programs for Spring 2011. Just call 718-817-4800 to speak to Asst. Dean Bill Madden about admission, or start your application at You can also view our course schedule there and find out more about our programs.

Applications for our Ph.D. an Doctor of Ministry programs are due by February 1st, 2011 for Fall 2011. Please contact us for more information.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jesuits in Conversation

The Fordham University Jesuit community has debuted a new series of interviews between Jesuits in the community and Fr. Patrick Ryan, SJ, Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham. The interviews are being released weekly on the University website and can be accessed here:

Entrepreneurial Discipleship Lecture Monday 11/29 at St. Francis Church

Please join us next Monday for an engagine lecture on a new wya of viewing our ministry in the Church. The details are below.

Entrepreneurial Discipleship

What entrepreneurial discipleship will entail is collective innovation—initiative and creativity that comes forth from the community responding to the call of Christ—
the kerygma…

Presented by:
Robert Brancatelli, Ph.D. and David Gautschi, Ph.D.
Dean Graduate School of Business
Sponsored by the Graduate School of Religion & Religious Education

Discover for yourself a “New Model” of the church!

7:30 pm Monday November 29
St. Francis of Assisi Church, 31st Street Manhattan

A Five-week course will be offered this Spring Semester 2011!

Saturdays at Rose Hill: January 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19

Saturdays at St. Francis of Assisi Church: March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9

The course will: (1) establish the need for a new model of pastoral leadership and ministry given the changing demographics of the church in the United States and the challenges of the global economic crisis, (2) identify an entrepreneurial spirit derived from business but congruent with evangelization and faith formation, and (3) offer new ways of being church that will meet the needs of people in the 21st century.

In Christifideles laici (no. 43), Pope John Paul II declared that the faithful have the responsibility “to raise up new forms of business enterprises and to look again at the systems of commerce, finance, and the exchange of technology.”

For more information visit or call: 718-817-4800

GSRRE Alumna and Principal reports on flooding in St. Croix

We ask our GSRRE community to pray for those effected by recent flooding in the Caribbean. Elizabeth John-Baptiste, GSRRE alum, is principal of St. Patrick's school in St. Croiz, USVI. Here are some images of the devastation to the school.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fordham well represented at Religious Education Association Conference

Some of the twelve Fordham attendees at the annual REA conference (left to right): Carl Procario-Foley, Kieran Scott, Chuck Chesnavage, Bud Horell, Gloria Durka, Anta Filipsone, Kevin Sandberg.

Fordham faculty, alumni, and current students recently attended the annual conference of the Religious Education Association: An Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education in Denver, Colorado, November 7-9. The conference initiated many of our students more completely into the guild, and otherwise deepened friendships among colleagues in the discipline.

No program was better represented than Fordham’s PhD in Religious Education. Our entire core faculty was in attendance (John Elias, EdD; Gloria Durka, PhD; Kieran Scott, EdD; Bud Horell, PhD) and was supplemented by five current doctoral students (Chuck Chesnavage, Carl Procario-Foley, Elena Soto, Fred Abi-Hassoun, and Kevin Sandberg, CSC) and three alumni (Anta Filipsone ’02, Judith Brady ’06, Valerie Torres ’08). Dr. Durka is a past president of the REA/APPRRE.

The theme of the 2010 meeting was “In the Flow: learning religion and religiously learning amidst global cultural flows.” Four of our attendees presented papers:
• Dr. Kieran Scott, Swimming Against the Flow: Language and Political Design in Lay Ecclesial Ministry
• Dr. Bud Horell, Christian Moral Education in a Globalized, Postmodern Age
• Valerie Torres, PhD, In the Flow and How Things Really Go
• Kevin Sandberg, A Curriculum Ideology of Cultural Redemption: What Labor Relations Has to do with Religious Education

Chuck Chesnavage moderated the Men’s Luncheon discussion of Amy-Jill Levine’s article, “Misusing Jesus: How the Church Divorces Jesus from Judaism” (Christian Century, Dec. 26, 2006) and two of our attendees gave “lightning talks”—five minutes at the microphone to tell colleagues about current research, to identify issues which the guild should address, or to share important information from the field—Dr. Bud Horell on education for peace and justice and Kevin Sandberg on “Neither Mosque nor Ground Zero: Cordoba House, Politics and Religious Education”).

Finally, Dr. Kieran Scott was recognized for completing his service as Member-at-Large on the REA Board of Directors. Dr. Horell continues to chair the forum on Religious Education in Public Life and the Global Community.

The Religious Education Association is an incorporation of the venerable 100 year old association (REA) of persons who have gathered semi-annually, published and taught religious education during this past century and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (APRRE), the group of professors, scholars and researchers who for the past 30 years have gathered annually as a guild of scholars building and sharing a body of theory and research. Learn more about the REA at

Loyola Chair Lecture - Spirituality and Poetry Fr. Francis McAloon, S.J.

Loyola Chair Explains Spiritual Side of
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Francis X. McAloon, S.J., says that poems can function as texts for transformative prayer.

Photo by Ken Levinson


“Hopkins loved to play with words,

their meanings and usages …

He uses the word ‘easter’ in a way

most of us are not familiar with.”


By Gina Vergel

Non-biblical poetry, such as the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins, can offer readers a transformative spiritual experience, according to a scholar who spoke at Fordham on Oct. 20.

Francis X. McAloon, S.J., associate professor of Christian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University and Fordham’s Loyola Chair for the fall 2010 semester, discussed Hopkins’ work and how literary and religious scholarship supports a spiritual practice within his poetry.

Hopkins’ poems of consolation, such as “Pied Beauty” and “As kingfishers catch fire,” Father McAloon said, are representative of poetry throughout the Christian millennia that celebrate much of what is revered in the Psalms.

“God, God’s love, God’s creation, our participation in that creation, our status as loved creation and our celebration and participation in the celebration, love, care of this creation,” Father McAloon said.

“I’m not saying Gerard Manley Hopkins necessarily was experiencing these deep levels of consolation while he was writing this poetry, although one could make an interesting argument along those lines, but it’s just really that we have access to these poems for our own prayer in the same way tradition invites us to pray with the poetry of the scriptures,” he said.

The title of Father McAloon’s lecture, “Let Him Easter in Us,” comes from the final stanza of Hopkins’ poem, “The Wreck of the Deutschland.”

“Hopkins loved to play with words, their meanings and usages. Here he uses the word ‘easter’ in a way most of us are not familiar with. He’s turning it into a very active verb, an explosive, empowering verb,” Father McAloon said.

“‘Let Him Easter in Us,’ challenges us to the live ‘the real’ in light of an ongoing eruption of the presence and action of God in ourselves, in our relationships and in our world.”
Father McAloon proposed an interdisciplinary approach, informed by literary and religious scholarship, that allows for certain poems to function as texts for transformative prayer.

He then read from “Pied Beauty,” a shortened sonnet Hopkins wrote in 1877 while he was studying theology in Wales.

“What he is doing is offering us a sense of what it is he is glorifying God for,” Father McAloon said of the 11-line poem.

“It’s very clear that a primary site for his experience with God is in nature,” Father McAloon said. “I propose that this is a classic example of a poem that could be prayed with while one is in spiritual consolation. This is the kind of poem that can come to mind and give expression to what we’re feeling.

“Part of what poetry does for us is give us words, phrases and images to express what we feel but perhaps cannot say because we’re not poets and we don’t have that same skill or technique,” he added.

Another Hopkins poem, “As kingfishers catch fire,” would reach out to us today, Father McAloon said.

“If you spend some time with this and think about your own experience of nature and of your own sense of Christ, faith, hope and love, it is—in its own way—an incredibly consoling claim or invitation to know ourselves, not simply as sinners, but to know ourselves as loved sinners and those who are called to live Christ-like lives,” said Father McAloon, who added that most of his work on Hopkins until very recently focused on his sonnets of despair.

“Maybe it’s because I have deep, dark, Irish roots, but they always appealed to me and so it’s where I did most of my work as a graduate student and then the first 10 years of teaching,” he said. “Now I’ve decided to spend a little time on the consolation side of the spectrum.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

GSRRE Faculty Stories November 2010

Our faculty have had a very active year, some recent accomplishments:

Dr. GLORIA DURKA, Professor of Religious Education, was unanimously re-elected President of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV) at the bi-annual meeting held recently in Ottawa, Canada. ISREV is an inter-religious scholarly association of about 350 professors and researchers from more than 30 countries. Dr. Durka will serve a second two-year term. The next meeting of ISREV will be held in Turku, Finland in July, 2012.

Dr. Thomas Beaudoin has a new review in America Magazine. His review of Kenda Creasy Dean's new book, Almost Christian, is now in print and online at America magazine.

Dr. Robert Brancatelli, Visiting professor of Religious Education, has given two public lectures at Fordham on "Entrepreneurial Discipleship" as he prepares to offer a new course on this topic for Spring 2011. For more information on our Spring offerings click here.