News and Updates: November 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dr. Beaudoin's article in Religion, Media, and Culture: A Reader

GSRRE's Associate Professor of Theology Tom Beaudoin recently published the chapter "Everyday Faith In and Beyond Scandalized Religion" in Religion, Media, and Culture: A Reader (Routledge, 2011), edited by Gordon Lynch and Jolyon Mitchell with Anna Strhan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GRE Honors Jesuit "Homeboy" and others in Ministry

GRE Honors Jesuit ‘Homeboy’

Gregory Boyle, S.J. (left), poses with Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, S.J., vice president of University mission and ministry.

Photo by Ken Levinson

By Janet Sassi

There are those of deep Christian faith who dedicate their lives to helping the poor, the powerless and the voiceless.

Then there is Gregory Boyle, S.J., who stands by society’s despised, readily thrown out and demonized—the criminals, gang members and drug lords.

At its Oct. 21 Sapientia et Doctrina celebration, the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE) honored Father Boyle with a Gaudium et Spes award, given annually to a Catholic who contributes both to the religious community and the human community.

Father Boyle, known to his “homeboys” as Father Greg, has worked for 25 years in a Los Angeles barrio that has the city’s highest concentration of gang activity. To help stem violence and set gang members on a better course, Father Boyle founded Jobs for a Future in 1988 and Homeboy Industries in 1992, creating industries in which rival gang members worked side by side for an honest paycheck.

“I buried my first young person killed because of this (gang) sadness in 1988, and I buried my 178th on Wednesday (Oct. 19),” Father Boyle said. “I’ve seen a lot of horrible things in my life, and had to give [last] blessings.”

But his life with the gangs, Father Boyle said, has been his blessing from God. He told a story about “Bandit,” who, after years of selling crack on the streets, came to his office and said “I’m tired of being tired.” From an entry-level job, Bandit came to supervise a Homeboy warehouse, and bought a house, married and had kids.

Today, Homeboy Industries runs a bakery, a silkscreen factory, a solar panel training program, a diner and a café. The organization helps some 15,000 people per year find their worth beyond the dead end of street life.

“They’ve taught me everything of value, really,” said Father Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (Free Press, 2010). “In the last couple of years, they have even taught me how to text,” he said to laughter. “I’m grateful . . . it sure beats the heck out of actually talking to people.”

Father Boyle’s humor underscored a deeper message.

“Honest to God, they used to shoot bullets at each other, but now they shoot text messages. And there is a word for that, and that word is kinship.

“You don’t hold the bar and ask somebody to measure up. You just show up and hold the mirror and tell people the truth, knowing that your truth is my truth, and my truth is a gang member’s truth, and it all happens to be the same truth—that you are exactly what God had in mind when God made you.”

Among the night’s other honorees were Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., president emeritus of Fordham; and William H. Sadlier, Inc. religious publishers; recipients of GRE’s Founders Awards. Carmen Ana Casal de Unanue received the Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, S.J., Award for Service to the Hispanic community.

Sapientia et Doctrina awards for exemplary service to the church were presented to: Mary Bivona of Catholic Charities; Monsignor Neil Connolly of St. Mary’s Parish on Manhattan’s Lower East Side; Kay Furlani (GRE ’88) of the Archdiocese of New York; Holy Rosary Church, site of the Don Bosco Center; Patricia Keck of the Hartford Archdiocese; Maryann McHugh, C.S.J., of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Queens; Michael Hayes (GRE ’05), founder of; Elena Procario-Foley, Ph.D., Driscoll Professor Jewish-Catholic Studies at Iona College; and Catherine Ryan, a Franciscan Sister of Peace.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Faculty, Students and Alums Represent the GSRRE

At the recent REA Annual Meeting: Brain Matters: Neuroscience, Creativity, and Diversity, GSRRE faculty, students and alumni were in full force. The meeting was held November 4-6, 2011, Toronto, Ontario

Presentations included the following:

Michael Bickford, Ph.D. ‘11
An Evaluation of the Contribution of John H. Westerhoff III to Religious Education

Donna Eschenauer, Ph.D. ‘10
Memory and Imagination: The Easter Triduum Teaching How to Live and How to Die

Luz Ibarra, Ph.D. ‘09 Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Religious Education

Kathleen Turner Ph.D. Cand. An Artistic Review of Religious Education


Harold Horell, Ph.D., Carl Procario-Foley Ph.D. ‘11
Abuse & Education and Formation (or Malformation) in Faith

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Secular Music and Faith, New Article by Prof. Tom Beaudoin

Professor Tom Beaudoin has published a new article, "Une catechese virtuelle. La culture populaire comme lieu d'apprentissage de la foi," in the journal _Lumen Vitae: Revue Internationale de Catechese et de Pastorale_ (66:3, Sept. 2011), in which he argues that popular or "secular" music has a role in shaping faith, and that such cultural formation should be integrated reflexively into the teaching and formation of faith, a recognition that will help churches (and theology) accept that they are not masters of their own content but rather witting or unwitting partners with popular culture.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Peggy Fanning, GSRRE Alumna, publishes article

Peggy Fanning, CSJ, GSRRE Ph.D. 2004, published an article entitled “The Word ‘Catholic’ in a Catholic University: ‘Here Comes Everybody’.” It appeared in the Center for Teaching and Learning Newsletter of St. John’s University where she is an Adjunct Professor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dr. Tom Beaudoin speaks at Occupy Wall Street Teach-In

Prof. Tom Beaudoin was one of the speakers at the "Occupy Wall Street Teach-In" at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus on Monday. The Teach-In was co-sponsored by the GSRRE, the Theology Department, and the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.

Dr. Beaudoin to present at annual pastoral conference

Prof. Tom Beaudoin will be giving a talk this Saturday, 5 November, at the Center for Theological and Spiritual Development at the College of Saint Elizabeth, in Morristown, New Jersey. His presentation, "Texting God: Faith and Culture Among Youth and Young Adults Today," is part of their Annual Pastoral Conference Day. More information can be found at their site here: