Jesuit Institute Selects Visiting Scholar, Fellows

Jesuit Institute Selects Visiting Scholar, Fellows

Current, former faculty members awarded research grants

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

Researchers studying inter-religious dialogue, Jesuits and early modern theater and the roots of Christian liturgy will visit Boston College during the coming months through the Jesuit Institute Visiting Scholar and Fellows programs.

The institute recently announced that Adj. Lect. Catherine Cornille (Theology) and former Theater Department faculty member Rev. Michael Zampelli, SJ, now an assistant professor of theater at Santa Clara University, have been selected as visiting fellows for 2002-03.

In addition, the institute has chosen Rev. Keith Pecklers, SJ, a faculty member at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant'Anselmo in Rome, as visiting scholar for 2002-03.

Cornille was an associate professor of comparative religion and Asian religions at Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, from 1993 until 2000, when she and her husband moved to the United States. Since then, she has taught classes at the College of the Holy Cross as well as BC.

A native of Belgium, Cornille is the author of the forthcoming book Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity and has done fieldwork in India on Catholic Ashrams as well as Hinduism and Indian Christianity.

Her research project is an exploration of the conditions she considers essential for inter-religious dialogue. More specifically, Cornille plans to study discussions on plurality, difference and otherness by contemporary authors, and how they relate to the paradox of maintaining commitment to one religion while being open to another.

Cornille also will study questions concerning the claim of "truth" in religions, the relationship between propositional and experiential truth, and the possible basis for the recognition of truth in other religious traditions.

Fr. Zampelli, who was an adjunct lecturer at BC from 1996-97, has taught at Santa Clara since 1998. He also directed the dramatics programs at Fordham and Georgetown preparatory schools in the 1980s.

Among the productions Fr. Zampelli has directed was a staging of a baroque opera, "San Ignacio de Loyola," at the 1997 Jesuit Institute conference "The Jesuits: Culture, Learning and the Arts, 1540-1773." He also has acted and served in other capacities in various theatrical productions, including as additional dialogue recording actor for the film "A Midwife's Tale" that was broadcast on the PBS series "The American Experience."

Fr. Zampelli's research seeks insights into the relationship between early modern performance and culture by exploring Jesuit attitudes in the 16th and 17th century toward the rise of professional theater.

According to Fr. Zampelli, the advent of Italian professional theater corresponded with the increasing visibility and influence of the Jesuits as a Catholic organ of spiritual renewal and education. Initially expressing anxiety about theater and its place in human life, Jesuits came to have great regard for theatrical communication.

He will be in residence at BC from April through December this year.

Fr. Pecklers, who began teaching at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in 1996, is also an adjunct professor of fundamental liturgy at Pontifical Gregorian University. He was deacon of the Sacred Heart Parish at the University of Notre Dame and a teacher of religious studies at Xavier High School in New York City.

His publications include Liturgy for the New Millennium: A Commentary on the Revised Sacramentary, for which he served as co-editor, and The Unread Vision: The Liturgical Movement in the United States.

Fr. Pecklers' project will be to write a 50,000-word text that will serve as an introduction to a forthcoming series by the Continuum International Publishing Group titled New Century Theology.

One aspect of Fr. Pecklers' work will consider Christian liturgy and its role in a post-modern society. He will examine such areas as the challenges of multicultural worship in large cities such as London, New York City and Vancouver, the phenomenon of so-called "megachurches" and their impact on mainstream Christian worship, and the growing dilemma of "priestless parishes."


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