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School of Theology and Ministry

July 2013
STM Associate Professor Melissa Kelley at Podium

After the Boston bombings


Two months after the April 15 attack at the Boston Marathon, nearly 50 chaplains, campus ministers, and educators joined STM associate professor of pastoral care and contextual education Melissa M. Kelley (pictured) for “After the Boston Bombings: A Conversation for Leaders in Ministry,” a June 13 lunchtime discussion of how ministers can help heal those affected by tragedy.

To begin, Kelley asked what the group found most difficult in responding to the bombings. Linda Colozzi, spiritual care director at Elizabeth Seton nursing facility, said she struggled to convince residents to turn away from media coverage so they could discuss their feelings with ministers: “moving from fear to the source of help.” Others spoke of challenges of preaching to hate terror, not the terrorists, and of guiding children and teenagers to express their pain and confusion.

Kelley then offered two approaches to framing the healing process. For one, ministers can help identify and cope with particular kinds of loss: material (such as damage to buildings), relationship (patients who parted with caregivers after being released from the hospital), life role (the dance instructor who lost a foot), systemic (a lost sense of safety and playfulness at the Marathon), and functional (lost limbs). “We all sometimes need language for these things that are unnamable,” Kelley said.

Ministers can also help resolve a sense of “narrative disruption,” she added. In the aftermath of tragedies such as the marathon bombings, “We can feel as if someone took the book of our life and ripped out pages.” As those who suffered loss return to their lives—or “stories”—they may seek simple explanations (attributing the attack to God or Islam), she noted. Ministers can help them consider and discuss the complex reasons and meanings behind the events.

Kelley concluded by suggesting 10 strategies of care, such as reminding victims what was not lost, training their attention from “loss-focus” to “restoration-focus,” and showing them how, “to a point, struggling with loss is an opportunity for great growth.”

Speakers at Dean's Colloquium

Confronting the income gap


On April 16, a capacity crowd gathered in Gasson 100 to consider “Income Inequality and Our Responsibility to the Poor”—the topic of the second annual Dean’s Colloquium on Religion and Public Culture. Alan Wolfe (right), director of Boston College’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, moderated a panel of four theologians (from left): Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Archdiocese of Boston’s secretary for health care and social services; Mohamed Lazzouni, chairman of the advisory board at Merrimack College’s Center of the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations; Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College; and Rev. John K. Stendahl, pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Newtons. The panelists discussed whether religious institutions have done enough to confront income inequality and proffered solutions. What sets religions apart from other institutions is the “force of compassion and language,” Lazzouni noted. If religious communities can “unify around a message,” he argued, they can be “highly potent and yield extraordinary results.” View video »

Procession at 2013 Commencement Ceremony

Commencement 2013


Boston College awarded 127 degrees to STM students in the 2012–13 academic year, which were celebrated May 20 at the 137th Commencement Exercises. Among graduates moving on to new positions this summer and fall are Oliver Goodrich, M.Ed. ’13, campus minister for faith formation at Loyola University Chicago; Anne Krane, M.Div. ’13, who leads a faith formation program for children and youth at St. Mary–St. Catherine of Siena parish in Charlestown, Massachusetts; and Robert Macke, S.J., M.T.S. ’13, who is studying meteorite physical properties at the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Sara Knutson, M.Div. ’13, will soon begin work as a retreat director at TYME OUT Youth Center in Nashotah, Wisconsin, where she will develop new programming. Gregory Cruess, M.T.S. ’13, begins a Ph.D. program this fall at the University of Notre Dame, studying the history of Christianity. View Commencement Exercises »

Save the date

Coworkers in the Vineyard: The Role of the Catholic Laity in the Life of Public Service and Scholarship
September 26, 2013
7:15 p.m., Robsham Theater
Panelists will discuss the role faith plays in their public service work during this panel, which is part of a symposium marking Boston College’s Sesquicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

Faculty news

Khaled Anatolios presented “Fourth Century Christology” at the Oxford Handbook on Christology conference at the University of Notre Dame.

James T. Bretzke, S.J., presented his paper “Intrinsically Evil: Gauntlet or Shibboleth?” at the College Theology Society’s 59th Annual Convention at Creighton University. Liturgical Press published the third edition of his Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary. Bretzke wrote two book reviews for Catholic Studies: An Online Journal and had an online article featured on the blog Wake Up Lazarus! Catholic Renewal Discussions. He gave a keynote lecture at the How We Are Catholic II conference for Schools of the Sacred Heart educators in San Francisco, and was interviewed for stories about the election of Pope Francis by several news media organizations. He serves as president of the New England and Maritimes Region of the American Academy of Religion and was reelected to the board of trustees for the Convent of the Sacred Heart school in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bretzke gives weekend pastoral assistance at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., presented “Genesis 1-11: What Do Adam and Eve Teach Us Today?” at Boston College.

Thomas A. Kane, C.S.P., edited Healing God's People: Theological and Pastoral Approaches—A Reconciliation Reader, published by Paulist Press. The volume includes articles by Francine Cardman, Melissa M. Kelley, Hosffman Ospino, and Thomas D. Stegman, S.J.

Catherine M. Mooney gave a talk, “The Many Faces of Hildegard of Bingen: New Doctor of the Church,” at Boston College and presented “Lessons from Church History: Laity, Clergy, and Religious Orders,” to the Order of Discalced Carmelites in the New England area.

Theresa A. O’Keefe presented “Seeking the Holy with Youth and Young Adults” at "The New Evangelization: Renewing the Church" conference at Boston College.

Hosffman Ospino’s essay, “The New Evangelization in a Diverse Church: Culture Matters,” was published in Pastoral Liturgy. Paulist Press published his book chapter “Healing Brokenness in Multicultural Communities of Faith” in Healing God’s People: Theological and Pastoral Approaches—A Reconciliation Reader. Ospino presented at numerous meetings, conferences, and institutions, including the annual meeting of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States in Florida, the National Catholic Educational Association in Texas, the Mid-Atlantic Congress in Baltimore, the Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership in Cleveland, Ohio, and Boston College’s conference The New Evangelization: Renewing the Church.

Nancy Pineda-Madrid was elected vice president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS).