Faculty Directory

Melissa Kelley

Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling


Melissa M. Kelley is associate professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Previously, she was on the faculty of Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. She has many years of pastoral-clinical experience, including in college campus ministry and individual pastoral counseling. She holds a Ph.D. from Boston University in pastoral psychology.

Professor Kelley is a pastoral psychotherapist with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement through the Association for Death Education and Counseling, a primary organization in the country for bereavement researchers, educators, and clinicians. She has served as a pastoral formation guide with the Southern New England Association of the United Church of Christ and has produced numerous presentations and publications related to grief, including Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry, published in 2010 by Augsburg Fortress Press.

Selected Courses

  • Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Grief & Loss
  • Pastoral Care of the Family
  • Death and Dying

Selected Publications

Kelley, M. M. (forthcoming 2023). Theological education that promotes resilience. In C. Griffith and H. Ospino, eds., Formative Theological Education, Mahway, NJ: Paulist Press.

Kelley, M. M. (2021). Teaching Meaning: A Pedagogical Strategy to Help Ministry Students Understand Meaning Making in Narrative Perspective. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 75(3), 207–213. https://doi.org/10.1177/15423050211038905

Kelley, M. (2017). The Holy Spirit as dynamic meaning maker. In R. Lennan and N. Pineda Madrid, eds., The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire (pp. 173-183), Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Kelley, M. (2017). Sharing our stories: Emotional comfort for survivors. In I. Silverman and E. B. Siegel, eds., Aging Wisely: Wisdom of our Elders (pp. 3-8), Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Kelley, M. (2014). Review of Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son by Richard Lischer. Theology Today 75 (3), 709-710.

Kelley, M. (2014). Pastoral implications of Psalm 121. Lectionary Homiletics, 25 (2), 51-2.

Kelley, M. (2014). Pastoral implications of Psalm 95. Lectionary Homiletics, 25 (2), 59-60.

Kelley, M. (2014). Author’s response to reviews of Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry. Pastoral Psychology, 63, 117-122.