Center for Catholic Studies

Center for Catholic Studies

Catholic Studies is an inter-disciplinary inquiry into the intellectual tradition, history and culture, both "high" and popular, of the Catholic Christian tradition.

The Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University exists to sponsor four related sets of activities. They are:

  1. To establish and administer an undergraduate interdisciplinary Minor Program in Catholic Studies.
  2. To work to support the academic component of "mission and identity" education and programming on campus.
  3. To promote an understanding and appreciation of the Catholic intellectual tradition on campus.
  4. To establish programming for and outreach to the local community, especially but not exclusively the local Catholic community.

Contemplation to Attain Love

Voices of Others


The Center is directed by the holder of the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Chair in Catholic Studies, currently Dr. Paul Lakeland, Professor of Religious Studies.

View the Catholic Studies course list

For more information about the Center for Catholic Studies, please visit us in Canisius 200, or contact Mary Crimmins, Administrative Coordinator, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2097.

Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Chair in Catholic Studies

The Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Chair in Catholic Studies was established in June 2004, as a result of gifts of various donors in honor of the retiring president, Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J.

Paul Lakeland headshotDr. Lakeland received his Licentiate in Philosophy from Heythrop Pontifical Athenaeum, an M.A. from Oxford University in English Language and Literature, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of London, and his Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Fairfield he teaches courses on ecclesiology, religion and culture, and religion and literature. He is the author of some 35 scholarly articles and 10 books, the most recent of which are:

  • The Wounded Angel (Liturgical Press 2017)
  • A Council That Will Never End: Lumen Gentium and the Church Today (Liturgical Press, 2013)
  • Yves Congar: Essential Writings. The Modern Spiritual Masters Series (Orbis Books, 2010)
  • Church: Living Communion (Liturgical Press, 2009)
  • Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church (Continuum, 2007), which won an award from the Catholic Press Association
  • The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church (Continuum, 2003), which received the 2004 Catholic Press Association Award for the best book in theology
  • Postmodernity: Christian Identity in a Fragmented Age (Fortress Press, 1997)
  • Theology and Critical Theory: the Discourse of the Church (Abingdon Press, 1990)

Paul Lakeland is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the American Theological Society. His academic and research interests include the roles of the laity in the Catholic Church, the Papacy, religion and literature, and the relations between religious commitment and progressive politics.

He can be reached at

Dr. Paul Lakeland, professor of religious studies, was formally installed as the first holder of the
Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Chair in Catholic Studies

March 2, 2005

 Sharing the honor of the occasion with Dr. Lakeland (third from left) were: (l-r) Dr. G. Dennis O'Brien, former president of Bucknell University and the University of Rochester, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree; the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., president emeritus, for whom the chair is named; and Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., University president.


Throughout the year, the Center for Catholic Studies brings nationally-recognized scholars to campus to share their expertise on a wide range of topics of interest to Catholic Studies. All lectures on campus are free and open to the public. Join us!

The 2018 Bellarmine Lecture
“Flannery O’Connor: Acts of Redemption”
Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 7 p.m.
Barone Campus Center Dogwood Room

The 2018 Catholicism and the Arts Lecture
“Sociable Solitude in the Internet Age”
Amy Hungerford, Yale University
Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Dolan School of Business Dining Room

12th Annual Commonweal Lecture
“The Commonweal Tradition”
Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal
Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Dolan School of Business Dining Room


For more information, contact Mary Crimmins, administrative coordinator, at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2097.

Click here for directions.


Living Theology

Spring 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 4:30 p.m., Library Multimedia Room 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 4:30 p.m., Library Multimedia Room 

Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 9:30 a.m., Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center Presentation Room


Our workshops are free and open to the public. Please join us!

For more information, please contact Mary Crimmins, administrative coordinator, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2097.

Other Events

As part of its mission to promote an understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition of open dialogue, the Center for Catholic Studies occasionally cosponsors events both on and off the campus.

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Event Archives

Previous Catholic Studies Events

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