After nearly 40 years teaching American Catholic history and Catholic social and political thought in Holy Cross classrooms, David J. O'Brien, Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies, will retire at the end of the academic year.
His long teaching career at Holy Cross has been accompanied by national recognition and acclaim. One of the first scholars to specialize in American Catholic history, O'Brien is widely published. A frequent lecturer, he is the recipient of many honors and awards for his work. He has also been at the forefront of social causes and activism since the Vietnam War protests.
In honor of O'Brien's many contributions to scholarship and teaching, Holy Cross is hosting the conference, "Shaping American Catholicism: An Exploration of Major Themes in the Life and Work of David J. O'Brien," on April 13-14 at the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. The conference is co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, University of Notre Dame.
The first day of the conference will feature presentations by John McGreevy, professor of history, University of Notre Dame; William Portier, chair in Catholic theology, University of Dayton; and Leslie Woodcock Tentler, professor of history, Catholic University of America. That evening's principal address will be delivered by John Carr of the department of social development and world peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and longtime friend of O'Brien's.
The following day, in addition to the two panels — "Directions for a Next Generation in American Catholic History" and "Public Catholicism: Peace, Politics, and Social Ministry" — members of the Holy Cross history department will gather to discuss O'Brien's emphasis on the study of history, on intellectual engagement, and on social activism at Holy Cross.
Among the scheduled panelists are: Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, founding co-director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture; Paula Kane '80, chair of Catholic studies, University of Pittsburgh; James McCartin, associate director, Center for Catholic Studies, Seton Hall University; and Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, of Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker House in Worcester.
The conference itself is free of charge to all who wish to attend. The cost for the Friday evening reception and dinner, and Saturday lunch, is $45. For more information, including housing for participants, call the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at (508) 793-3869.