In This Section

Catholics & Cultures

Catholics & Cultures, an ambitious scholarly initiative for understanding the religious lives and practices of Catholics worldwide, is a major new program of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.

Begin exploring now:

Catholics & CulturesCatholics & Cultures explores how Catholic practices, beliefs, trends, and ethical concerns are manifest in very different cultural settings. As part of its program offerings, the initiative will offer web-based resources, scholarly conversations, international conferences, and publications, including a scholarly e-journal. It will also sponsor postgraduate or visiting fellows who will develop their scholarship at Holy Cross, offer a wide array of new courses to students, and create summer immersion and research opportunities for students in church settings worldwide.

No other program with this scope currently exists, giving Holy Cross the opportunity to take the lead in the scholarly study of Catholic life and practice around the world.

Journal of Global CatholicismJournal of Global Catholicism

The Journal of Global Catholicism is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal edited by Mathew N. Schmalz and Marc Roscoe Loustau dedicated to fostering the understanding of diverse forms of lived Catholicism with attention to their significance for theoretical approaches within and across multiple academic disciplines. Read the latest issue»

Past Program Highlights

Juliana FlinnNovember 11, 2019, College of the Holy Cross
Mary in Micronesia: Breadwinner, Protector, and Strong Model for Women — Juliana Flinn, professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and author of "Mary, the Devil and Taro: Catholicism and Women's Work in a Micronesian Society" (University of Hawaii Press, 2010), describes how gender roles among Pollapese Catholics in Micronesia are inspired by a strong image of Mary.
Watch the video»

September 12-15, 2019; Monastère des Augustines, Québec City, Québec, Canada
International Conference: Mediating Catholicism: A Symposium on Global Catholic Media Practices — This three-day symposium will gather an international group of both emerging and established scholars for an intensive and first-of-its-kind forum of interdisciplinary exchange on the theme of global Catholicism and media technologies. Co-sponsored with McGill University and the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Peter PhanMarch 28, 2019, College of the Holy Cross
Church of Migrants and Migrant Church: Theology of the Church in the Age of Migration — Peter Phan is the inaugural holder of the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. He is editor, with Elaine Padilla, of “Christianities in Migration: The Global Perspective” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
Watch the video»

Fenggang YangOctober 15, 2018, College of the Holy Cross
Is China the New Roman Empire? Christian Growth in China and Global Implications — Fenggang Yang, professor of sociology and director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, talks about the social and cultural factors for the Christian growth, why Protestantism grows faster than Catholicism, and the changing church-state relationship. He is author of “Atlas of Religion in China” (Brill, 2018). One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
Watch the video»

Rev. Lawrence Fernandes, S.J.September 5, 2018, College of the Holy Cross
Lived Catholicism: An Indian Experience — Rev. Lawrence Fernandes, S.J., International Visiting Jesuit Fellow, draws on field-based study in Karnataka, India exploring the religious practices shaped by multi-religious culture and traditions of India and exhibits features that are practical, need-based and sensory.
Watch the video»

March 9-10, 2018, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary
International Conference: Lived Catholicism from the Balkans to the Baltics
Europe’s history is permeated with the rich array of rituals and world views of Catholicism. On a local level, this history continues to inform the ways individual Catholics experience and understand the diverse practices and values that define Catholicism in various communities. This conference offers scholars and observers an opportunity to attend to and study the diversity of Catholic practices in this region of Europe, from the Balkans to the Baltics, as well as the meaning of Catholicism in its various relationships with cultures. Learn more»

Stan Chu IloFebruary 26, 2018
Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic Movements in Africa: The Search for Human and Cosmic Flourishing — Stan Chu Ilo, research professor for the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University, offers a comparative analysis of Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic movements in Africa, and shares personal experiences that have transformed his understanding of how Pentecostal and Charismatic believers live their faith.
Watch the video: Stream Online»

Jalane SchmidtOctober 2, 2017
Our Lady of the Slaves: Marian Devotion in Cuba, Race and Revolution — Jalane Schmidt, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia and author of “Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba” (Duke University Press, 2015) explores how devotion to the Virgin of Charity has been central to how many Cubans of various racial and religious identities have navigated the Revolutionary to contemporary eras.
Closed Captions Available Watch the video: Stream Online»

James J. CarneyApril 14, 2016
The Politics of Mercy: Ambassadors of Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda — Jay Carney, assistant professor of theology and director of African Studies at Creighton University, draws upon the situation in Rwanda to explore how the Pope's call for a "year of mercy" happens within very difficult political contexts.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

February 8, 2016
What Really Matters about the Globalization of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal? — Marc Loustau will present his ethnographic fieldwork with Charismatic Renewal participants at the Csíksomlyó Roman Catholic shrine in the Transylvania region of Romania, to highlight the existential context of Charismatic rituals and storytelling.


January 18-20, 2016
University of Santo Tomas, Institute of Religion, Manila, Philippines

A rich variety of religious and cultural practices mark different steps in the journeys of Filipino Catholics here on earth. Such practices prepare us for important transitions in our lives and give us ways to express our hopes, gratitude, fears and faith. Some practices are particular to a single town, island or province. Others are common across the archipelago, or are sacramental practices common to all Catholics across the globe. Inevitably, even the latter are expressed in a distinctively Filipino style, and interpreted through a Filipino lens.

This conference is an opportunity to describe these diverse practices, to explore what they mean to the people who celebrate them, and to examine how they relate to the particular social and cultural contexts that give them meaning.

FRANK GRAZIANOOctober 5, 2015
Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico — Frank Graziano, John D. MacArthur Professor of Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College, shares fieldwork from his forthcoming book, "Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico" (Oxford University Press, November 2015). He describes the types of miracles devotees seek and illustrates their wide range of petitionary and votive offerings, from collages to clothing, documents, letters, harvests and more. This talk was one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

February 4, 2015
The Camino Experience: Making the Way — 2014 Artist-in-Residence Cristina Pato returns to present a work-in-progress inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and her Galician roots. Making the Way brings together the College Choir (dir. David Harris), Theatre Department faculty and students, and the Cantor Art Gallery in a spiritual journey guided by the stories of local pilgrims who have walked the Camino. Presented by Arts Transcending Borders and co-sponsored with Catholics & Cultures, an initiative of the McFarland Center, and the Cantor Art Gallery.


A workshop on rites, religiosity, and cultural diversity in Indian Catholicism
January 12-15, 2015
Bangalore, India

India is a multicultural society and home to three rites (Roman, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara) within the Catholic Church.  This unique combination has created a particularly rich and diverse context for Catholic religious life. This workshop examines how Catholic life is practiced in India’s different cultural and Catholic contexts. The intent of the workshop is to move away from the often contentious jurisdictional issues surrounding the rites and instead focus on the perspectives gained from considering the lived experience of ordinary Catholics. Sponsored by Dharmaram Vidhya Ksetram and the College of the Holy Cross.

Students create colorful sand carpets in Latin American tradition to herald Holy Week at Holy Cross

Interpreting a Catholic tradition popular in Latin America, art students at Holy Cross created a carpet of colored sand leading to the steps of the St. Joseph Memorial Chapel for Palm Sunday. Their intricate designs feature "creatures with wings" — angels, insects, a phoenix, dove and other birds, along with crosses and abstract patterns. Learn more.

October 23, 2013
Our Lady of the Good Death: Afro-Catholicism in Brazilian Cultural Heritage - Stephen Selka, associate professor in American studies and in religious studies at Indiana University, talks about the Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death (Boa Morte) in Bahia, Brazil, and their week-long Feast of the Assumption. The festival is a blend of Catholicism and Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, that has become part of the heritage tourism of the African diaspora.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download»

Anya Peterson RoyceJourneys of Transformation: Isthmus Zapotec beliefs and rituals surrounding death, healing and pilgrimage - Anya Peterson Royce, Chancellor's professor of anthropology and comparative literature at Indiana University, is author of "Becoming an Ancestor: The Isthmus Zapotec Way of Death" (SUNY Press, 2011), which looks at the intricate blending of Catholicism and indigenous spiritual tradition in the death rituals of Zapotecs in southern Mexico.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download»

Rev. Paul Mariani, S.J.Living in China's Highly Politicized Church Today - Rev. Paul Mariani, S.J., assistant professor of history at Santa Clara University, talks about religious policy and conflict in the People's Republic of China since 1950 and how Catholics in China understand their faith today. He is author of "Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai" (Harvard University Press, 2011).
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download»

The Contours of Catholic Life and Practice Today: Challenges and opportunities in the study of global Catholicism

December 9, 2011

Thomas M. LandyWelcome and Introduction:
A Vision for the Study of Catholicism Around the Globe

Thomas M. Landy, Director, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, College of the Holy Cross
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download»

Rowena RobinsonThrough the Looking Glass: Indian Catholicism observed
Rowena Robinson, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Respondent: Mathew Schmalz, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download »

Robert OrsiReal Presences and the Study of Lived Religion
Robert Orsi, Professor of Religion and the Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies, Northwestern University
Respondent: Justin Poché, Alexander F. Carson Faculty Fellow in the History of the United States and Assistant Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross
Note: At the speaker's request, this session was not recorded.

Student Panel
Holy Cross students including Andrew DeVivo '12, Brendan Kennedy '12, Andrea Koris '12, Amanda Marello '12, Michael Rogers '12 and Diego Terrero '12 will share their immersion and study abroad experiences in Catholic cultures around the globe and will describe how their experiences and observations have helped to shape their Holy Cross education.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download »

Rev. Thomas G. CaseyReimagining Catholic Theology in the Light of Catholic Belief and Practice Worldwide
Rev. Thomas Casey, S.J., Dean of the Faculty of Missiology, Gregorian University, Rome
Respondent: Joanne M. Pierce, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes Download »