Theologian appointed director of Cushwa Center

by Dennis Brown

Timothy Matovina, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed director of the University’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. He succeeds R. Scott Appleby, who has directed the center since 1994 and is now the John M. Regan Jr. Director of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.p. “Tim Matovina is an outstanding leader of the community of scholars who study Latino theology, religion, culture and history,” Appleby said. “He has the ability to foster research in other scholars working on a variety of topics central to a nuanced understanding of Catholic theology, spirituality and history. He’s a splendid teacher and communicator who also knows and appreciates the pastoral, ministerial and social justice dimensions of the Church.”p. Now in his second year at Notre Dame, Matovina studies Latino theology and Catholic history in the American Southwest, with a particular focus on devotions, rituals and other popular religious practices and institutions. He previously taught and conducted research at Loyola Marymount University, Our Lady of the Lake University and the University of the Incarnate Word. He also served from 1993-95 as associate director of the San Fernando Cathedral Study Project, an initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment and conducted through the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio.p. Matovina is coauthor of the award-winning book “ U.S. Latino Catholics from Colonial Origins to the Present,” the first compilation of the primary documents of U.S. Hispanic Catholicism. He is the author of “Tejano Religion and Ethnicity: San Antonio, 1821-1860” and coauthor of “San Fernando Cathedral: Soul of the City.”p. Matovina coedited the forthcoming book “Horizons of the Sacred: Mexican Traditions in U.S. Catholicism,” the second volume in the series of Cushwa Center Studies of Catholicism in Twentieth Century America. He is at work on a manuscript titled “Guadalupan Devotion in a Borderlands Community: Public Ritual as Theological Discourse,” a history of Guadalupan devotion at the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio.p. Matovina earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, his master of divinity degree from the Toronto School of Theology, and his doctorate in religion and culture from Catholic University.p. The Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism was founded in 1975 and has become the leading center for the historical study of Roman Catholicism in the United States. Faculty affiliated with the center have published studies on the Irish experience in America, the growth of Hispanic Catholicism in the United States, the history of Catholic parish life, American religion and culture, the experiences of women in American religious history, and the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the American Catholic community.p. The center was endowed in 1981 with a gift from the Charles and Margaret Hall Cushwa family of Youngstown, Ohio. Charles Cushwa, a 1931 Notre Dame graduate, had a love of history and a lifelong commitment to the vitality of American Catholicism. His wife was a graduate of Saint Mary’s College and a supporter of Catholic cultural and charitable organizations.

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