On Thursday, June 2, the University will celebrate a realized vision for the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies that Mark Massa, S.J., had when the center was founded in 2004.

“Nearly 20-some years ago, Mark had a vision, a plan—some might say a determination—to establish the center at Fordham,” said Connie Curran, who, with her late husband, John Curran, Ph.D., PHA ’66, has been the center’s chief benefactor. “Father Massa set out to put Fordham on the map as a center for Catholic studies, and that is exactly what has happened. …You can’t help but to be proud of the work that has been achieved.”

Curran said that Father Massa laid the groundwork for his successors to make the center one of the nation’s premier centers on Catholic studies that it is today.

To honor his efforts, the University will host Music, Mingling, and Magis with Father Massa on June 2. Proceeds from the benefit will go toward the Mark S. Massa, S.J., Curran Center Magis Fund. And Father Massa will be there, ready to mingle.

For tickets to the event, which includes a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., register by Thursday, May 19.

Father Massa joined the Fordham University faculty in 1987. He received a distinguished teaching award from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1994 and, seven years later, established The Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at the University. He served as its director until 2010. He was also the first holder of Fordham’s Karl Rahner Chair in Theology.

The center remained a small program with big ambitions—Father Massa once called it “a phone
and a desk on the third floor of Keating Hall”—until the Currans stepped in with an endowment.

Today the center presents programs on arts, culture, and ideas throughout the academic year. Its most recent program examined Billie Holiday’s Catholic background in a lecture and live performance. The center is also an internationally recognized base for Flannery O’Connor studies. Other recent events have focused on liberation and womanist theologies, Irish poetry, Joe Biden’s Catholicism, and Puerto Rican migration.

Father Massa left Fordham in 2010 to become dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, where he is now director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life. His influence continues to be felt at the center where he is regarded as a guiding spirit.


Tom Stoelker is senior staff writer and visual media coordinator for Fordham News. After fifteen years as a freelance designer, Tom shifted his focus to writing and photography. He graduated from Lehman College, CUNY where he majored in English literature and photography and he received his master's in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Wall Street Journal, and The Architect's Newspaper, where he was associate editor.