In the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, these lighted votive candles give testimony to the very human instinct for ritual. Just the simple act of lighting a candle in a place of prayer speaks poignantly to the heart of many people. Some of my earliest memories are those quiet visits with my mother to light votive candles in an empty church. She trusted God would hear our prayers...and respond somehow, even if not quite the way she hoped. I still find comfort in lighting a tiny flame and lifting a silent prayer.
My work as a speaker, writer, teacher, and professor for more than two decades has involved helping people to pray and to lead others in the kind of worship we call "liturgy." I research and teach about rituals that empower us to connect with each other and with the Holy One whom we call by many names. Most recently, I have researched and have contributed to thinking about how my own parish has used and can potentially employ media production, social media and live-streaming to bring worshipers separated by the Covid-19 pandemic an experience of being a community at prayer, despite so many people not being able to gather physically within our sanctuary for liturgy.
As an Associate Professor of Liturgy, Arts, and Communications at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago for 16 years, I taught graduate theology and ministry students about sacramental rituals and communication rituals. I introduced them, and others, in contexts local and international, to the rituals of art-making in small groups. I showed them how creating art, including media arts for worship, can become an individual and communal spiritual practice.
In my retirement, I have continued to encourage parishioners to engage Photography & Writing as a Spiritual Practice. Many of participants' photos have become liturgical media art for our Zoom-enabled Liturgies for Hard Times and online Sunday Eucharists.
My work over these more than two decades has had many facets.
On this website I will offer you a glimpse of my many professional and personal interests as a liturgical scholar and theologian, communications professional, media producer, amateur photographer, and promoter of people of every age to engage in all things creative. My joy is to introduce people to how they together can "play in the Spirit."