The Catholic Social and Pastoral Research Initiative (CSPRI- pronounced CaSPRI) was conceived as a collaboration between the Institute for Church Life and the Center for the Study of Religion and Society.  CSPRI inhabits an intellectual space touching both the academic world and the everyday reality of faith and practice within the Catholic Church.

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Blog Contributors


Dr. Gary Adler

Gary Adler is Director of Research at the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies (and senior research associate at USC). His interests come together at the intersection of religious organizations, cultural processes, and various forms of voluntary action and social activism. Recent research projects have addressed the cultural boundaries of American congregations, the patterns of services provision by Catholic parishes to immigrants, and the causes and outcomes of short-term international immersion trips. He holds an MA in Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Arizona in 2012.


Dr. Carol Ann MacGregor

Carol Ann MacGregor joined Loyola University New Orleans as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Fall of 2012 after completing her Ph.D at Princeton University. Her dissertation, which she is currently turning into a book manuscript, looks at the causes and consequences of the closing of Catholic schools (K-12) in the United States. More generally, her research focuses on three important social institutions that shape many individuals’ lives: schools, religious organizations, and voluntary associations. Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Social Science Research, Research in the Sociology of Work, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and Poetics.


Dr. Michael McCallion

Michael J. McCallion received his Ph.D. in sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit and his M.A. in liturgy/theology from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He is primarily interested in the sociology of religion, spending whatever time he can studying liturgical worship and evangelization from that perspective. His wife Catherine and he reside in Clinton Township and have three sons ages 23, 20, and 11.




Lucas Sharma

Lucas Sharma is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago. He is currently working on an ethnographic study of two parishes, which explores how parishioners construct distinct parish cultures around politics. He is also interested in young adult Catholics and politics as well as urban sociology and housing policy. He has a BA in Sociology and Economics from Gonzaga University.




Dr. Michael Cieslak

Michael Cieslak is director of research and planning for the Diocese of Rockford (Illinois), a position he has held since earning his doctorate from Northern Illinois University 28 years ago. He is responsible for strategic planning, evaluation, and leadership development. Cieslak also serves as the chair of the Catholic Research Forum, an association of researchers and planners interested in applied research. Cieslak has published in the Review of Religious Research and regularly presents papers on applied research at the RRA annual meeting. He was an author of a National Study of Parish Reorganization, and for this research shared in the Lumen Gentium Award in 2008.


Dr. David DeLambo

David DeLambo is Associate Director of Pastoral Planning for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, where he staffs diocesan-wide planning initiatives and provides direct assistance to pastoral councils, parish staffs, and diocesan offices in the areas of pastoral planning, research, and leadership development.  He has a Masters in Pastoral Planning and Research and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham University, and is a member of the Catholic Research Forum.  With the former National Pastoral Life Center in Manhattan, he conducted three national studies of lay parish ministry for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  He has published on a variety of topics related to pastoral planning, parish ministry and pastoral excellence.


Sarah Moran

Sarah Moran is a graduate student in theology at the University of Notre Dame.  After completing her B.A. in English at Regis University, she served for two years as a Notre Dame Mission Volunteer in South Africa, where she was taught in a rural Catholic high school.  She began pursuing a Masters in Theological Studies in 2012, with a concentration in moral theology.




Linda Kawentel

Linda Kawentel is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame.  She recently completed her M.A. in sociology with her thesis focusing on the experiences of young Catholic sisters who have chosen to wear the religious habit.  Prior to coming to Notre Dame she completed a B.A. at John Carroll University with majors in Political Science and Theology and Religious Studies as well as a M.A. in Theology and Religious Studies also at John Carroll. Her research interests are in religion and family with a particular interest in Catholicism.




Dr. Isis Leslie

Isis Leslie is currently studying theology at the University of Notre Dame. She is interested in intersections between theology, spirituality, political theory, and the African diaspora in the United States. She also has a special interest in the reunification of the Oriental, Eastern, and Catholic communions. Isis earned her Ph.D. in political science with a concentration in political theory from Rutgers University in 2005 and has taught political theory at Texas Tech University, Georgetown University, and the George Washington University. She also previously worked as a consultant for the American Political Science Association.