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  • About This Issue
  • Thomas Rzeznik, Co-editor

Those familiar with this journal know that there is no individual who has been more instrumental in its establishment and ongoing success than Rodger Van Allen. Quite simply, American Catholic Studies would not exist had it not been for his vision and leadership. For the past eighteen years, he has worked to make this journal what it is today: a leading voice in the field, committed to an interdisciplinary exploration of American Catholicism in all its dynamism and diversity.

It is only fitting, therefore, that we honor Rodger for his great many contributions to this journal on the occasion of his retirement as co-editor of American Catholic Studies. We open this issue with two tributes to him, one by his long-time friend and Villanova colleague, Walter Conn, and the other by his former co-editor, Maggie McGuinness. Together, they make clear just how much Rodger has done for the journal and the remarkable spirit that has characterized his academic career.

As his co-editor for the past five years, I need to I add my own word of appreciation for all that Rodger has done. Having no idea what this work would entail when I was first brought on board, it was through his example that I learned how to approach the task. Working alongside him has allowed me to witness the editor’s craft practiced at its best. The material that came to the journal was always to receive a critical, yet generous, evaluation. He insisted on maintaining high standards, but also knew when to exercise editorial restraint. He valued both rigorous scholarship and engaging narrative, believing that scholarly work should remain accessible to non-specialists. Each issue reflects Rodger’s remarkable magnanimity.

As we strive to continue the good work that Rodger first began, I am pleased to welcome to Dr. Nicholas Rademacher of Cabrini University as our new co-editor. Nick has served the journal faithfully as an associate editor since 2014, steadily taking on more and more responsibility. Author most recently of Paul Hanly Furfey: Priest, Scientist, Social Reformer (Fordham University Press, 2017), he brings to the journal a strong background in religious studies, theology, and Catholic social teaching. We look forward to his continued contributions to these pages.

But there is perhaps no better tribute to Rodger than to take up the journal and enjoy! We are pleased to feature in this issue a collection of short essays on the sociology of Catholic parishes in a forum edited by Tricia Bruce (Maryville College), whose own new book, Parish and Place, is the focus of our review symposium. We also have an article on Thomas Merton and his contribution to the 1967 Synod of Bishops by Patrick O’Connell (Gannon University). We dedicate this issue to you, Rodger. Thank you for all you’ve done! [End Page 1]



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