Catholic Studies

Upcoming Event: Catholicism, the Society of Jesus, and Encounters With Indigenous Peoples:  Stories, Experiences, and Lessons from the Life of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  

Hosted by The Gonzaga University Catholic Studies Program


The Catholic Studies Program at Gonzaga University provides its students with an opportunity to enrich their undergraduate experience through a focused engagement with the history, theology, traditions, teachings, and cultural legacies of the Catholic Church. In addition to providing a rigorous interdisciplinary grounding in the history, ideals, and practices of Catholicism, the Program invites students to take part in the ancient and ongoing conversation between the Church and the various cultures of the world. In seeking to understand and more fully appreciate the relationship between the eternal truths of the Catholic faith and their various expressions in time and place, the program faithfully and rigorously responds to Pope John Paul II's call for "a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and culture"(Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Part I A.3:43). The Society of Jesus, in its most recent General Congregation, echoed this same desire its identification and commitment for serious and rigorous research between Catholicism and the contemporary world, culture and other religions. (General Congregation 35 Doc. 1 par. 7)

The Program takes as its model the Incarnation, a discrete historical event that speaks to men and women of all times and places. The theme of incarnation, i.e., the embodiment of God in the world, pervades the program as it searches for and celebrates the eternal truths of the Catholic faith in the variety of its concrete expressions throughout history. Our explorations incorporate, but are not limited to, the disciplines of art history, literature, languages, history, philosophy, and theology.

Method of Study

The Catholic Studies program identifies Catholicism as the body of thought and culture that both informs our University's mission and inhabits the world beyond Gonzaga as a phenomenon clearly present but often difficult to detect in its various modes of culture and domains of knowledge. We operate with the idea that Catholicism, and the world it interpenetrates, can be better understood by investigating its particular and universal natures. We do this through a series of integrated courses that consider Catholicism as both the over-arching theme of the curriculum, and the core theme of each individual course. Accordingly, Catholic Studies will be grounded in Church doctrine since doctrine establishes the foundation for an understanding of knowledge, and offers a guide for interpreting how Catholicism has developed in the course of history and how it reveals itself in literature, science, and the visual arts. A fundamental course on Catholic doctrine will provide the distinguishing parameters for concepts such as sacramentality, incarnation, sin, and redemption.

502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258-0111

Fr. Michael Maher
Phone: (509) 313-6609

Dr. Eric Cunningham
Phone: (509) 313-5973