Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD

Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD

Thomas M. Kelly, MA, PhD

College of Arts and Sciences


  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Community-Based Learning/Service Learning
  • Liberation Theology
  • Church of Latin America
  • Social Justice and International Immersions
  • Christology
  • Ignatian Spirituality, Ignatian Leadership

Academic Appointments


  • Theology


  • Professor

Secondary Appointment

  • Administration


Thomas M. Kelly is a Professor of Theology at Creighton University. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame (’91) and his Ph.D. from Boston College (’99). From 1998-2002 he taught in the department of theology at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H and has been at Creighton University since 2002. Dr. Kelly has held various administrative positions at Creighton including being the founding director of the M.A. in Lay Ministry (2003-2005), the Academic Director of Encuentro Dominicano, Creighton University’s study abroad program in the Dominican Republic (2005-2007), Campus Director of Encuentro Dominicano (2007-2010), the M.A. in Theology (2009) and director of undergraduate majors (2010-2016). Dr. Kelly has taught immersion courses in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and Peru over the past ten years. He has utilized immersion education, especially in reference to Fair Trade practices, to educate first world university students about the reality of global poverty and suffering, the response to this by the Catholic Church as well as their own obligation to use their privilege to make a concrete difference in the world. Dr. Kelly is particularly proud of former students who have and continue to volunteer all over the world and then take up professions which “effectively will the good of others.” He has published nationally and internationally on topics ranging from philosophical hermeneutics, liberation theology, immersion education, marriage and social ethics. His latest books analyze the life, ministry and death of Rutilio Grande, S.J., the first Jesuit killed in civil war in El Salvador (1980-1992). When the Gospel Grows Feet (Liturgical Press, 2013) and Rutilio Grande: Homilies and Articles (Liturgical Press, 2015). One emphasis of this book is the importance of the understanding of “church” promoted by Fr. Grande in El Salvador. Of particular interest to Dr. Kelly is the way in which the Catholic Church responds or fails to respond to contemporary issues of peace and justice. Dr. Kelly has been married to his wife Lisa for 24 years and together they parent Andrew, Michael and Catherine. Both Dr. Kelly and his wife are members of Ignatian Associates, a lay organization committed to Ignatian Spirituality. The Kelly family has lived throughout Latin America including Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.
For a more thorough view of research, teaching and service please see his CV.

Publications and Presentations


  • , 111-126


  • , Book
  • , Book Chapter
  • , Fall 2019
  • , Conversations Fall 2019
  • , Fall 2019
  • , Fall 2019
  • , Supplement 16, 229-246
  • , Supplement 14, 58-79
  • , June 6-13, 2016
  • , Supplement 12
  • , Supplement 12, 176-188
  • , 11
  • , Supplement 11, January 2015
  • , 10
  • , 156, 6-6


Editing and Reviews

  • , 11
  • , 117
  • , 10


Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Concrete Ecclesiology, Community-Based Learning, Ignatian Formation, Liberation Theology, Church in Latin America, CST and Business/Economics

Current Research Projects

  • Ecclesiology in Latin America Community-Based Learning and Ignatian Formation

Grant Funding Received

  • October 2016: Faculty, staff and administrators from multiple colleges/schools applied to participate in an immersion program in the Dominican Republic/Haiti. Participants were chosen. January-February 2017: Four group meetings consisted of reading and discussing 16 articles focused on best practices in academic service-learning. Topics included community partnerships, student development, reflective practices and syllabus development. 2017: Two different groups immersed in the Dominican Republic, one in March the other in October. Lectures on public health, fair trade, sustainable agriculture and international migration border issues were complemented with visits and immersive practices to bring the material studied alive. Reflective practices were modelled. January 2018: Each participant authored a plan (staff/administrator) or course syllabus (faculty) to support or implement Academic Service-Learning in their area or class.
  • “Ecclesiology and Social Resistance in Peru.” (2012) This is an inter-disciplinary (sociology and theology) investigation, using personal interviews with survivors of Catholic communities and their resistance to the Shining Path during the Peruvian civil war (1980-2000).