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Rev. Daniel J. Issing, C.S.C., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology and Chair

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Fr. Daniel J. Issing, C.S.C., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Theology and Department Chair. He has taught at King's College since 2007 and is a vowed member of the Congregation of Holy Cross since 1986. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1990. He holds a bachelor's degree (A.B.) in theology and philosophy from Georgetown University, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from the University of Notre Dame, a licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.) from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and a doctorate in ethics and social theory (Ph.D.) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

Fr. Issing is a moral theologian, studied in the creative role of Catholic social teaching for public and religious institutions. He is influenced by Berkeley sociologist Jerome Karabel's examination of the injustice of admission practices at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. At King's, he typically teaches courses in Christian ethics, justice, and the common good. He employs an experiential pedagogy to help students explore the adventure of their own blessed life. His justice courses often include service activities and community involvement through the Shoval Center. His academic interests are ecclesial in nature, focusing on a modern faith ethic for persons and institutions, particularly Catholic colleges and universities. Fr. Dan preaches retreats and offers lectures in church matters within parish and diocesan settings. He also serves on the provincial council of the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province, and chairs its Higher Education Commission. Fr. Dan assists at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish across the river from King's.

Fr. Dan is fascinated by the pontificate of Pope Francis, the poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke, the virtue of precarity in radical Christian community, and what the philosopher-poet John O'Donoghue called the privileged intimacy of blessing at the thresholds of human life. "When a blessing is invoked," he said, "it changes the atmosphere."

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Rev. Russell K. McDougall, C.S.C., S.S.L.
Adjunct Professor of Theology

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Fr. Russ McDougall, CSC, originally from northwestern Indiana, studied at Notre Dame University, Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute (the Biblicum) in Rome. He made final vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1990 and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1991. He has served in parochial ministry at Holy Cross Parish in Nairobi, Kenya and as formation director, academic dean and lecturer in Old Testament at the Queen of Apostles Philosophy Centre in Jinja, Uganda. While at the Biblicum he was a frequent guest preacher in Anglican and Methodist congregations in Rome and Bologna, also collaborating in the programs of the Anglican Centre in Rome. From 2014-2020 he served as rector of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, where his ministry focused on promoting ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and engagement among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Since the fall semester of 2020 he has served as lecturer in theology and campus minister at King's, as superior of the local Holy Cross community on campus, and is a member of the Wyoming Valley Interfaith Council.

In Biblical studies he is a disciple of Luis Alonso-Schokel, SJ, an exegete of Spanish and German origin whose work bridged literary and historical lines of inquiry. His academic work has focused on Biblical narratives as works of art that invite those who enter them into an experience, and from that experience to form judgments regarding the artwork's truth value, judgments that ultimately impact decision.

In music his tastes are eclectic, from classical to folk to pop (Gustav Mahler, John Tavener, Francis Cabrel, Madredeus, Loreena McKennitt, Styx, 10,000 Maniacs). Favorite poets and authors include W.B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh, Buchi Emecheta and Annie Dillard. Exploring matters of faith with others who have experienced the living God makes theology a passionately engaging discipline for him.

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Joel J. Shuman, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology

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Dr. Joel James Shuman is Professor of Theology at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where he has taught for the past 20 years. A native of West Virginia, he was raised on the subsistence farm that his maternal great-great-grandparents homesteaded in the decade before the American Civil War. He attended Bethany (WV) College, where he was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams, and went on to graduate from the Program in Physical Therapy at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. After ten years as a physical therapist, he returned to school to pursue his interests in philosophy and theology. He earned the Master of Theological Studies (Summa cum laude) from Duke University Divinity School, and the Ph.D. in Religion, with a concentration in Theological Ethics, from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Duke University.

Although his academic interests are eclectic, much of Dr. Shuman's work happens at the intersection of moral theology with medicine and other applied biological sciences. An occasional public speaker and the author of dozens of popular and scholarly articles and book chapters, he has authored or co-authored four books and co-edited a fifth. He spent the 2018-19 academic year as the Scholar-in-Residence in the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School, where he taught and did research on the opioid crisis. He is currently working on a book on that subject, which will be published by Cascade Press.

Joel has been married since 1981 to Christine Faber Shuman. They are the parents of three adult children and have three grandsons, all of whom live in North Carolina. In his spare time, he enjoys carpentry, reading, and listening to good music. He and Chris share their house with Agnes the cat and Wendell, the almost-famous three-legged dog.

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Janice A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology

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Dr. Janice Thompson received her B.A. from St. John's College, Annapolis, M.A. from Boston College, and Ph.D. in systematic theology, with minors in historical theology and comparative theology from the University of Notre Dame. She wrote her dissertation on the post-Shoah Theology of Johann Baptist Metz. Dr. Thompson's central interest is in histories and experiences of human suffering.

She has published articles the Shoah and Metz's theology in "Renewing the Church as a Community of Hope: The German Catholic Church Confronts the Shoah," Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Summer 2016, and "Translating the Other: Political and Liberation Theologies in Dialogue," in Translating Religion, ed. Mary Doak and Anita Houck. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2012. She has explored other discussions of suffering in "Challenging Interpretations of Disability and Incarnation in Vassar Miller's Poetry of Connection" in Christianity & Literature, Volume 70, Issue 4 (December 2021), and "Making Room for the Other: Maternal Mourning and Eschatological Hope," Modern Theology, Summer 2011, and "Want to Tell You Margaret's Story," Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 2006. She has also published a short article about using the Book of Job in the classroom to introduce theological responses to suffering in "Joining Job's Courtroom," Teaching Theology and Religion, Volume 17, Number 2, April 2014.

Dr. Thompson's interests in dialogue between religious traditions have allowed her to participate in extended seminars or workshops building such dialogue, including The Program on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Indigenous Cultural Awareness Certificate, at the 2018 Parliament of World Religions, Toronto, Canada, and in the Teaching Interfaith Understanding Seminar, held at Boston College. She participates regularly in theology conferences.

Dr. Thompson grew up in Canada, both Montreal and Toronto, where her original plan was to go into medicine (to alleviate suffering that way) before she became drawn to all the different theological struggles to express and respond to experiences of suffering. She loves the way teaching allows her to work with people and books, and especially to explore different theological responses to suffering, especially why some responses can be hurtful and others can be healing.

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Rev. Michael B. Wurtz, C.S.C., S.L.D. (Cand.)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology

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Michael Wurtz, CSC began teaching at King's College in the Fall of 2019. After receiving his BA and MDiv from the University of Notre Dame he professed Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross and was ordained a priest in 2003-04. After serving for three years as Associate Pastor of a South Bend parish he earned an MA in Liturgical Studies from St. John's University, Collegeville (MN). Having assisted for a year at the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy and taught in Notre Dame's theology department, he began doctoral studies in Liturgical Studies at the Pontifical University of Sant'Anselmo, Rome. His dissertation reviewed the recent textual history of liturgical formation for the priesthood and how it interacts with the theological approaches of A. Schumann, A. Kavanagh, and D. Fagerberg.

Wurtz serves as an officer on the board for the Society for Catholic Liturgy, provides chaplaincy service to the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy Summer Program, is moderator of the King's College Aquinas Society, the faculty moderator for the local college chapter of the Knights of Columbus, and in 2021-22 served as the acting-chairman for the Annual Moreau Lecture. Additionally, Wurtz regularly provides sacramental assistance in area parishes including the Personal Ordinariate of St. Peter's St. Thomas More Parish and their English usage of the Mass.

Fr. Wurtz typically teaches Introduction to the New Testament as well as Ecclesiology. As needed, Wurtz teaches a Liturgical Theology course to theology majors and in the Fall of 2022 will teach a theology course for the King's Honor College.

Fr. Wurtz's main theological interest is in Liturgical Theology which wonders at the mystical relationship between Heaven and Earth, the engagement of the loving God with a yearning humanity. Or, as the late great Fr. Romano Guardini said in reference to Michelangelo's famous scene of God gifting life to Adam with an outstretched arm, liturgy is that small but significant gap between the grace-filled finger of God who hopes to give life and the hope-filled finger of Adam who longs to be one with the Father.