About the Program

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The John S. Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics began in 1983 with a generous gift from John S. and Virginia Marten of Indianapolis.  Mr. and Mrs. Marten took a special interest in the Sunday homilies they heard over the years at their parish and wanted to do something to support the training of future preachers. 

The Martens had already founded a Marten Program at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, one of the largest Catholic seminaries in the United States. 

Since John Marten's untimely death in 1985, Virginia Marten and her family have remained vitally interested in and supportive of the Marten Program.  

Fr. John Allyn Melloh, S.M. was the founding director of the Notre Dame Marten Program. He retired from the faculty in 2008.


Over the years, the Marten Program has sponsored Preaching and Liturgical Celebration courses in the Master of Divinity Program, along with various workshops, guest lectureships and conferences.  An annual event is the Marten Lecture in Homiletics.

marten_group_smThe Marten Program is grateful to the Marten family for their continuing support of homiletics. Pictured at the National Festival of Young Preachers (from left): Fr. Mike Connors CSC; MDiv students Mike Urbaniak, Dennis Strach CSC, Chase Pepper CSC; Mrs. Virginia Marten; MDiv student Mary Beth Ashley May; Jim Marten.

 In 2012, the Marten Program began its summer preaching conferences. These conferences have led to the publication of several books.

The William A.Toohey, C.S.C. Notre Dame Preaching Academy launched in January of 2016.

The Marten Program has collaborated with a number of offices and entities both on and off campus.  National partners have included the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Coalition on Preaching, the Catholic Association of Teachers of HomileticsSocietas Liturgica, the North American Academy of Liturgy, the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, and the Academy of Preachers.

Collaborations within Notre Dame include the Department of Theology, the Institute for Church Life, the Notre Dame Center for LiturgyCampus Ministry, and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism