Karla J. Bellinger

Bellinger Pic Sq

Associate Director of the John S. Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics


Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching, Aquinas Institute, St. Louis, MO
M.A. in Systematic Theology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
B.S. in Forestry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Research and Teaching Interests

Empirical research in the field of homiletics: 

Bellinger focuses on the practical side of theological study, asking, "How do we connect the good news with our people?" and "How do we take our rich theology and put it into words that transform peoples' lives?"

2012 doctoral thesis: "Are You Talking to Me? A Study of Young Listeners' Connection with Catholic Sunday Preaching"

2013 empirical study of the relationship between preaching and catechesis, in conjunction with the National Conference for Catechetical Leaders (NCCL)

2011 clergy interviews about meeting the ongoing formational needs of those who practice in the field

Recent Publications


2014. Connecting Pulpit and Pew: Breaking Open the Conversation about Catholic Preaching, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Book chapters: 

2015. “Ten Ways to Make it Stick: The Importance of Connection for Preaching and Teaching” in To All the World: Preaching and the New Evangelization, ed. Michael Connors, CSC, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

2013. “Connecting with the Next Generation” in Do Not Quench the Spirit! Celebrating Fifty Years of Vatican II. Worship Works Series: Practical Guides for Liturgy, Alan Hommerding, ed. World Library Publications.


2016. "Preaching Beauty," Church Life Journal. http://churchlife.nd.edu/2016/07/18/preaching-beauty/.

2016. "Pentecost is for Preachers: The Mysticism of the Homiletic Movement," Church Life Journal. http://churchlife.nd.edu/2016/05/09/pentecost-for-preachers-the-mysticism-of-the-homiletic-moment/

2015. “Catholic Women in Homiletic Leadership,” Homiletic, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Winter, 2015).

2014. “Would You Recommend It to a Friend? The Prickly (but Possible) Relationship between Homiletics Assessment and Customer Satisfaction Studies,” paper presented for the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR), November 1, 2014.

2014. “The Elephant in the Room: Catechetical Leaders Speak about the Sunday Homily,” Catechetical Leader, March 2014, vol 25, Number 2, 20-24. 

2013. “To Be Young and Catholic in the United States: Finding Ways to Let the Holy Spirit Evangelize for You,”Momentum, November/December, 2013.

2013. “And… How Is It Going? Preaching Assessment as a Difficult Conversation” white paper for the Academy of Homiletics conference “Preaching Difficult Conversations,” Louisville, KY, December, 2013.

2012. “Implementing the Vision of Vatican II: What is the Future of Preaching?” Seminary Journal, Vatican II, Winter 2012.

2013. “Vatican II: Connecting with the Next Generation,” AIM: Liturgy Resources, Fall 2013.

2013. “My Heart Burns within Me: Sunday Preaching and the Catechesis of Young People,” Catechetical Leader, May 2013


“The Holy Spirit as Connector in Liturgical Preaching,” Maronite Catholic National Convention, Cleveland, OH, July 2015.

“Bogged Down or Bubbling with Joy: Building Relationships through the Liturgical Homily,” Keynote address for the Midwest Clergy Convention for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, OH, April, 2015.

“10 Ways to Make Human Connection with Today’s Catholic Youth,” workshop for the National Catholic Educators Association (NCEA) Convention, Orlando FL, April, 2015, and the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), Indianapolis, IN, November 2015.

“Preaching Better: Words that Set Hearts on Fire,” Keynote address for the Deacon and Wives Convocation for the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, March, 2015.

“Francis and Francis: Living into the Holy Joy of the Gospel,” Diocesan Lay Convocation, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Center for Pastoral Leadership, Wickliffe, OH, October 24, 2014.

“Sunday Preaching with Young People: How Do We Connect?” workshop for the clergy track at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), Indianapolis, IN, November, 2013.


Karla J. Bellinger has been a preaching consultant and researcher, directing the Center for Preaching, Evangelization, and Prayer since completing her doctoral work in preaching with a Catholic listener study of youth. She has also been a hospital chaplain, high school theology teacher, youth minister, retreat leader, parish pastoral associate, and soccer and volleyball coach. As a wife and mother of five emerging adults, she lives and breathes the language of young people. Her greatest joy in life is sharing the gospel in ways that transform.




Department of Theology
B006 Malloy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556