About the Center

Established as the Center for Pastoral Studies in 1977, the LMU Center for Religion and Spirituality is one of the University's interdisciplinary centers and an embodiment of its commitment to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, neighboring dioceses, and communities of faith throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. 

The purpose of the Center is to provide educational opportunities for adult learners that strengthen their religious and spiritual formation as ministers, educators, and leaders committed to the service of faith and the promotion of justice in their own communities. 

The Center carries out this purpose in three ways: bilingual (English and Spanish) continuing education in theology, ministry and spirituality with an emphasis in pastoral leadership; research in pastoral theology with an emphasis in intercultural and interreligious dynamics; and institutional outreach to local parishes, religious institutions and faith-based organizations.


Meet the women and men who teach in and direct our professional programs at the Center. Visit the Faculty web page >>


Robert A. Hurteau, Ph.D.

Robert A. Hurteau, Ph.D. is director of the Center for Religion and Spirituality and a former missionary who has continued right on since with a multitude of service-oriented roles in pastoral and theological fields with a keen focus on diversity. Dr. Hurteau presently serves as interim senior director of LMU Extension, the Center's parent unit.

Since becoming director in 2005, Dr. Hurteau has greatly expanded offerings in Hispanic theology and ministry, and worked in partnership with the Los Angeles African American Catholic Center for Evangelization to bring into existence a program in African American Ministry. He has been heavily involved in constructive dialogue between various religions and peoples, standing firmly in partnership with the Los Angeles Hindu-Catholic Dialogue, the Los Angeles Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue, and local initiatives for Jewish-Catholic relations.

Dr. Hurteau is a member (and past president) of the Association of Professors of Mission, and a volunteer with its sister organization, the American Society of Missiology, currently serving on its board of publications.  He is currently a board member and president of the Federation of Pastoral Institutes (La Federación de Institutos Pastorales), and a member of the California Catholic Conference (CCC) education committee.

Dr. Hurteau recently authored A Worldwide Heart: The Life of Maryknoll Father John J. Considine, a biography on Maryknoll missionary John Considine that offers a look into the U.S. Catholic missionary movement in the twentieth century.


Michael McNaught
Assistant Director

Michael McNaught assists in the general and academic administration of the Center, as well as the Martin Gang Institute for Intergroup Relations, and has oversight of a number of professional programs and sponsored projects.

McNaught’s professional work and academic interests include interreligious dialogue, catechetics, as well as religion in popular culture. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the local Los Angeles Buddhist Catholic Dialogue, a sponsored bilateral dialogue of the Archdiocese and the Buddhist communities of Los Angeles.

Prior to this appointment at LMU, Mr. McNaught worked in television production and marketing at Disney, ABC Television, and Scholastic Publishing. Today, he has remained active in the filmmaking community serving as a festival jurist and production consultant. He is the current president of Catholics In Media Associates (CIMA), the Catholic-peer association for the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Mr. McNaught currently serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s Academy, a private high school in Inglewood.


Elsy Arévalo
Assistant Director

Elsy Arévalo comes with over a decade of experience working in key leadership positions in the nonprofit sector. As the director of the Mentoring Institute, director of the California Mentoring Project, and Technical Assistance manager for the U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Project she provided vision, direction, and oversight to training and technical assistance initiatives, served as a key presenter at nationwide forums and conferences, and developed training curricula and materials.

Ms. Arévalo has extensive experience working directly with diverse communities including minority youth, immigrant families, and individuals in crisis. She obtained her Masters in Pastoral Theology with a specialization in Spiritual Direction from Loyola Marymount University.