This course examines the nature of the church and its emerging challenges, especially regarding the ministry of her ordained ministers. This course considers both classic, historical insights and new directions in ecclesiology. Central to the course is a critical examination of two documents of the Second Vatican Council: The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium) and The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes). In many respects, the entire course is an extended dialogue with these two foundational documents. Through it all, however, our focus is pastoral: how can our image of Church enhance our ministries?
The deacon is described as "a minister of Word, Altar, Charity and Justice." In this online seminar course, an exposition of the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church will bring to light the dogmatic foundations of the Diaconate. By researching the liturgical and social history of the Order, students will be encouraged to develop theological descriptions of the Diaconate that are consistent with the official teachings of the Magisterium.
A review of the theological and historical development of the Church. Particular attention is paid to the history of the Church in the United States. Study of the important issues, controversies and persons in the history of the Church and their impact on the present view of the Church’s mission and vision.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) may well be the Church’s “best kept secret.” CST is rich in political insight. Yet, Catholics in recent years have had considerable difficulty reconciling their faith, including the explicit teachings of CST, with the political choices offered in American politics. This course introduces Catholic Social Teaching, its place within Catholic doctrine, and its response to contemporary challenges of society, politics, and economy. It also considers Catholic Social Teaching’s relation to contemporary American ideologies. The course is designed as a core intellectual component of deacon formation. However, any deacon candidate, deacon, or colleague in ministry may find this course useful for ongoing formation in Catholic teaching. Facilitator: Deacon Clarke Cochran, PhD
This course in Catechesis in intended to afford the student a broad foundation in Christian Instruction (which is rendered by the term “Catechesis,” from the ancient Greek). The premise is theological and practical, which will afford the student a perspective on the essence and methods of Christian instruction and development. Course participants will establish a firm foundation and spiritual context for catechesis.
Particular emphasis is placed on an appreciation of the Catechumenate in the Church, and why the reforms of the Second Vatican Council have insisted that many of its elements be reintroduced in the spiritual and intellectual formation of those seeking admission to the Church.
This course is designed for those who will be responsible for the planning and implementing of faith formation within the parish and other communities. The course provides a central philosophy of catechesis. The reading assignments and presentations will lay the foundation for understanding catechesis and will point to texts, journals, websites and parishes that provide and practice various models. The course will encourage conversation and mutual learning about the foundation and premises of catechesis, as well as approaches to parish faith formation across the life span, with the goal of assisting all who bear this responsibility in carrying out their ministry.
Catechesis is especially important in the formation of deacon candidates and in post-ordination continuing formation, as deacons are the ordinary ministers of the Gospel as preachers and teachers, and often bear catechetical responsibilities in their assignments.