This course introduces the Pentateuch and Historical Books of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch is the origin story of Israel, told against the backdrop of creation, sin and God’s promise to bless all humanity in Abraham. God saves Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites, from their enemies, invites them to become his people through an eternal covenant, and teaches them how to live holy lives in community with others. The Historical Books tell the story of this covenant from Israel’s occupation of the land of Canaan in the 12th century BC to the achievement of national independence under the Maccabees in the 2nd century BC. This thousand-year epic reveals the highs and lows of the human condition – fidelity and betrayal, violence and healing, exile and restoration – and the omnipresence of God’s grace and truth.

In addition to being foundational for Jews and Judaism, this literature is essential reading for Christians. Jesus proclaimed the impending arrival of God’s kingdom; the Pentateuch and Historical Books show us what that kingdom looks like. Jesus commanded his followers to love God and neighbor; the Pentateuch and Historical Books define what that love entails. Christians confess Jesus to be the incarnation of God’s revelatory Word; the Pentateuch and Historical Books portray that Word active in history before he became flesh. Ignorance of these books is ignorance of Christ.

This course will explore the Pentateuch and Historical Books through the recently revised translations, notes and introductions of the New American Bible authorized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (NABRE). This is the form in which US deacons are most likely to encounter these texts in their preaching, teaching and evangelization. The course will familiarize them with this central resource for ministry and formation.

This course takes in a broad view of philosophy from the ancient Greek philosophers all the way to the philosophers of our own time. The elements of philosophy with which we are specifically concerned are those that have influenced the development of Catholic theology. We will open the course with assigned readings from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Fides et ratio (Faith and reason); we will do sections of that encyclical over a period of several weeks. In addition, the course draws on the encyclopedic nine-volume work A History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston, S.J. Fr. Copleston taught at Oxford University for a number of years. We will also have readings from Philosophy for Understanding Theology, by Diogenes Allen and Eric Springsted. You will need a bible to refer to certain scripture passages that are relevant; and you will need access to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
DO701DE Ecclesiology Abstract.pdfDO701DE Ecclesiology Abstract.pdf

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?

Sacramental Theology

PA420CE The Call, Mission and Spirituality of the Permanent Deacon Syllabus.pdfPA420CE The Call, Mission and Spirituality of the Permanent Deacon Syllabus.pdf

This course offers the students an opportunity to examine the diaconate by examining its biblical, patristic and canonical roots, its decline and ultimate renewal authorized by the Second Vatican Council.  The emergence of contemporary theologies of the diaconate will also be explored, based on a spirituality of the diaconate which is grounded in the deacon’s sacramental initiation and ordination, coupled with an approach to diaconal ministry which is at once similar yet distinct from the sacerdotal orders of the episcopate and presbyterate.