PA980EE Pastoral Theology, the Art and Science of Shepherding

Pastoral theology examines the relationship between the doctrine of the Church and its practice, especially in the context of the local Church and parish. The course looks at pastoral theology and praxis as it developed from Vatican II, with a special focus on the role of pastoral ministers in pastoral care.

The documents of Vatican II, Papal Encyclicals, and contemporary writings form the foundation of the course. The main texts will be Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, with supplementary material drawn from A Roman Catholic Theology of Pastoral Care by Regis A Duffy, OFM, (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishing) and Ethics in Pastoral Ministry by Richard Gula, S.S., (New York: Paulist Press). Attention will be given to the pastoral thought of Pope Francis.

PA960EE Planning and Conducting Funeral and Memorial Services

This course is concerned with how a deacon, pastoral associate, member of a bereavement committee, or anyone helping in the planning of funerals deals with the different aspects of the funeral from the beginning stages of death right up through the final burial and committal service.  The course begins with a look at how the parish representative or deacon might help a family deal with the death of a loved one and plan a funeral service.  The current Roman Catholic guidelines covering vigils and calling hours, the funeral mass, memorial services, committal services, graveside services, and cremations are looked at and discussed thoroughly.  In addition, suggestions are made regarding music and scripture and the how and when to use eulogies, sermons, and words of remembrance.

The course also discusses how to handle what might be considered problematic funerals including services for infants, suicides, tragic deaths, multiple deaths, and deaths of clergy members and important members of the community.  The course concludes with how best to use modern technology and social media in preparing for funeral and memorial services and some helpful information and resources.

This course is meant for any those who may preside at a funeral, vigil, memorial, graveside or committal service or those helping in the preparation of any funeral liturgy or anyone who may be helping a priest in funeral liturgy.

PA950EE Health Care Ministry

 This course is designed to introduce participants to the chaplaincy in a health care environment in a hospital and (to some extent) in a skilled nursing facility (SNF).  The health care chaplain is discussed in relation to six major roles performed.  Basic responsibilities and day-to-day tasks are discussed in detail.

PA940EE Implementing the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults

The current Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was promulgated January 6, 1972 and the use of the Rite was made mandatory in all U.S. Dioceses in September of 1988. The RCIA is a process through which non-baptized and baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. It includes four distinct stages of formation:

  • Evangelization or Pre-catechumenate
  • Catechumenate
  • Period of Purification and Enlightenment
  • Mystagogy

In 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published the results of a three-year study on the implementation of the Rite, Journey to the Fullness of Life. The results of this comprehensive study make it clear that the RCIA is essential for the rich and healthy life of the Church in the United States. It is also clear from the study that the implementation of the Rite can be improved in many ways and that the Rite must continue to be a major priority in the local parishes.

PA930EE Marriage Practicum

 This course focuses on developing skills that are essential to deacons in the pastoral setting of pre-marriage counseling and preparation: the ability to assess and summarize various information to the sacramental nature of marriage, and the capacity to develop a pastoral care approach to the couple’s vision of the wedding. Both challenges require deacons to think purposefully and integrate various communication skills. Deacons apply these skills in several contexts: couple premarital meetings, marriage team meetings, and marriage presentations. Being able to understand and communicate fundamental marriage issues, identify the sacramental challenges, and delineate essential elements of alternatives or recommendations require a comprehensive understanding of marriage in the United States multicultural and interfaith society. Being able to develop and refine a pastoral care approach is essential in evangelizing the Church’s position on marriage and influencing newly married couples to live out a sacramental marriage. In this course, deacons learn how to analyze pre-marriage situations, purposefully develop approaches for structure and style for each couple, and construct methods to handle conflicts among couples. 

This Marriage Practicum course, through which we deliver to deacons and ministry students, contributes to students’ development and specifically includes working with students to improve overarching ministry objectives. The goals and outcomes of the course are based on the four-fold dimensions–spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and human. Spiritual Formation sustains a lifetime of service and advances that continual conversion of mind and heart so necessary for today’s society. Intellectual Formation assimilates professional theological education consonant to represent and apply the Church’s Tradition to today’s world. Pastoral Formation develops capacities for religious and public leadership. Human Formation involves the attainment of the maturity demanded of ordained ministry as a deacon. These dimensions are found in the National Directory of Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Also, students in this course gain knowledge about topics that are essential issues in ministry, specifically to this course how they relate to marriage formation. 

PA920EE Marriage and Family

PA920EE Marriage and Family

Upon completion of this course, the Deacon will be able to:

  • Assist parishioners in pastoral needs of their marriages and families
  • Using principles drawn from the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family, assist parishioners in their growth and healing in marital and family relationships.
  • Become familiar and comfortable with referring to appropriate community resources that represent Catholic values and beliefs.
  • Become more familiar with and utilize existing resources from the U.S. Bishops website/s on marriage and family.
  • Educate staff and parishioners to available resources to strengthen marriages and families, with emphasis on normal developmental needs.
  • Distinguish between, pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, clinical counseling, and psychiatric needs of parishioners.
  • Reflect more fully on the integral relationship between the deacon’s personal experience of the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony

PA910EE Principles of Catechetics

Designed for deacons, lay ministers and volunteers who will be involved in planning and implementing faith formation for all ages and anyone interested in learning more about emerging models of catechesis. The course will provide a survey of emerging models and approaches to faith formation. The reading assignments and presentations will point to texts, journals, web sites and parishes that provide and practice the models described. The course will encourage conversation and mutual learning about all approaches to parish faith formation across the life span with the goal of assisting all who bear this responsibility.