PA830CE Best Practices for Pastoral Administrators and Directors

This course provides parish administrators and those preparing for this function with a comprehensive and practical overview of the canonical, administrative, legal, and financial issues that may be encountered.  It provides a variety of relevant scenarios likely to present themselves to an administrator and does so in a practical context.  Some of the specific topics addressed include parish administration defined and described; the relationship between the church and the state; procuring goods and services for the parish; copying materials for use in parish activities; potential parish physical liability issues; managing parish employees; parish fundraising activities and government regulation of festivals, bingo, games of chance and alcohol; parish facilities – land use and zoning issues; the parish’s tax-exempt status; parish confidentiality issues; the protection of children and boundary issues; and managing the parish’s finances.

PA820CE Introduction to Grief Counseling and Ministry

This course is designed to allow the participant to explore the many facets of a person who is grieving the loss of someone close to them.  Completion of this course will allow the participant to identify with those who bereave and allow the participant to experience a methodology of counseling that will be healing and helpful to the bereaved.

The participant will explore the attitude that we have toward death; define what grief and bereavement mean; identify factors that influence different reactions to grief; examine different bereavement scenarios; identify memorial and funeral services used to heal the bereaved and bring closure; consider cultural differences among various religions; explore the healing process through counseling; learn how to develop a good grief group; and list professional organizations and helpful resources for the bereaved and those who help them.

In addition, each participant will be assigned the role of acting as a counselor to another participant who will play the role of a bereaved person, thereby allowing the participants to gain practical insight into the theoretical basis of the course.    Participants will be required to give a weekly report on the progress of their assigned counselee, and each counselee will give a weekly report on the work of their assigned counselor.

Completion of the course does not certify the participant to act as a licensed or certified grief counselor but serves as an introductory level course that will help the participant understand the grieving process and successfully conduct individual or group grief counseling sessions.

PA731CE The Spiritual Life: The Practice of Discernment in Prayer

The course leads the student on a spiritual journey of intimacy with God that can bring healing to the minister and those who are cared for. The journey of this course involves both the head and heart. The course focuses on the theological and Biblical background and some of the basic ways to pray and discern the spiritual life. Through Lectio Divina pathways will be opened to contemplative prayer. The full and personal meaning of Diakonia will be discussed. Included are step-by-step meditations and devotional guides for prayer experiences that help to internalize and adopt the basics of spirituality.

PA730CE Canon Law

This course has been developed specifically to address the canon law topics which most frequently arise in the ministry of deacons, based on numerous requests from officers and members of the National Association of Diaconate Directors, headquartered here at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus Ohio.  Canon Law plays an important part in every element of the deacon’s ministry.  As Doctor Edward Peters, JCL, JCD of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit has remarked:  “Most cradle Catholics, having grown up with a vague awareness of the presence of canon law-however incomplete and even erroneous their understanding of Church law might be-are much less likely to pose questions about the operation of canon law unless, perchance, they find themselves directly affected by it. Not so with candidates for conversion; they are motivated to ask questions about all facets of Church life.” As deacons, in addition to being guided by the precepts of canon law, you’ll be seen as a de facto subject-matter expert by many with whom you come into contact.

PA720CE Intermediate Homiletics: Preaching the Lectionary

This course begins with a quick review of the basics of homiletics as described in contemporary magisterial teaching.   The course will then quickly move in the practical dimensions of preparing homilies through a critical and prayerful reading of the scriptures associated with the various seasons of the Liturgical Year, as well as using the Liturgical Year itself as a valuable resource in preaching.  Student homilies will be uploaded and viewed by the rest of the class, giving an opportunity for constructive feedback.  Included will be opportunities for preaching at seasonal celebrations such as the sacred Triduum, Christmas Midnight Mass, Pentecost, and selected Sundays of Ordinary Time.

PA620CE Introduction to Homiletics and Exegesis

PA620CE Introduction to Homiletics and Exegesis

Course Format

A twelve-week course consisting of on-line studies, on-line collaboration, weekly blog involvement.

Course Description

This course provides students with the foundations for Catholic preaching.  As a general introduction, we will examine contemporary magisterial teaching on homiletics while also affording students the opportunity to prepare homilies which will be shared among participants for feedback.  Particular emphasis will be given to the liturgical and sacramental context within which Catholic preaching takes place.

Goals of the Course

  • To begin to articulate a “theology of preaching,” a “theology for preaching,” and “theology from preaching.”
  • To incorporate responsible methods of biblical interpretation for preaching.
  • To consider the relationship of homiletics to other Catholic theological and pastoral sources.
  • To situate the homily within its broader liturgical and sacramental context.

Learning Objectives

The course is designed to provide students with

  • better understanding of the foundations of Catholic preaching;
  • the opportunity to study official documents on Catholic preaching;
  • an understanding of how preaching fits within the symbolic discourse of Catholic ritual, liturgy and sacrament;
  • an understanding of the relationship between preaching, worship and Christian living.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Read and analyze major Catholic documents on preaching.
  • Prepare homilies through prayerful reflection and critical exegetical and pastoral application.


PA510CE Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling

Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling

Pastoral care is part of the daily life of the deacon and all ministers in pastoral assignments. Pastoral counseling incorporates additional theories into the process. Through this course, deacons and their colleagues in ministry will gain the knowledge and skills to be more comfortable in offering pastoral.

Course Focus

Pastoral counseling has been defined as a form of counseling that integrates religious resources with behavioral sciences.  It is a branch of counseling that uses insights and principles derived from theology and psychology to work with groups, families, couples, and individuals in order to achieve spiritual and emotional well-being.

While professional pastoral counseling is performed by ordained ministers, rabbis, and priests and others with degrees in pastoral counseling, the purpose of this course is to serve as an introduction to pastoral counseling with a focus on the deacon’s role in pastoral counseling using specific case scenarios.

Professional pastoral counselors are licensed before entering into practice.  This course does not lead to licensure but serves as a primer for deacons and their colleagues in ministry to acquire basic skills and an appreciation of pastoral counseling.

Included Topics

This course encompasses a large part of pastoral counseling and includes:

What Is Pastoral Counseling? Advanced Challenging Skills
The Spiritual Dimension of Pastoral Counseling Advanced Action Planning Skills
Basic Counseling Mistakes Specialty Scripture, Prayer, and Intervention Skills
The Basic Structure of Pastoral Counseling Sessions A Model for Pastoral Counseling
Basic Listening Skills Pastoral Counseling in Relation to Other Counseling Methods
Advanced Listening Skills Professionalism

Course Components  

This course draws from the disciplines of

  • Pastoral theology ·        Pastoral counseling
  • Sociology ·        Psychology

to emphasize the critical importance of ministering to people as they seek to live healthy lives.

Course Objectives      

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

  • Identify and value the differences between Pastoral Care and Pastoral Counseling.
  • Recognize and apply various counseling theories and techniques.
  • Consider Pastoral Counseling as a professional development.

Required Materials

The following book will be used throughout the course, beginning in Week 3.

Cheydleur, J. R. (1999). Called to counsel. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

ISBN 0-8423-3243-X

PA420CE The Call, Mission and Spirituality of the Permanent Deacon

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.

Course Objectives

Successful completion of this seminar will provide the student:

  • An awareness of the Church’s doctrine on the Order of Deacon, most especially that which is contained in the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.
  • Knowledge of the various forms of the Diaconate throughout history.
  • Creative theological conclusions about the shape of the Diaconate for the contemporary Church and the modern world.