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MNST 110: Ministry in the Christian Community
Ministry in the Christian Community is a four-module course which is designed to support the participants in reflection on Christian ministry through the interrelated lenses of the personal journey of faith which has formed their spirituality and call to serve, contemporary and historical theology and spirituality of ministry, collaborative ministry skills and the call to contemplative service.
Module One examines the student’s experience and understanding of ministry through a series of reflections on the call, gift, and charisms involved in multifaceted ministries. Nurturing Christian identity through the Christian story, the gift of community and the vision of Trinitarian relationship will ground the theology and spirituality of ministry in this module.
Module Two focuses on the relationship between ministry and our understanding of Church, i.e., our ecclesiology. Current definitions of ministry based on Vatican II theology, some historical background on ministry for the ordained and lay ministers, and the theology of servant leadership will be studied. The theological concept and practice of collaborative ministry are presented in this module as an effective model of ministry in the church.
Module Three explores some of the key issues and practices relevant for collaborative ministry today, including the Church’s ongoing quest for unity amidst diversity, the ecclesial responsibilities of laity, contemplative service, essential ministry skills, temptations to which ministers in the Roman Catholic Church are particularly susceptible, and understanding some pastoral problems relevant to the practice of collaborative ministry in the student’s local Church.
Module Four seeks to aid the student to integrate and summarize their reflections and learning on the spiritual practices which foster discipleship and contemplative service so that the participant will discern and clarify their personal call to Christian ministry at this time.
Written by John O’Donnell, MDiv and Mary Boucher, B.Ed, MTS
MNST 120: Adult Religious Education
This course is, fundamentally, a skills development opportunity. It offers an overview of adult education theory as it applies to ministry - but it uses an “experience-reflection-action” model of learning. In this way, the course will not only explore the theoretical foundations for adult learning; it will also provide a variety of ideas, techniques and skills for how to carry out adult faith development programs in the community.
Three basic resources will be used in this course:
the life experiences of the participants
church teachings on adult faith development and ministry
basic principles of adult education
Using readings, personal reflections, exercises and suggested activities, the participants will be invited to uncover, develop, and practice the skills they need to facilitate adult faith development activities at the parish and diocesan levels.
Some of the main questions to be addressed include:
What is “Adult Education”?
What is “Adult Religious Education”?
What does the church have to say about Adult Faith Development?
What is the best way for adults to learn?
How can we create a “climate” for learning?
Are there guidelines/techniques for planning a program or activity that will encourage people
to learn more effectively?
What is (or should be) the role of the adult religious educator/minister?
How can we connect “faith development” to the everyday issues people face in their lives/communities?
The first objective of the course is to help the participants gain the theoretical and practical skills they need to facilitate adult learning within their own communities, regardless of the particular ministry they are involved in.
A second objective is to encourage participants to make their own life experiences an expression - a “fleshing out” - of the theories and principles of adult religious education. It is through this second objective that knowledge is created, not simply learned or imparted.
A third objective is to help the participants find ways to connect to other learning experiences and resources that they can access as they practice their particular ministries. This will ensure both confidence and rootedness as they go about their ministries in the future.
MNST 120 Written by: Susan Eaton MEd and Rosalyn Howard
MNST 130: Biblical Foundations
The course entitled “Biblical Foundations” is a survey course of the book known as the Holy Bible. The Bible has always been the “world’s #1 best-seller”. It was the very first book that was printed after the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in the fifteenth century. The Holy Bible - also called Sacred Scripture - contains writings sacred to the Jewish people and to Christians. It is considered by both religions to be the written revelation of God to human beings.
The first part of the course will survey the first of the two divisions of the Bible - the Old Testament. Here we will discover the story of God’s dealings with a particular people (the Chosen People), the ups and downs of the relationship between God and the people which in the Bible is called a “covenant”, and how God was continually raising up prophets, kings and sages to keep the people faithful to the covenant. Finally, there is a promise that God will establish a “new covenant” with the people, one that will be written on their hearts.
The second part of the course will look at the second division of the Bible called the New Testament. It is the story of how God began a “New Covenant” (the words “Testament” and “Covenant” mean the same thing) in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who was believed and worshipped by his followers as the “Christ” or “Messiah” of God who would bring all people into right relationship with God through his life, death and resurrection.
The four Gospels portray the ministry of Jesus as viewed by four different faith communities. It will not be surprising that we also discover four unique portraits of how Jesus was viewed and worshipped. The rest of the New Testament presents the faith experiences of the various communities that worshipped Jesus as the Son of God.
MNST 130 Written by: Rev. Gerald Campbell MDiv, STL
MNST 140: God and the Christian Tradition
This course focuses primarily on God’s presence and action in one’s life, particularly God’s intervening in the lives of Christians at significant moments - interventions which have been recognized and named by the Church as “sacraments”.
This focus has a three-pronged development
the Christian’s God
an understanding of Church and tradition
the seven sacraments themselves. This last section constitutes the core of the course.
1) The christian’s God is considered from two points of view: a) the learners’ - through some basic theological reflection tools enabling them to identify “who God is” for them; b) that of the Church - the concept of God in the Church’s tradition and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
2) An understanding of Church and tradition explores the model or image of Church out of which the learner operates as well as the theology of Church presented by the Second Vatican Council, and the shift in this theology over the last several decades.
3) The section on the seven sacraments constitutes the major part of this course. First of all, it looks at some general considerations around “sign”, “symbol”, “rite” and “ritual”. It explores each sacrament: its theology, its liturgical celebration, relevant questions, as well as certain ecumenical problems, and some basic principles and issues of Canon Law. Particular attention will be paid to the sacraments of initiation and the RCIA.
Finally this course offers some aids and practical resources for those actively involved in ministry.
MNST 140 Written by: Dr. Marjory Gallagher, SC
MNST 150: Contemporary Catholic Issues
One cannot begin to talk about contemporary Catholicism without looking to the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II, which took place from 1962-65, was a revolutionary moment and a constitutive event for the Roman Catholic Church. It was revolutionary in that it drastically altered the traditional character and direction of Roman Catholicism, and constitutive in that it determined the course of the Church for the latter part of the twentieth century, and probably well into the third millennium. Its significance can be measured by the fact that the popes since the Council have taken their papal names from the pontiffs during Vatican II.
This course is grounded in the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, of which the two key documents are Lumen Gentium: The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, and Gaudium et Spes: The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Following the introduction to the course, 8 lessons concern themselves with aspects of the Church, and the last three examine the Church's place and mission in the world.
Whether Vatican II was a force for good or for ill is still a question for many, but this much is certain: because of it, the Catholic Church will never be the same. One of its effects has been a polarization of the Church between traditional and progressive; between "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics. Understanding the dynamics of that division, and trying to move toward greater mutual understanding, is one of the emphases of this course.
Closely associated with this polarization is a marked shift in the Church's relationship to the world. Where before Vatican II, the church had been a sanctuary from the secular and the modern, a major aspect of the "aggiornamento" of the Council was a new spirit of engagement with the world--one that recognized, for the first time, the value and the contributions of the secular world to the Church and the building of the Kingdom. This movement from the Church as sanctuary from the world to the Church as servant of the world is generally seen to be one of the marks of the Holy Spirit at the Council. There is an old saying with regard to polarities within the church that "Doctrine divides but service unites." In this sense, the Church's involvement in and service to the world is seen as a positive direction in terms of resolving polarization within the Church. This will be a second aspect of the course.
MNST 150 Written by: Dr. Paul Beaudette
MNST 160: Self-Directed Study
In negotiation with the program office, the learner explores a topic from an area related to ministry and develops a study plan in consultation with an advisor. The topic may be an area that prepares the learner for the practicum requirement.
MNST 160 Written by: Michelle Kucey M.Ad.Ed
MNST 170: Practicum
In this course, the participant applies knowledge acquired throughout the preceeding courses and further develops professional skills within a ministry-related project. The nature of the project is in keeping with the needs of the church community and addresses the individual preferences of the participant. Ideally, the project is implemented at the participant’s parish or diocese although other locations can be considered. The project may support the focus of the self-directed study (MNST 160).
At the beginning of the project, the participant negotiates the details of the project with the Diploma in Ministry Program Office, the Parish/Diocese, and the advisor. These details are summarized in an outline/contract which includes a description of the project, including the project objectives, the methods of implementation, suggested approaches to evaluation and analysis and other details as required.
Following completion of the project, the participant submits a project report describing what occurred in the phases of the project and the participants' personal learning--how and what they learned as they implemented the project. In other words, the report is an evaluation of their own learning experience. The parish/diocese may comment on the outcomes related to the project.
MNST 170 Written by: Michelle Kucey M.Ad.Ed