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Electives

Ministry in an Increasingly Hispanic Church
There is no doubt that the present and future of U.S. Catholicism in the twenty-first century is intimately linked to the Hispanic experience. How is the Catholic Church in the United States responding to this reality? What kind of pastoral leaders are needed in faith communities where Hispanics are present? Most Catholic pastoral leaders sooner or later will be working with this population. This course offers an in-depth analysis of Hispanic Catholicism, looking at historical, socio-economic, educational, spiritual, ministerial, and theological dynamics that will encourage intercultural competencies to work with this important population in the Church in the United States.

Spanish for Hispanic Ministry
This course acclimates the seminarian to Hispanic Ministry through Liturgy, sacraments, para-liturgical celebrations and cultural notes. Emphasis is on oral work (pronunciation and sight reading) with supplementary vocabulary and grammar.  

Liturgical and Devotional Spanish
A continuation of Spanish for Hispanic Ministry, a prerequisite, this course further develops oral skills and lays a foundation for preparing simple homilies. 

Practical Spanish for Priests
Offered second semester only if there was no Spanish class first semester, this course guides the seminarian through practical situations, emphasizing good pronunciation. Each week there is substantial oral preparation with short, timely readings.   

Spirituality of the Psalms
The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the biblical Psalms as liturgy and as sacred literature so that they may learn to appreciate their power and to actualize their many possibilities in prayer and pastoral ministry. 

The Mystery of Suffering in the Old and New Testaments
Suffering is an inescapable fact of human life. This course will examine the many different approaches to the mystery of suffering in the Old and New Testaments. Suspicious of easy answers, we will learn to listen to the questions raised by suffering in all its forms. At the same time, we will try to arrive at possible pastoral strategies that may bring comfort to those to whom we minister.  

The Parables of Jesus
“At its simplest the parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought” (C. H. Dodd).  

This course will engage the parables of Jesus in their historical and literary contexts. The objective will be to rediscover the rhetorical power of these stories and look for ways to actualize them in preaching and teaching.   

Temple and Priest in the Old Testament and Beyond
Judaism and Christianity were profoundly affected by the practices, sensibilities, and worldview of the Second Temple (515 BCE – 70 CE). The Second Temple operated from particular views about reality, which were articulated in words and experiences of God in sacred space and in the temple ritual.  This course will disclose those operating assumptions by examination of the biblical and relevant extra-biblical documents in which they are expressed. Recurrent subjects will be: holiness, purity, sacred space, real presence, and priestly identity. 

The Early Church in the New Testament
This course is an examination of the New Testament texts, particularly Acts, 1-2 Timothy and Titus, and the Catholic Epistles, with constant attention directed to the question: How did the Christian movement take shape from the time of the first apostles to the third-generation Church reflected in the latest New Testament writings? The course treats the dynamics of charism and institution; regional difference and essential cohesion; the Church we know and the communities that coalesced into it or disappeared altogether; and the importance of attending to the particular situations and approaches represented when we apply these texts to the present. 

The Book of Revelation - “Worship and Justice”  
The goal of this course is to clarify how this violent work involves a deep and effective engagement with the love of God and the power of worship. After addressing the problems with popular understandings of Revelation, this course will set it in the context of the dynamic genre of apocalypse. Then follows a close reading of the text, with a view to how it can deepen our sense of the glory and the justice of God in a world that makes absolute demands on us in subtle and not so subtle ways. 

The Liturgy of the Hours
This elective endeavors to unfold the importance of the Liturgy of the Hours in the life of the Church. The historical, theological and pastoral dimensions of how the Church has been faithful to the mandate of Luke 18.1 will be explored through class lectures and students’ presentations. Special emphasis will be given to (1) the Psalter’s consecration of time, (2) the relationship between the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours and (3) the concepts of praise, supplication and intercession in the various Liturgical Hours of the Day. 

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church
This course seeks to promote a deeper understanding of Mary’s significance in Christian life. Topics include the scriptures on Mary, Mary in the writings of the Fathers, the history and interpretation of Marian dogmas, contemporary approaches to Mariology in magisterial teaching and theology, Mary in ecumenical discussions and Church liturgy. 

C.S. Lewis, Christian Apologist
The writings of C.S. Lewis have met with wide acclaim both during his own lifetime and throughout the years following his death in 1963. This course will study the religious thought of this acclaimed Christian apologist through lectures, readings, and discussions of his many-sided religious writings. The course seeks to provide an in-depth study of Lewis’s writings and the main themes of his religious thought.

Thomas Merton: Life and Writings
This course will study the life, writings, and on-going significance of Thomas Merton, the renowned Trappist monk and spiritual writer who died in 1968. His writings continue to have a widespread influence and popularity for contemporary readers. This course will focus on his autobiographical, monastic, spiritual, social, and eastern writings. 

Roman Catholic Experience in the U.S.A.
This course surveys the fascinating experience of Roman Catholics in our nation’s story, from pre-colonial days through the modern era. Focus will be on the wide variety of experiences by the diverse ethnic communities professing Catholic faith and living Catholic culture. Students will explore their own personal and/or familial Catholic heritage, the Catholic history of their home state and/or diocese or religious community, and even the story of how resistance may have impacted Catholic experience within the United States.  

Evangelization and Catechesis
This course serves to introduce the student to the contemporary Church’s call for a new evangelization, as well as a deepened catechesis. To do this, the course will examine relevant magisterial teaching concerning evangelization and catechesis, the role of the priest and lay person in evangelization, as well as strategies for evangelization and catechesis. 

The Liturgical Year
This seminar offers an historical, theological and pastoral study of the "year of the Lord's favor" (Lk. 4:19).  Through liturgical investigation, this study will examine the "salvific realities" of the liturgical year and liturgical time. The revision(s) of The Roman Calendar will be reviewed in light of "paragraph 102" of The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican Council II.  Seminar participants will be invited to offer presentations/research papers. 

The Great Eucharistic Prayers
This seminar provides the opportunity to study the Prefaces and Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Rite, the Novus Ordo of the Church’s worship experience. The study will include: the structures, plurality, pattern, value and components of the Eucharistic Prayers. Historical, theological and pastoral approaches will be taken to examine this manner of prayer in the Eucharistic Celebration. Seminary participants will be required to offer presentations/research papers.  

The Art of Spiritual Direction
The course aims to better enable the seminarians to assist others as their spiritual companions in deepening their awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness to the Lord’s revelation in the ordinariness of life. 

The course will articulate the nature of spiritual direction and the practical realities of the direction process.  

The Pastor and Parish Administration
This course highlights parish administration as a key pastoral responsibility of the diocesan parish priest. Focus is on the pastor’s multi-faceted job description, combining teaching, sanctifying, and shepherding among God’s people. Scriptural, theological, canonical and legal aspects of the pastor’s role will be considered, with emphasis on practical implications. Also discussed will be issues of pastoral leadership, approaches to parish management and business operations, financial transparency and accountability, and strategies for stewardship, collaborative ministry, and pastoring multiple parishes. 

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Theology and Pastoral Practice
This course explores the history, theology and pastoral practice of the 1986 English version of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. By means of lectures, readings, videos, discussions, and liturgical celebration of the initiation rites, students will acquire both a working knowledge of and pastoral skills for establishing and sustaining the parish catechumenate process. 

Electives offered at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston are also available. 

 

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