DEGREES

M. A. in Pastoral Theology:
Concentration in Catechetics 

About the Program

Students in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology degree program have the option of pursuing a concentration in the art and science of catechetics that trains them for service in parish, school, and diocesan ministries of catechesis and religious education. This concentration is an effective way of preparing for the reception of the installed Ministry of Catechist proposed by Pope Francis in Antiquum Ministerium (May 10, 2021).

Students making satisfactory progress through at least two courses in the M.A. program are welcome to declare their intention to pursue the concentration.    

Four Pillars

1. Theological Formation:

The formation offered here is faithful and rigorous, grounded in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Church Fathers, the lives and witnesses of the saints, the Second Vatican Council, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

2. Spiritual Formation:

Students receive a vital spiritual formation that will enrich their own personal encounter with Christ and h is Church—and prepare them for the challenges and spiritual realities of lay ecclesial service.

3. Pastoral and Catechetical Formation:

Anchored in the pastoral vision of the Second Vatican Council, our balanced pastoral and catechetical formation equips students to hand on the truth of Jesus Christ.

4. Human Formation:

Students receive the tools and skills to be effective leaders for the New Evangelization. Highlights include key moral virtues for lay ecclesial leadership, communication and management techniques, and awareness and understanding of ecclesial life and structures.

Four Pillars

Built on the same four pillars as priestly and religious formation, this program offers a comprehensive, integrated training that prepares lay ecclesial leaders to share the truth of Jesus Christ amidst contemporary challenges.

1. Theological Formation:

Students receive a faithful and rigorous theological formation grounded in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Church Fathers, the lives and witnesses of the saints, the Second Vatican Council, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This instruction grounds the students in the long theological tradition of the Church with an eye towards the authentic implementation of the New Evangelization.

2. Spiritual Formation:

Through course material, seminars, and practicum experiences, students receive a spiritual formation that enriches their own personal encounter with Christ and prepares them for the challenges and spiritual realities of lay ecclesial service.

3. Pastoral, Evangelistic, and Catechetical Formation:

Grounded in the pastoral vision of the Second Vatican Council, the program offers pastoral and catechetical formation that equips students to hand on the truth of Jesus Christ in this time of the New Evangelization. This formation is centered around sound principles of pastoral care and key methods of authentic catechetical renewal envisioned and articulated by the documents of Vatican II, the writings of St. John Paul II, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

4. Human Formation:

Through coursework, seminars, and practicum experiences, students receive practical and essential human formation that forms them to be effective leaders for the New Evangelization. These crucial skills and dispositions include the key moral virtues for lay ecclesial leadership, communication and management skills, an appropriate awareness and understanding of ecclesial life and structures, and interpersonal skills related to ecclesial life and service.

Three Pillars

The course of study in the Graduate School of Theology leads to the Master of Arts degree in Theology; it is available on our campus in Denver or via distance education. The program consists of three pillars:

1. Sacred Scripture

Students learn to express the narrative of salvation history, explain the biblical foundations of Catholic doctrine, interpret the texts in light of tradition, and substantiate the reliability of Sacred Scripture.

2. Sacred Doctrine

Each of our students develops a foundational knowledge of the Catholic Church’s dogmatic, sacramental, moral, and spiritual teaching as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

3. History and Mission

Students come to grasp the main themes of Church history, particularly in the West, with special emphasis on evangelization and on the saints and martyrs as teachers and models.

Programmatic Goals

I. Theology: to demonstrate a foundational knowledge of the Catholic Church’s dogmatic, sacramental, moral, and spiritual teaching, building upon that doctrine as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Graduates will be able to analyze, explain, and where relevant defend the following elements of understanding:
II. Spiritual Interiority: recognizing that a mature Christian interior life is both a prerequisite to effective mission and the goal toward which that mission is oriented, as well as an essential part of the methodological structure of all catechetical practice, graduates will be able to explain and defend the following elements of understanding:
III. Pastoral, Evangelical & Catechetical: to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles of evangelization and catechesis, as well as strategies of pastoral care and the ability to develop, to implement, and to assess effective evangelistic, catechetical, and pastoral initiatives in an ecclesial setting which respond to the leading challenges facing the Church’s mission today. Graduates will be able to analyze, explain, and where relevant defend the following elements of understanding:
IV. Leadership: to demonstrate readiness for collaborative work and management in the life of the Church so as to implement effective discipleship strategies. Graduates will demonstrate an articulate understanding of and principled commitment to the following elements:

The Catholic Church understands “the study of the sacred page” to be “the soul of sacred theology” (Dei Verbum §24). Confessing that God is the author of Scripture, the Church also affirms that the biblical books are the product of human writers. Just as the Church has rejected views of the person of Jesus Christ that deny or minimize his human nature, so too does the Church’s approach to Scripture affirm the importance of discerning the intention of the Bible’s human authors, as we see in this celebrated passage from the documents of the Second Vatican Council:
The interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words. . . The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture (Dei Verbum §12). 
Following this direction, the Augustine Institute’s M.A. in Biblical Studies puts the historical, linguistic, and literary tools of contemporary scholarship in conversation with the Church’s theological and exegetical traditions, in the hope that its students will experience a rich harvest of wisdom.

Degree Requirements

The Concentration in Catechetics requires the completion of 42 credit hours, that is, 14 courses of three credits each, including:

  • Five Scripture and Doctrine courses required for the M.A. Pastoral Theology
  • Three of the four required Pastoral Theology courses (Christian Life and Discipleship, Pastoral Care and Ecclesial Life, and Leadership for the New Evangelization)
  • Four-course sequence in Catechetics (Augustine the Educator, Divine Pedagogy and Catechetical Methods, Kerygma and Catechumenate, and Catechism of the Catholic Church: Doctrinal Synthesis)
  • Two courses from the Catechetics area

On-campus students in Pastoral Theology who elect the Concentration in Catechetics will continue to participate in the internship and mentorship program. Online students will participate in the monthly videoconferences of their cohort – or, if the size of the concentration allows it, a separate cohort of students pursuing this concentration – and complete a synthetic project during the final semester or year in the program.

Courses

The Concentration in Catechetics requires the completion of 42 credit hours, that is, 14 courses of three credits each, including:

  • Five Scripture and Doctrine courses required for the M.A. Pastoral Theology
  • Three of the four required Pastoral Theology courses (Christian Life and Discipleship, Pastoral Care and Ecclesial Life, and Leadership for the New Evangelization)
  • Four-course sequence in Catechetics (Augustine the Educator, Divine Pedagogy and Catechetical Methods, Kerygma and Catechumenate, and Catechism of the Catholic Church: Doctrinal Synthesis)
  • Two courses from the Catechetics area

On-campus students in Pastoral Theology who elect the Concentration in Catechetics will continue to participate in the internship and mentorship program. Online students will participate in the monthly videoconferences of their cohort – or, if the size of the concentration allows it, a separate cohort of students pursuing this concentration – and complete a synthetic project during the final semester or year in the program.

CATE 601: Augustine the Educator

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Based upon the book of the same title by Eugene Kevane, this course focuses on the contributions to the field of evangelization and catechesis made by Augustine of Hippo, drawing upon Instructing Beginners in Faith (DCR) and On Christian Doctrine (DDC), but also upon some his other works, especially the Confessions and some of his early dialogues. It will propose a thematic paradigm for an Augustinian approach to the apostolate centered around the four themes of interiority, studiositas, sobriety and amicitia/societas.

CATE 602: Divine Pedagogy and Catechetical Methods  

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The Catechism tells us that God’s self-disclosure in Revelation “involves a specific divine pedagogy,” by which he discloses himself to us gradually in history.  The GDC indicates that all catechesis is to echo that divine pedagogy and that all catechetical methods are to be regulated by it. In this course that meta-methodology will be examined and applied in particular methodologies of teaching and classroom management.

CATE 603: Kerygma and Catechumenate

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This course will examine the dynamism of kerygma, the initial proclamation of faith, as found in New Testament and early Church sources, as well as the catechumenal forms that followed these in the ancient practice of the Church. Since the catechumenate is to inform all other catechetical forms “in both their objectives and in their dynamism” (GDC 59), this study will inform not only the practice of the RCIA but all other catechetical and parochial ministries as well.

CATE 604: Catechism of the Catholic Church: Doctrinal Synthesis  

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“This catechism is conceived as an organic presentation of the Catholic faith in its entirely. It should be seen therefore as a unified whole.” So speaks the Catechism of itself at paragraph 18.  In this course the body of the faith as an integrated whole is sought.  This involves both the account of doctrinal content and development, but also by way of reflection upon the methodological ordering of that content, such that the CCC establishes a “methodological-content,” and a paradigm for all forms of evangelization and catechesis. Other doctrinal and catechetical sources will be presented (Conciliar canons, Roman Catechism, etc.) so that a full doctrinal synthesis will be presented.

CATE 605: History of Catechesis and Catechisms  

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This course will present a survey of the catechetical practices and instruments used throughout the history of the Church for the purpose of grounding an ad fontes approach to catechetical practice, that is, to equip catechists to be good stewards, capable of drawing out both the old the new, in their catechetical practice.  Particular attention will be given to the ways in which the events and cultural movements of Church history have influenced the catechetical apostolate.

CATE 606: Liturgical Catechesis and the Pedagogy of Prayer   

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Since the Liturgy of the Church is one of the important loci for Tradition and the place where the faith is enacted and God is adored, it has a central part in the work of evangelization and catechesis.  As Pope John Paul II put it, “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men” (CT 23).  This course will show that fruitful reception of Holy Communion is an essential goal of all evangelization and catechesis (EN 14) and present specific strategies for making the sacraments the “source and summit” of Catholic life (SC 10).

SCRP 622: Teaching Scripture for the New Evangelization   

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Pope Benedict XVI called for a “biblical apostolate” in which Sacred Scripture inspires and informs all pastoral work. This class responds to his call by helping students to engage the Word of God so that it may enliven faith, transform the mind, and inform the way the gospel message is communicated. We will look at teachers of Scripture from across the history of the Church. Students will gain a deeper appreciation of the Word of God by an attentive reading of select biblical passages, considering them in light of their historical milieu, representative patristic sources, reflections offered by saints, and select contemporary scholarship. This class will be a seminar focused on practical application.

THEO 712: Catholic Education  

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“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’” (John 6:45). These words of Christ set the stage for this course, one which offers an opportunity to reflect upon the nature of education in light of the Gospel. In this course, students, teachers, and administrators reflect upon the vocation of teaching, the history and goals of Catholic education, and the practices and tools of the craft of teaching. Students also examine particular challenges in the contemporary teaching context as well as the perennial challenges of following in the footsteps of Christ the Teacher.

SCRP 503: Pauline Literature

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This course considers the life and writings of St. Paul, exploring his Jewish origins, life-changing conversion, and vocation. Students encounter St. Paul’s writings in context and understood both as essential to the Church’s teaching and in light of varying exegetical approaches through the centuries. Students see St. Paul as a rabbi and a theologian, and also as a catalyst in the early Church, who simultaneously criticizes and utilizes the Greco-Roman and Jewish worldviews in his proclamation of the gospel. This course treats St. Paul’s mastery of rhetoric and his pastoral sensitivity in a way that prepares students to formulate effective strategies for evangelization.

Graduate Bulletin

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Program Faculty

John Sehorn

Associate Professor of Theology (Ph.D., Notre Dame)

John Sehorn has been a member of the Augustine Institute faculty since 2015. He has a longstanding interest in understanding more deeply how God speaks to his Church through Sacred Scripture, an interest that he pursues by studying the exegetical practices of the patristic and medieval masters of the Sacred Page. Dr. Sehorn is the author of The Bible and the Eucharist (Baker Academic, forthcoming) and Marian Consecration: What Every Catholic Should Know (Augustine Institute/Ignatius Press, forthcoming), and he has published several academic essays on the theology of the Fathers. With Tim Gray, he is editor of Baker Academic’s series A Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments.

James Prothro

Assistant Professor of Scripture and Theology (Ph.D., Cambridge University).

James Prothro brings a background in Classical languages and training as a preacher to his study of the Bible. His lively interest in Greek linguistics and principles of Catholic interpretation influence his teaching and writing. He is the author of Both Judge and Justifier: Biblical Legal Language and the Act of Justifying in Paul (Mohr Siebeck, 2018) and The Apostle Paul and His Letters: An Introduction (Catholic University of America Press, 2021). He has published in various academic journals, including, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Nova et Vetera, and Journal of Theological Interpretation. He serves as Sub-editor (Koine Greek) for Religious Studies Review. 

Brant Pitre

Distinguished Research Professor of Sacred Scripture (Ph.D., Notre Dame)

Brant Pitre has a special love for finding the Old Testament in the New and Christ throughout the pages of Scripture. His many contributions to Catholic Biblical studies include a two-volume Catholic Introduction to the Bible, with John Bergsma – their volume on the New Testament will soon join the one on the Old Testament published in 2018 (Ignatius), as well as many scholarly and best-selling books, including Jesus and the Last Supper (Eerdmans, 2015), The Case for Jesus (Image, 2016), and, most recently, his Introduction to the Spiritual Life (Image, 2021). 

Israel McGrew

Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture (Ph.D., Marquette)

Israel McGrew brings a love for Catholic theology to the historical and literary study of the Hebrew Bible. In his new post at the Augustine Institute, he will be teaching Salvation History and exegetic courses on various books of the Old Testament. His article “‘What is Enosh?’: The Anthropological Contributions of Job 7:17–18 through Allusion and Intertextuality,” appeared in Catholic Biblical Quarterly in 2022 and won him the “Emerging Scholar” award by the Catholic Biblical Association. He is the author of The Riddle of Job: Allegorical Representation and Argumentation in the Book of Job (manuscript under review). 

Elizabeth Klein

Assistant Professor of Theology (Ph.D., Notre Dame)

Elizabeth Klein’s formidable knowledge of the Bible has its roots in her childhood participation in Bible Quiz competitions. Her academic studies have focused on Patristic theology, and she regularly teaches courses on Augustine that examine his use of Scripture in his preaching, teaching, and works of controversy. She is the author of Augustine’s Theology of Angels (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and God: What Every Catholic Should Know (Ignatius Press; Augustine Institute, 2019).

Timothy Gray

Professor of Sacred Scripture (Ph.D., Catholic University of America)

Tim Gray has been a noted interpreter of the Bible in diverse academic, ecclesial, and popular settings for over two decades. He helped to found the Augustine Institute and has served as its President since 2008. He is the author of The Temple in the Gospel of Mark: A Study in Its Narrative Role (Mohr Siebeck/Baker Academic, 2008), Peter: Keys to Following Jesus (Ignatius, 2016), Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina (Ascension, 2009), and the best-selling Walking with God (with Jeff Cavins; Ascension, 2010, new edition 2018). With John Sehorn, he is editor of Baker Academic’s series A Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments.

Mark Giszczak

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture (Ph.D., Catholic University of America)

A member of the first graduating class of the Augustine Institute, Mark Giszczak joined its faculty in 2010. He has a passion for Scripture and loves helping Catholics read, pray, and understand the Bible. He is the author of Wisdom of Solomon, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Series (Baker Academic, forthcoming), Bible Translation and the Making of the ESV Catholic Edition (Augustine Institute, 2022), and Light on the Dark Passages of Scripture (Our Sunday Visitor, 2015). His articles have appeared in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Professor Giszczak also holds the Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Michael Patrick Barber

Professor of Sacred Scripture and Theology (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary)

Michael Barber is Director of the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and a regular participant in leading scholarly conversations about the study of the Bible. His books include The Historical Jesus and the Temple: Memory, Methodology, and the Gospel of Matthew (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, with a Foreword by Dale C. Allison, Jr.) and Paul, A New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology, with Brant Pitre and John Kincaid (Eerdmans, 2019). His articles have appeared in academic journals such as Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, and Religious Studies Review. You can read more about his work on Academia.edu.

Additional Degrees and Concentrations

Master of Arts: Biblical Studies

“Every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”
Matthew 13:52
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Master of Arts: Pastoral Theology

So also I send you.
—John 20:21
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Master of Arts: Theology with Concentration in Sacred Scripture

Put on the mind of Christ.
—1 Corinthians 2:16
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Master of Arts: Theology

Faith seeking understanding.
—Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion
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