DEGREES

Master of Arts: Pastoral Theology

So also I send you.
—John 20:21

Effective with the Fall term 2022, the M.A. in Pastoral Theology will be the new name of the M.A. Leadership for the New Evangelization.

About the Program

In this program, Catholics seeking to serve the Church find the theological, spiritual, pastoral, and human formation they need to implement the New Evangelization.

Coming in the Fall of 2022, this degree program will be offered not only on-campus but online as well. Both on-campus and online students will benefit from cohort-based instruction, dedicated faculty advisors, and peer mentors. On-campus students will participate in practicum experiences and online students will complete a capstone project where they will put their theological and practical wisdom to work.

This degree program is intended for men and women who are either active participants in the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis or seek to become such. Online students are expected to be active in the life of the Church, either as part-time or full-time employees or as volunteers.

Continue to stay tuned for more information!

Applications open on March 1.

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:

Courses

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology is awarded upon the completion of twelve courses. Nine of the courses are required and three are electives. Full-time students may complete the degree in four semesters over two academic years and part-time students typically complete the program in four years. In addition, on-campus students have a four-semester “Pastoral Theology Seminar and Practicum.” Online students have a monthly formation meeting by videoconference.

The core courses for the degree program are as follows:

SCRP 501 Salvation History

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This course helps students to understand the unity of God’s plan of salvation from Creation to the Second Coming. By a thorough overview of the Old and New Testaments, this course introduces Catholic exegetical approaches and theological interpretation, aiding students in reading Scripture as the Word of God. Students engage some comparative primary texts and grapple with historiographical questions that help them to demonstrate the reliability of the Bible. With a special focus on the themes of covenant and mission, the course illustrates how Jesus fulfills God’s promises and how He invites His followers to share in His work of evangelization.

THEO 501 The Creed: The Trinity, Christ, and the Church

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This course presents a synthetic summary of the symbolum fidei, the Christian Creed, with particular reference to its effective presentation in catechesis. The presentation follows that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making reference to other statements in minor creeds and magisterial documents, with particular emphasis given to the relevant portions of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Throughout the course the unity and coherence of the fides quae are stressed.

SCRP 502 Jesus and the Gospels

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Among all the books of the Bible, the Gospels have “a special preeminence,” according to the Second Vatican Council, “for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word” (Dei Verbum, 18). This course examines Jesus’ life and mission in light of the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. Students engage insights from historical research into the life of Jesus and the world of first-century Judaism as well as gain a deeper understanding of the Gospels as narrative. In addition, the Gospels are also studied for their perennial theological and spiritual significance.

THEO 502 Mystagogy: Liturgy and the Sacraments

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Mystagogy is the ancient practice of learning to “see” the invisible Mystery made present in the visible signs of the sacraments. In this course, the Catechismand other sources of mystagogical practice serve as guides for a deeper knowledge of the plan of God made present in these wonderful gifts. After a theological and liturgical study of Christian worship, we gaze into each of the seven sacramental mysteries, learning to decode the signs they employ to dispose us better to receive what they reveal and communicate. In addition to the Catechism, texts considered include Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy, and Corbon, Wellsprings of Worship.

THEO 503 Moral and Spiritual Theology

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Through an investigation of human personhood and the vocation to love and beatitude, this course helps students to understand moral action and the habits of character it establishes. Students examine the Biblical foundation of Catholic moral teaching with particular attention given to the Sermon on the Mount, the new life realized in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the virtues of Christian living. The course treats the dynamics of the moral law, sin, repentance, and grace, as well as prayer and the stages of the spiritual life.

THEO 511 The Christian Life and Discipleship

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Discipleship is the pattern of effective evangelization and formation. This course explores discipleship as the means of conversion and growth in the qualities exhibited by a mature follower of Christ. Texts include: Second Vatican Council, Apostolicam Actuositatem; Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi; John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio; and Francis, Evangelii Gaudium.

THEO 512 Catechesis in the Mission of Evangelization

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This course investigates the principles governing the practice of catechesis – especially as found in John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae – and the methods best used to implement these principles in the service of the Church’s mission of evangelization. The Catechism of the Catholic Church will be treated as a synthesis of past catechetical practice and a sure norm for teaching the faith. Attention will also be given to pedagogical methods and the pastoral strategies needed for the effective evangelization and catechesis of adults, youth, and children in our current cultural setting.

THEO 513 Pastoral Care and Ecclesial Life

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This course explores the ecclesiology and pastoral vision of the Second Vatican Council, emphasizing the universal call to holiness as the guiding principle for pastoral care. While providing a survey of contemporary pastoral challenges, the course also treats the reality of working within diocesan and parish structures, the practical application of Canon Law, and current ecclesial policies and procedures. Texts include the documents of Vatican II, Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, and St. John Paul II, Novo millennio ineunte.

THEO 514 Leadership for the New Evangelization

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This course prepares students to be effective lay leaders in the Church, with an emphasis on the theological formation, virtues, charisms, and skills needed for the New Evangelization in various ecclesial settings. The course is based on Vatican II’s theology of the vocation and mission of the laity and St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Christifidelis laici. It explores how authentic communion with Christ is the source of lay leadership, as well as the theological and moral virtues necessary to provide leadership that strengthens the Church’s mission to hand on the Gospel.

Graduate Bulletin

Read more and see full course listings in our graduate bulletin

Download our graduate bulletin

Additional Degrees

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, Prosologion
View Degree