Diaconate Course Descriptions

3-credit Major Courses

THL 430 – Introduction to Biblical Studies (3) An undergraduate introduction to Biblical Studies, designed to serve as the foundational course for the Master’s degree for the Permanent Diaconate Formation. The course examines Catholic biblical theology and interpretation, as articulated in Vatican II and subsequent Church teaching. It also introduces the methodologies and theories for studying the Bible, providing examples from selected sections of the Old and New Testaments. This course is a prerequisite for all courses in the degree program.

THL 621.  Eucharist (3) The course examines the Eucharist as the central sacrament in the life of the Church, considered from its biblical, historical, theological and moral dimensions. It offers an analysis of the structural elements of the rite and a survey of the interplay of liturgical traditions, popular piety and theological reflections at critical moments in church history.

THL 631.  Synoptic Gospels (3) A study of the literary and theological development that culminated in the written Gospels. An exposition of the historical-critical and literary tools for studying the Gospels and an in-depth study of each of the three synoptic Gospel’s unique context, style and themes.

THL 643.  Christology and Trinity (3) The course uses classic and contemporary texts to study the historical and doctrinal development of the Church’s expression of its understanding of Christ as God and man. Concepts of Christian anthropology and the Trinitarian understanding of God are examined.

THL 644.  Vatican II (3) The course focuses on the path-breaking work of Vatican II. It will present the history leading up to the council, the goals set by Pope John XXIII, and the role of Pope Paul VI in concluding and promulgating its documents. The major documents will be examined in depth, with a reflection on the ongoing implementation of the reforms the council inaugurated.   

THL 651.  Foundation of Christian Ethics (3) The course analyzes the fundamental themes of contemporary ethical theory, especially as expressed within the Catholic theological tradition. Also, dialogue/conflict between the Roman Catholic Church’s traditional teaching and contemporary ethical perspectives are examined.

THL 660.  Patristics (3) The course explores the history and theology of the early Church by focusing on the careers and contributions of the major Fathers of the Church: Origen, Cyprian, Athanasius, the Cappadocians and Augustine.

THL 663.  New Evangelization (3) The course will focus on the challenge of Vatican II for a new evangelization to a world struggling with unprecedented forces of globalization and secularization. The teachings of the most recent popes will be examined, reflecting on why the Church needs a “new” evangelization and how it might be embodied.

1-credit Seminars

THL 635.  Prophets (1) The course will be give an historical and literary overview of the major prophets in the Old Testament and methods for studying the prophets. Students will then pick one prophet to study in depth and present their research to the class using PowerPoint or Prezi.    

THL 636.  Letters of Paul (1) The course studies the authenticity, basic structure, integrity, life situation, chief problems and distinctive traits the major letters of Paul. The major themes of Pauline theology, such as faith, law, justification, new creation, eschatology and Christology, will also be examined. Students will present their findings in a presentation.

THL 645.  Ecclesiology (1) The course provides an historical and systematic study of the Christian community: its structure, its nature, its mission and its historical development. Students will give a presentation of some aspect of the Church. 

THL 646.  Augustine (1) The course will focus on Augustine of Hippo, “the father of western theology” through the lens of his Confessions. The goal is to understand the deep and far reaching theological legacy of Augustine. Students will present on some aspect of that legacy.  

THL 647.  Philosophy for Understanding Theology (1)  The course provides a basic survey of Western philosophical thought and how it has been used in Christianity. Students will present on the philosophical basis for the ecumenical councils, Christology, Trinitarian theology and sacraments.

THL 648.  Theology of Sacrament (1)  A study of the history and theology of individual sacraments and of sacraments in general. This course examines both classic views and recent developments, especially the teaching and reforms of Vatican II.

THL 655.  Catholic Social Teaching (1) The course will study the Church’s effort to positively engage the larger world. The course offers a critical study of the Church’s official response to the developments of the Industrial Revolution, laissez faire capitalism, Marxism, consumerism and modern warfare, using Vatican documents. Students will present on one of these issues.

THL 665.  Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue (1) The course will examine Catholic principles for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue as proposed by Vatican II and in subsequent Church teaching. It will explore key areas for dialogue with other Christian denominations and with the major non-Christian world religions.

1-credit Spirituality Courses

SPT 625.  Prayer (1) The course examines different theories and practices of personal prayer in the Christian tradition through the centuries.

SPT 626.  Discernment (1) The courses examines the theology and practice of discernment in the Christian tradition through the centuries, especially in the Jesuit tradition.

SPT 630.  Biblical Spirituality (1) The course offers a study of a biblical text as a source for spirituality and prayer.

SPT 640.  Great Spiritual Master (1) The course offers a study of the life and writings of one of the great teachers of Christian spirituality.