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Course content

In its Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, the Second Vatican Council teaches that through baptism “the laity share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own role to play in the mission of the whole People of God in the Church and in the world” (2). The Graduate Program in Pastoral Studies is designed to help educate and train lay people for a variety of roles within the mission of the people of God. This program is equally open to members of religious communities and people of all Christian traditions.

This program is grounded in Catholic theology while being consciously designed to acknowledge and interact with the similarities and differences between the Catholic and other Christian traditions. The program is designed and taught by an ecumenical faculty drawn from Gannon’s Department of Theology and its Graduate Program of Pastoral Studies. This community of professionals brings together teachers and learners to encourage a critical dialogue with other faith traditions and contemporary culture.

Catholic Universities are called to contribute to sound ecumenical formation. In response to the call, Gannon’s Graduate Program of Pastoral Studies seeks to enable its community of learners from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds “to practice respect for the religious freedom and the learned wisdom of all people” (On Catholic Identity, 4). This is to be accomplished in a dialogue between faith and reason where Christian theology can be pursued seriously and religious pluralism can be explored responsibly through theological discussion and research. This aim reflects the Catholic Church’s commitment to re-establishing Christian unity in the hope “that all may be one” (John 17:20). There are three areas of concentration in this program: Religious Education, Pastoral Ministry and Pastoral Leadership. Each require a total of thirty-six (36) credit hours.
Program Options

Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies
Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (Concentration in Religious Education)
Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (Concentration in Pastoral Ministry)
Program Outcomes
Concentration in Pastoral Ministry

- To provide a solid theological foundation for all areas of lay ministry within the Church;
- To foster in students the ability to incorporate theological reflection within ministerial experiences;
- To develop the personal and professional skills necessary for leadership and ministry within the local Church;
- To provide the student opportunities to learn ministerial skills through experience;
- To develop the pursuit of the integration of theology, spirituality, life experiences, and professional training necessary for lay ministry of quality and endurance

Concentration in Religious Education

- To provide a solid theological foundation for all areas of catechetical ministry;
- To foster in students the ability to incorporate theological reflection within ministerial experiences;
- To develop and enhance the student’s ability to effectively teach children, adolescents, and adults the rich theological tradition of the Church;
- To foster the desire and the ability to pursue ongoing scholarly theological research and study, as well as religious education and catechetical formation;
- To develop the pursuit of the integration of theology, spirituality, life experiences, and professional training necessary for lay ministry of quality and endurance.

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