Religious Education and Pastoral Studies (LIM)

LIM/LIMX 701 Foundations of Religious Education 3 crs.

An exploration of the contextual roots of the field that includes the Christian theological tradition, family, church, and socio-cultural influences and responses, as well as creation itself. Through this model of contextual reflection, participants will trace the evolution of the theory and practice of religious education in its Christian expression with special attention to its contemporary Roman Catholic character and responsibilities in ecclesial and academic settings.

LIM/LIMX 702 Invitation to the Catechism 1 crs.

This course introduces students to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a resource for faith and prayer. It examines the history, including catechisms in other denominations. It also studies its structure, artwork, spirituality, and relation to other catechetical documents, such as the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults.

LIM/LIMX 703 Introduction to Practical Theology 3 crs.

This initial course in ministry education introduces students to a process of “pastoral praxis,” through a method of keeping theological reflection in constant dialogue with action. Students explore the interplay of the Christian tradition and the dynamics of living out that tradition through the sociocultural, personal, and institutional contexts of their ministries. The method of theological reflection is based upon the work of the Rev. Bernard Lonergan, S.J., and David Tracy.

LIM/LIMX 704 Spirituality, Morality, and Ethics 3 crs.

Traditional Catholic ethics are examined in the light of Vatican II. Students study the nature of the human person and the meaning of freedom and sin. They also explore the role of Scripture, reason and the natural law, norms, conscience, and Church authority in making moral decisions. Throughout the course, Christian living is placed in the context of personal spirituality and the call to discipleship. Sexual ethics and Catholic social teaching are discussed at length in the course.

LIM/LIMX 711 Jewish Roots of Christian Faith: Intro to Old Testament 3 crs.

This course introduces students to the literature, history, and theology of ancient Israel as embodied in the ancient Hebrew scriptures commonly known as the Old Testament. It examines the major themes of Exodus, promise-fulfillment, and covenant in Israel’s history from the time of the patriarchs to the period of late Second Temple Judaism, which was the context of Jesus’ life and teachings. In particular those texts, events, and beliefs of ancient Israel which form an indispensable background for understanding the New Testament are highlighted.

LIM/LIMX 712 Christian Origins: Intro to New Testament 3 crs.

This course introduces students to the literature, history, and theology of the early Christian scriptures commonly known as the New Testament. It examines the historical context of Jesus’ teachings, his parables and preaching of the “reign of God,” and the theology of Paul and the Gospels. Particular attention is given to the experience of faith that was engendered by Jesus among his first disciples and the lived faith of the earliest Christians.

LIM/LIMX 714 Grace, Christ, and Spirit 3 crs.

This course introduces students to the rich Christian tradition of theological reflection and teaching on the person of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and grace, as well as the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life. In the context of this tradition, students are invited to a deeper understanding of the meaning of salvation in their lives and in their ministry. Contemporary theologies of Christ and salvation are also explored, using Karl Rahner’s writings as an example of a modern theology of grace.

LIM/LIMX 715 Curriculum Development 3 crs.

This course enables participants to distinguish three models of teaching and learning that are practiced in various educational contexts and to consider their strengths and weaknesses as well as their value, relevance, and appropriateness in the practice of religious education in church and school. Special attention will be given to contemporary guidelines, curricula, and concerns in Catholic religious education.

LIM 716 Religious Education Across the Curriculum 3 crs.

This course envisions a school in which religious education is set at the center of the academic curriculum. Within such a school, religious education would obviously take the traditional form of a discrete subject that is concerned with passing on to students the distinctive teachings of the Catholic faith. This explicit focus of necessity remains but a part of the whole curriculum. What is needed and taken up in the course is a more comprehensive and integrated understanding and practice of religious education in which the religious educator partners with teachers to illumine the presence and activity of God, of the sacred, that ultimately and intimately pervades every subject and discipline as well as to affirm and support these teachers’ more implicit practice of religious education.

LIM/LIMX 722 Church, Sacraments, and Liturgy 3 crs.

This course presents the experience and theology of church, sacraments, and liturgy as they have unfolded throughout Christian history. A major part of the course is dedicated to a deeper understanding of the meaning of sacramentality and the theology of the individual sacraments in the Catholic tradition. Special emphasis is given to Vatican II and post-conciliar developments in the church’s self-understanding and in the theology and practice of ministry, sacraments, and liturgy.

LIM 744 Stewardship and Financial Management 3 crs.

This course offers a rationale for the integration of foundational issues in pastoral ministry with the principles of sound financial management in parish settings. Application and management of stewardship programs in ecclesial environments, measurement and reporting issues, managerial accounting, and financial data for decision making are studied.

LIM 750 Dynamics of Small Group Life 3 crs.

This course addresses communications skills, developmental stages of group life, leadership styles and models, group dynamics, conflict and negotiation in educational, pastoral, and small community contexts. (This course is required for all M.P.S. focus areas except pastoral care and counseling.)

LIM 800 Topics in Religious Education 3/1 crs.

This course explores specific issues and concerns in religious education. Topics may include history of faith sharing, experiential education, development of educational theory, educational programming, art of teaching, developing a community of educators, and religious education in Latin America.

LIM 804 Models of Religious Education 3/1 crs.

This course is designed for those students who are already or soon to be director of religious education. Four interrelated areas will be explored: the role and responsibilities of the DRE, administrative skills, models of educating and learning, and the prophetic dimensions of educational ministry.

LIM/LIMX 809 Inner Life of Small Christian Communities 3 crs.

A true Christian community is both gathered (faith’s internal life) and sent (faith’s public life). This course examines the internal life of small Christian communities: their leadership, communications, worship, and decision making. It includes historical and theological perspectives of the functioning of Christian communities inside their own boundaries.

LIM/LIMX 810 Public Life of Small Christian Communities 3 crs.

The course focuses on how small Christian communities can together engage in ministry and social justice. The course includes historical and theological perspectives on the relationship between Christian communities and their surrounding cultures and society.

LIM 811 Old Testament Topics 3/1 crs.

This course focuses on particular books or themes from the Old Testament collection. Topics may include Pentateuch, Prophets, the historical writings or the Psalms, and themes such as creation, promise and fulfillment, or ritual patterns may be considered.

LIM 812 New Testament Topics 3/1 crs.

This course explores specific books and themes in the New Testament literature. The focus may vary from the Pauline writings to the Gospel of John, from an inquiry into the teachings of the historical Jesus to the vision of the Church in the Pauline mission.

LIM/LIMX 813 The Universe as Divine Manifestation 3 crs.

This course engages students in a process of discernment, interpretation, and response to the natural world as revelatory, as a primary mediation and distinctive focus of divine presence and activity. Our exploration begins with searching out this revelation in the cosmological order through scientific insights into the structure and functioning of the universe. From this macrophase perspective, the course shifts to the more proximate witness to the divine as this finds expression in and through the planet Earth. Out of this experience and insight we will articulate the meaning of this revelation for ourselves and for people of faith in our times.

LIM/LIMX 814 The Emergent Universe: Our Sacred Story 3 crs.

This course asks participants to immerse themselves in contemporary discoveries and understandings of the emergent universe and to reflect on its spiritual dimensions and significance. As we become familiar with this new story, this sacred story, we will also attend to the data which describes the urgency of the ecological issue with an eye to discerning its implications for the physical, psychic, and spiritual dimensions of our lives.

LIM 815 African-American Experience in Religion and Culture 3 crs.

The course provides a means by which African-American culture and religion can be better understood and appreciated each for its own sake as well as its contribution to world civilization and culture. During the course, participants examine the interplay of religion and culture in the African-American experience ranging from African antiquities through the African Diaspora to present day expressions such as theomusicology.

LIM 816 African-American Religious Experience and Black Church History 3 crs.

This course examines the history and institutional life of Africans and African-Americans in the Diaspora, especially the Western Hemisphere. The study starts in Africa with ancient and traditional African religions, continues into Latin America, and then on to North America with Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and their synthesis with their African antecedents. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the black church in the United States as an institution.

LIM/LIMX 819 Spirituality and the Theology of Work 3 crs.

Oriented to those students who understand their ministry as primarily taking place outside of parish or other explicit ecclesial communities, this course investigates work and profession from the standpoints of vocation and community. Vocation is considered as a transformation of toil into creative work, and profession is viewed as an expression of the way one professes commitment to a particular community. Creativity, redemption, and collaboration are explored in light of workplace systems and the difference that Christians can make in the world.

LIM/LIMX 820 Ministry in the Marketplace 3 crs.

This course helps students discern practical approaches to working toward mutually respectful, caring, and just communities in diverse and pluralistic work and community settings. The course will explore how images of collective life rooted in the biblical image of the reign of God can be translated into contemporary societies and community life with respect for persons of varying backgrounds and tradition.

LIM 821 Topics in Christian Theology 3/1 crs.

This course explores specific issues in Christian theology, including the broad categories of sin, reconciliation, and political theory, or such issues as the contrast in ecclesiologies between Trent and Vatican II.

LIM 825 Methods of Theological Reflection 3/1 crs.

Students explore a variety of methods for theological reflection, including theology of story; journal keeping; process theology; liberation theology; the interaction of culture, tradition, and personal experience; and case studies. In any given semester, one of these methods may become the focus of the course.

LIM/LIMX 827 Spirituality for Ministers 3 crs.

This course discusses the theological foundation of Christian life and explores how ministry is rooted in and gives expression to the minister’s relationship with God. Students are invited to reflect on prayer, discernment, and spiritual growth in the context of finding God in the midst of ministry.

LIM/LIMX 828 History of Christian Spirituality 3 crs.

This course is an introduction to the variety of experiences and expressions of Christian spirituality from the roots of the Hebrew Scriptures to contemporary spiritual writing. The course focuses on monasticism, mysticism, and modern apostolic spirituality as a way of exploring the recurring questions and challenges that shape the human search for God.

LIM 832 Sacramental Topics 3/1 crs.

This course focuses on particular sacraments or groups of sacraments such as Reconciliation or Marriage, sacraments of initiation, or sacraments of healing. In any given semester, the focus of this course will change to address particular sacramental concerns.

LIM/LIMX 833 Hispanic Experience of Religion and Culture 3 crs.

This course presents an overview of the diversity of Hispanic cultures in the United States and introduces participants to the history and development of Hispanic/Latino/Latina theologies that have emerged in the U.S. context since the second half of the 20th century. Participants will gain an appreciative awareness of various cultural symbols and expressions of religious life among Hispanic communities and explore the implications of these for ministry among Hispanic peoples.

LIM/LIMX 834 Pastoral Ministry in Hispanic Communities 3 crs.

Rooted in an understanding of cultural and religious experiences of Hispanics in the U.S. context, this course explores various pastoral approaches that address issues particularly significant in Hispanic communities. Theological reflection on ministry is interwoven throughout the course.

LIM 835 Current Moral Issues 3/1 crs.

This course explores current moral issues in personal life, work/profession, and sociopolitical life. Students will focus on a particular moral issue such as abortion or nuclear war or on the theoretical and practical implications of contemporary moral theory in a broad category of contemporary life such as sexuality or politics.

LIM 836 Human Sexuality and Christian Faith 3/1 crs.

The course explores the significance of human sexuality, its expression in personal experience, and cultural influence.

LIMX 840 Faith and Culture 3 crs.

This course explores the mystery of faith operating within the context of contemporary culture. Students are introduced to a broad array of social science perspectives and analytical skills. Powerful cultural forces, such as the news and entertainment media, generational differences, ritual, and technology are analyzed for insights in improving ministerial praxis and personal spiritual understanding.

LIM 841 Religion, Crime, and Justice 3 crs.

This course explores crime and justice issues through the perspective of religion. 

LIM 842 Peace and Justice Ministry 3/1 crs.

This course explores the theoretical and practical issues involved in peace and justice ministry today. Particular issues such as the morality of nuclear war, world hunger, and human rights as well as pastoral approaches to community organizing and political participation will be studied in any given semester.

LIM 843 Women’s Issues in Church and Culture 3/1 crs.

This course offers an exploration of the historical, psychological, and sociological factors which continue to influence the patriarchal tradition in the Western World. The course focuses on the perspective and experience women offer Church and society.

LIM/LIMX 844 Parish Life and Ministry 3 crs.

The aim of this course is to help participants reflect on today’s experience of the parish in its many shapes and forms. Pastoral practice and canon law are used during the course as reference points for discussion of the pastoral and canonical issues raised by the student and the course content.

LIM/LIMX 845 Contemporary Issues in Pastoral Ministry 3 crs.

This course examines a number of challenges facing parishes and pastoral leaders in a variety of ministry settings. Topics include issues related to evangelization, collaborative ministry, parish mergers and transitions, and the spirituality of lay ecclesial ministers, among others. Course participants also examine in more depth the needs and models of ministry related to a particular population (for example, ministry to homebound elderly) in their faith community.

LIM 849 Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling 3 crs.

This course is a religious and social psychological introduction to the basic stance of pastoral care and counseling. It explores how pastoral counseling is like and not like secular counseling practice and articulates the unique characteristics of forms of counseling calling themselves pastoral.

LIM 855 Psychology and Spirituality 3/1 crs.

This course offers an examination of psychological theories and classical theological models of spirituality.

LIM 856 Topics in Christian Spirituality 3/1 crs.

This course explores particular classical spiritualities such as St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises or the spiritual vision of Meister Eckhart, or more generic themes such as prayer and contemporary spiritual discipline.

LIM/LIMX 860 Faith Development and Spirituality 3 crs.

This course invites students to develop a life-long commitment to faith formation and growth. Adult faith development and integrated spirituality are explored as students reflect on their own growth and the growth of those to whom they minister. Topics of adult development, learning, and faith are presented, including vocation, relationships, prayer, liturgy, and justice.

LIM/LIMX 861 Pastoral Leadership and Organization 3 crs.

This course explores the meaning of pastoral leadership in light of the current research in organizational development and ecclesiology. Current literature is surveyed in light of the mission of the church and the ecclesial vision of participants. Special emphasis is placed upon participative strategic planning processes and organizational development. Participants will analyze an organizational system for its strengths and weaknesses and propose interventions that would strengthen its organizational functioning.

LIM 863 Family Systems 3 crs.

This course offers an integrational perspective on family systems. The primary purpose of this course is to help participants understand more deeply how the web of family relationships continues to affect all of our interpersonal relationships, including our professional ones. A parallel goal is to sensitize ourselves to the effects of family history on those with whom we interact as professionals in counseling and ministry.

LIM/LIMX 870 Foundations of Youth Ministry 3 crs.

The course examines the broad foundations of youth ministry with younger and older adolescents. It then investigates a model for comprehensive youth ministry that incorporates developmentally sound youth programs, strengthens the family’s role in the lives of young people, involves adolescents as integral members of the local church, and reaches out to key individuals and organizations in the wider community in the dynamic effort to promote healthy youth formation.

LIM 874 Special Topics in Ministry 3/1 crs.

Students in this course will focus on particular topics critical to their concerns in ministry. Such topics as ministry to the sick and dying, ministry to the aged, and ministry in minority communities will be explored in any given semester.

LIM/LIMX 876 Adolescent Spirituality and Methods of Faith Development 3 crs.

With this course, students first examine in depth the phenomenon and characteristics of adolescent spirituality today. They then examine typical stages of religious development during the adolescent years. Finally, students direct their attention to a study of a variety of methodologies to enhance and encourage the faith development of youth, and appropriate to helping youth grow in religious knowledge and religious expression.

LIM 880 Ministry and the Arts 3/1 crs.

This course explores the use of music, mime, art, dance, media, poetry, and storytelling in ritual and religious education. The arts are considered as vehicles of theological expression and liturgical celebration.

LIM 885 Religious Communication 3/1 crs.

This course explores how a variety of communication media can benefit ministers in their particular settings. Both theory and practice of contemporary communication media, especially the use of television, are explored with hands-on experience.

LIM/LIMX 886 Pastoral and Educational Praxis 3 crs.

In this capstone course, students employ the method of practical theology to reflect on concerns related to their ministerial and educational praxis. Careful analyses that include the social and cultural circumstances surrounding their identified praxis will be undertaken, as well as an appreciative and critical retrieval of the voice of the faith tradition. Based on that reflection, possible educational and ministerial interventions that meet criteria of pragmatic feasibility and religious faithfulness will be imagined and articulated verbally and in writing for evaluation and feedback.

LIM 890 Special Topics 3/1 crs.

This course number is used to offer courses on an infrequent basis. Typically, the course is offered once using this number with a unique title. For a full description, contact the institute office.

LIM 897 Practicum 3/1 crs.

Students wishing to explore the practice of ministry in specific contexts may apply to the director to arrange a practicum of 1-3 hours, which will include a reflective paper and supervised experience.

LIM 899 Independent Study 3/1 crs.

Students may apply to the director for independent study based on specific situations or needs. Forms are available in the institute office.