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The configuration curriculum is a four-year integrated program of formation designed to fulfill all of the requirements of the Program of Priestly Formation. The classroom is formational in addition to being academic. Professors relate their own experiences of priestly ministry (whether as priests performing the ministry or laity receiving priestly ministry) to lessons of the subject. The core curriculum offers a comprehensive presentation of the doctrine of faith. Field education offers experiences, which give context to the classroom lessons. Two internships allow the seminarian to work full-time in parish and hospital settings. Mundelein’s aim is to produce generalists with depth, who are well prepared for the duties and tasks of diocesan priesthood. Most seminarians receive a Master of Divinity degree. Some will obtain a Certificate of Studies. Others go on to complete a Pontifical Degree.

Course Offerings

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the major methods of exegesis which are applicable to gospel literature. Through an in-depth analysis of the Gospel of John, the student is introduced to the key questions of gospel research. In addition, the course explores the relationship between the Synoptic and Johannine communities.

We will closely read five of the seven “authentic” letters of Paul: Philemon, 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, and Romans. As there is time, we will also study some of the “Deutero Pauline” letters such as: Col, Eph, and Heb. We will consider among other things: Paul’s strategies as a pastor, Paul’s innovative use of the letter form, Paul’s idea of justification by faith, the Lutheran / Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification, the nature of Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus, the “New Perspective” on Paul, and the status of Israel vis-à-vis the Church.

The goal of Homiletics I is helping seminarians understand the foundations of preaching. The objective is to study the homiletic tradition of the Church, to appreciate how the Church has interpreted and preached on Scripture throughout history. We will look at the interpretation of the Bible in the Church, study rhetorical techniques, and read homilies from the great preachers of the Tradition.

The goal of Homiletics II is helping seminarians develop the habit of preaching. The objective is to prepare for the diaconate and beyond, for a pastoral ministry that involves regular Sunday preaching. We will consider the specific nature of a homily, study the pastoral use of the lectionary, and learn a methodology that can be used weekly. The class will be conducted for the most part as an apprentice workshop (practice preaching, video recording, and class feedback) to develop skills of listening that allow the preacher to hear himself as the congregation hear him.

This course introduces the Bible and the main topics that are essential for its interpretation: Church Teachings on Sacred Scripture, the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, the biblical world, an historical overview and timeline of the biblical period, ancient notions of authorship, inspiration, exegetical methodologies used by the Church, and literary forms and their unique manners of conveying truth. Special attention is given to the Psalms as the prayer of the Church, and to the Wisdom Literature. The constant focus of the course is on preparing students to communicate the richness of the Bible to God’s people.

This course provides an overview of the classical biblical prophets. It pays particular attention to the prophet’s call to be God’s messengers, to their unique contributions to divine revelation, and to the distinctive and haunting style they employ to engage their contemporaries and to persuade them to adapt their views and priorities to those of their covenant God.

This study of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts of the Apostles will emphasize a canonical reading of the texts, focusing on the context provided by each book as a unified work, as well as upon the contextual significance of both the Old and New Testaments for a proper reading of the gospels. General questions concerning the historical context, structure, and composition of the Synoptic Gospel and Acts will be addressed, with special attention given to the similarities and differences they manifest in their respective narrative and theological emphasis. A major objective of the course is to facilitate the integration of biblical exegesis into the spirituality of diocesan priesthood.

A study of the Pentateuchal traditions and the foundation of the Pentateuch in light of the history of Israel. Emphasis will be on the historical, cultural, literary and theological readings of the Pentateuch and the historical collections of the Old Testament.

The course examines the foundations of faith a theology. It considers the religious nature of humankind, theories of revelation and faith in conversation with the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, Vatican II, the development of the Christian tradition and its role in Christian life, the inspiration of Scripture, and the relationship of Christianity to other religions.

This course presents a general introduction to the theology of the person and saving work of Jesus Christ. After a general introduction, the first part of the course will explore what the Scriptures reveal to us about the identity of Christ and his saving mission. Following this, the course will survey how the Scriptural data has been interpreted by the Tradition of the Church, with a particular focus on the development of the dogma of Christ in the first seven ecumenical councils. The third part of the course will examine the Church’s understanding of the saving work of Christ, emphasizing the Catholic understanding of soteriology from the Church Fathers to the present day. Finally, the course will conclude with a systematic consideration of contemporary issues in Christology and Soteriology, and a reflection on the role of Christology and Soteriology in the life and pastoral ministry of priests today.

This course seeks to appreciate the central role of the Trinitarian mystery in the lives of the early disciples, the collective history of the church, theological speculation, our own daily lives of faith, and various pastoral applications in contemporary culture. The basics of development in doctrine and the understanding of that doctrine will be traced through the patristic, medieval, and contemporary periods with an emphasis on the overcoming of heresies and the formation of the symbols of faith (creeds) as collective strivings for greater unity of truth and charity in the early church. We will also devote time to an examination of Augustine’s and Aquinas’ psychological analogies for helping us understand the Trinity, both the natural and “supernatural” analogies, and we will examine how Trinitarian doctrine molded the Christian notion of person. Emphasis will be given throughout the course to Aquinas’ doctrine of the Trinity as a preeminently clear and faithful exposition of the tradition. Last but not least, we will investigate how being made in the Trinitarian image of God speaks into priestly formation and prayer and helps all Christians spiritually encourage one another and encounter the culture in faith, hope, and love.

As Catholic Christians we believe that history was forever changed by the mystery of God’s Word of Love become incarnate for our salvation. But the mystery of the Incarnation in which man’s full calling is revealed in Christ was preceded by the creation of the human in the image of God, and is extended to every man and woman until the end of time in the worldwide ministry of the Church. In turn, the Church is a pilgrim people who lives into the Resurrection of all reality, all of the universe, until the final coming of Christ when He will be “all in all.” In this course we will survey the classical topics of theological anthropology: creation in the image of God; sin, redemption, and grace; and eschatology. Since the Church’s core teaching is that we are made and destined for an all-consuming union of eternal happiness with God and with one another, the human is both a relational and a subsistent reality. It would seem that the meaning and purpose of the human being is at the heart of it all but it is not just “any person” but the human person as revealed in the light of Christ as being gifted by Trinitarian love. And so we will return again and again throughout the course topics to the meta-themes of giftedness by God and divine-human communion as being both our origin and our destiny. But how can we reach our destiny? Here we encounter the dual themes of self-possession and self-transcendence as two sides of the same “road” of conversion that we all must walk to return to the Father.

This course will begin with a consideration of the sacraments in general, including the topics of institution, validity, efficacy, minister and recipient, and the effects of the sacraments. Emphasis will be placed on the Trinitarian, Christological and Ecclesiological dimensions of the canonical sacraments. We will proceed to study these sacraments of initiation, baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. Each will be considered in its biblical, historical, liturgical and canonical aspects.

This course will examine the sacraments of healing (Reconciliation and Anointing) and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Holy Orders and Marriage). Each will be considered in its biblical, historical, liturgical and canonical aspects.

This course will examine the doctrine of the Nicene Creed expressed in articles 8 – 12. In keeping with the goals of seminary intellectual formation, these doctrines will be explored theologically and spiritually. Following a review of Christology and pneumatology, since in the hierarchy of truths all doctrine about the Church relates back to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the course will focus on how Christ guides, instructs and sanctifies his people through the “prolongation of the Incarnation” which is the Body of Christ. Beginning with the biblical, patristic, medieval, modern and contemporary understandings the foundation, nature, and mission of the Church as the “universal sacrament of salvation.” We will examine the foundational office of Jesus Christ as High Priest of the New Covenant, the two participations in the priesthood of Christ, the apostolic basis of the ministerial office, its hierarchical and collegial character, the three-fold sacramental expression of office in bishop, presbyter and deacon. The course will conclude with a survey of doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This course is an exploration of the nature and meaning of the Catholic priesthood offered in the fourth year of formation as transitional deacons prepare for priestly ordination. It is an opportunity to integrate theological reflection over the course of the seminary study around the theme of the place of the priesthood in the Church as gift of Jesus Christ to his people for the realization of their mission.

This course is an introduction to Catholic moral theology, Scripture, Apostolic Tradition, various ecclesial traditions, and natural reason are studied in light of moral decision making, Christ is the paradigm of human action. The believer is challenged to live the faith. Virtue as a path to holiness is discussed along with fundamental concepts including: natural law, sin, double effect, scandal, material cooperation with evil, and action theory (role of intention and the moral object in voluntary human acts).

The medical ethics component of this course treats contemporary moral issues within the practice of medicine. End of life, artificial feeding and hydration, organ donation and transplantation, abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, cloning, and other moral relevant issues will be discussed from a moral perspective. The suffering component of this course seeks a spiritual rationale for human suffering, by examining Magisterial documents and other important writings on this topic. The aim is to construct a competing narrative to that espoused by the contemporary “culture of death,” which counsels extermination in cases where suffering greatly diminishes one’s overall quality of life.

This course examines sexuality, marriage, and family from the perspective of Catholic morality. God’s nature as Trinitarian love, the person as imago dei, the intrinsic goodness of the human body (attested to by both Incarnation and Resurrection), the human vocation as self-gift, the grace of baptism, and marriage as an indissoluble spiritual sign of the union between Christ and his church, all instantiate the redemptive possibility of sex as a true language of love. At the same time, the wounds of original sin, the dividedness of the human will, and various “structures of sin” pervading modern culture instantiate the possible misuse of sex to objectify, degrade, and abuse both self and others. After clarifying the Church’s understanding of the problem and her recommended solutions, students in the course will participate in mock practice conversations with parishioners on the following topics: marriage and family life, cohabitation, adultery, homosexual acts, fornication, pornography, masturbation, contraception, and natural family planning.

This course explores the dignity of the human person and its practical implications for human life in society. Topics to be discussed include: human rights and corresponding duties; political responsibility and the common good; the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity; and the issues of migration, racism and anti-Semitism, war and peace, capital punishment, poverty and wealth, private property and the free market, and international development.

“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16, echoing Leviticus 11:44 & 45). Of all the commandments that the LORD God gave to his people Israel, perhaps none seems more challenging. How is it possible for us as finite, post-lapsarian creatures to become holy, like unto the God who created us? The answer to this question is found in Christ: For Christians, holiness is ultimately nothing less than living a life modeled after the life of Christ— something that is possible for us only because of Christ’s prior gift of grace. In this course, we will examine how Scripture and Tradition answer the questions “What is holiness?” and “How do we become holy?” This course thus engages some of what are commonly known as the great works of “spirituality,” and is concerned with the ways or practice of Christian life. In particular, we will examine the theological and doctrinal underpinnings of Christian spirituality (practice)—for example, the doctrines of God, Christ, the human being, creation, salvation, etc. In reading texts, therefore, we will be asking not only ‘what is this author’s spirituality like,’ but also (e.g.) ‘What is the doctrinal basis for this spirituality? What vision of God emerges from (or underpins) this work? What is this author’s understanding of the human being? How does this author think about the reality of salvation?’ In pursuing these and related questions, our course will proceed mostly (though not exclusively) chronologically, beginning with Scripture and continuing into the modern period.

One of the streams of thought at the Second Vatican Council was the engagements of the Catholic Church with those outside its boundaries. In the course of the general congregations, this stream of thought took shape as a decree and two declarations. More significantly, after the council each element was given a permanent structure in the Roman Curia to foster its implementation. This course will examine the principles which direct the Catholic Church’s engagement with other Christians and other believers.

This immersive experiential participatory integrative course will help prepare the student for his ministry as a deacon and priest with the people he will serve. Aware of himself and the people he is relating to, he will converse and experience in the variety of situations and be able to capture what happened, and make judgements about it, and act appropriately, in other words notice, accompany, discern, and act. He will be aware of what is happening inside of himself as well as inside of the other person (as appropriate). There will be large group sessions of explanation regarding see, encounter, judge, act, significant conversations, and the experience of synodality. The main focus is on exploring, integrating, digging into, and connecting the myriad experiences of the pilgrimage. There will be at least 15 meetings of the colleague groups to connect, explore, integrate, interpret, and review affect.

Various topics in advanced pastoral theology.

The pastoral internship usually takes place during the spring semester of second year. Dioceses may extend it for an entire year. Primary areas of ministerial involvement are education, pastoral care, prayer and liturgy, preaching, and adult faith life. This is a supervised, parish-based experience and ordinarily takes place in the home diocese.

This course focuses on the role of the pastor. How does a pastor fashion a gospel vision and implement it in all aspects of parish life? We look at leadership styles and how those styles are manifested in a parish setting and their impact on the parish community. Issues include prayer and liturgy, education, outreach and evangelization, business and finance, generational ministerial issues, stewardship, personnel decisions, planning, follow-up, evaluation, pastoring multiple and diverse parishes, pastoring in urban and rural settings, etc. Input from outside sources is obtained, and feedback from lived experience is explored.

If the Church is a field hospital, a parish priest is a first responder. Pastoral Theology is the place where theological knowledge obtained within a classroom setting is applied directly to the care of souls. The Pastoral Theology curriculum is designed as a spiral, where many topics will be revisited and entered into with greater depth as the student grows in theological and pastoral competence. Combined with the Teaching Parish Program, the Pastoral Theology curriculum seeks to equip a seminarian with sufficient knowledge and experience to begin his priestly ministry with appropriate confidence.

Treats the history of Canon Law up to and including the Revised Code. The first three Books of the Code are discussed: General Norms, the People of God, the Teaching Office of the Church, and all the Sacraments from the canonical perspective. In addition, the Temporal Goods of the Church and Sanctions in the Church are discussed.

This course addresses various canonical and pastoral problems which the minister faces in preparing couples for marriage. The canonical forms of each diocese are explained, and various pastoral approaches used in instructing engaged couples will be analyzed.

An introduction to the theological and pastoral dimensions of the sacred liturgy. Topics explored include the nature of ritual and its relationship to liturgy and theology, the elements and criteria involved in the preparation and celebration of worship, and methods of liturgical catechesis, promoting active participation, and fostering New Evangelization.

This course provides a pastoral orientation of norms for the role of the deacon at celebrations of the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, Baptism, Marriage, Funeral Rites (Vigil and Committal), Eucharist, the Sacraments of Marriage and Baptism, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and other liturgical rites. Guthrie Fall

This course provides a pastoral orientation to the role of the priest in the celebration of the Eucharist, selected sacraments, and other liturgical rites. Using the Roman Missal and Lectionary, and their accompanying official documentation, students are prepared to celebrate the Eucharist with pastoral competence and to lead the assembly in the worship of God. In addition, the musical role of the presider is discussed, and students are given the opportunity to practice singing presidential chants. Guthrie Spring

In an address to priests of the Warsaw presbyterate in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI reminded them that: “The faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life [emphasis added].” Every parish priest should be capable and joyfully willing to offer spiritual direction to his people. This course provides a solid foundation in the theology, spirituality, and practice of spiritual direction. It addresses the important transition from seminarian as directee to priest as director. There is a particular focus on the practice of spiritual direction within a parish setting (which differs considerably from what the seminarian has largely experienced throughout his formation).

The course is meant to give the soon-to-be-priest some practical experiences of the sacrament of reconciliation. The student should deepen his understanding of his role as confessor and the significance of this in his ministry as a priest. What does it mean to act in the person of Christ and absolve a penitent from his or her sins? Also, the student should acquire a pastoral sense of what the penitent expects from the sacrament. The course also treats spiritual direction as a distinct ministry in the pastoral setting.

The Catholic Church draws her Rule of Faith from Scripture and Tradition. The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a detailed introduction to the first six centuries of Christian life and thought—the centuries that first formulated our Rule of Faith and set the agenda for all subsequent Catholic theology.

This course will examine primarily the development of the Church in the West from A.D. 600 to 1500. The main theme of the course will be to examine how the faith was expressed and incorporated into medieval society and how that synthesis began to unravel just before the dawn of the early modern period. Topics include the Carolingians, the development of the papacy, conciliar history, the development and impact of religious movements, intellectual movements, and reform. Hilliard Spring CH516 Reformation and Revolution This course will survey the history of the church from 1500-1850. Particular emphasis will be placed on the responses of the Church to the challenges of the Protestants, the Nation -States, and the Enlightenment. The course will also discuss the global expansion of the Church in her missions. Other topics include: the development of the papacy, the role and impact of religious orders, reform, and intellectual and educational developments.

This course covers papal history from Pope Pius IX through Pope John Paul II. The rise of nationalism, especially in Italy, resulted in new models of church/state relations. During the 20th century, the papacy faced the challenges of totalitarian governments – Communism, Fascism, and National Socialism. The papacy evolved in significant ways during these decades to address the challenges of the modern world. This course will examine the nature of church/state relations, the development of Catholic identity, the teaching authority of the papacy, and the renewal of intellectual and religious life in the Catholic Church during from the 19th to the early 21st century.

This survey course will highlight the development of the Catholic Church in the United States from the Spanish and French missionary era (1565) to the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States in 1979. The growth of the American Catholic community from a minority population to the largest single religious denomination in the United States is fascinating story of immigration, of institutional development, and of heroic people. The course will examine both the contributions of American Catholics to the nation and the challenges faced by American Catholics during the 19th and 20th centuries.