The University of Notre Dame (UNDA) is partnering with the Archdiocesan Centre of Faith Enrichment (CFE) to offer a Pathway program towards formal recognition of theological studies.
The program will give those who want to learn the basics of theology, or who want to deepen their existing knowledge of theology, an opportunity to pursue an education leading to a possible career in pastoral ministry.
The program is designed to give advanced standing to people who attend CFE courses and who would like to pursue their studies at UNDA.
Students who undertake a number of approved courses at the CFE will be able to enrol into the Undergraduate Certificate in Theology or the Diploma of Theology at UNDA and be granted advanced standing.
The UGCertTh is a half year full-time (or equivalent part-time) program and the DTheol is a one year full-time (or equivalent part-time) program.
The maximum period within which a student is permitted to complete the degrees is two years for the UGCertTh and four years for the DTheol.
Theology is a useful qualification for those wishing to exercise various ministries within the Christian community and to contribute to the work of the Church.
It is also the necessary basis for graduate theological study and research.
CFE Director Dr Marco Ceccarelli said the program will hopefully lead more people to explore the beauty of faith education and the richness of theology.
“We are hoping to give people an opportunity to be immersed in the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition and explore captivating topics such as The Old Testament, The New Testament, the history of the early Church, Christology, Ecclesiology, Mariology, the study of the Fathers of the Church, the meaning of human dignity, a deeper understanding of the Sacraments, an appreciation for morality and virtue and so much more,” Dr Ceccarelli said.
Dr Ceccarelli explained that the five discipline areas covering both offered programs include Scripture, Church History, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology and Pastoral Theology.
“These five discipline areas are overarching categories that indicate the types of courses that we will offer. For instance, under the topic of Systematic Theology, we will offer courses on the Sacraments, on Christology and on the Trinity. Within the category of Moral Theology one can expect to see courses on Scripture and Morality, on Marriage and Orders and Catholic Social Teaching. We are planning to offer courses on Church history and delve into the origins of our faith, how it has developed throughout antiquity, the middle-ages and to present day,” he explained.
“We are currently working on adding a new page to our website so that people who are interested in taking the Pathway will be able to see what courses qualify for this Program. “Not all our courses at CFE will be Pathway courses. We still aim to offer parishioners of the Archdiocese, and anyone with an interest in faith education, a wide variety of faith-oriented course that do not require assessment.
“However, for those that want to deepen their understanding of theology, the Pathway Program will give them advanced standing which will allow them to enrol at UNDA and finish their course there,” he added.
“This is an important aspect of the Pathway Program; the CFE will be able to provide students with advanced standing so they can undertake part of their degree with us and complete the rest of it at UNDA. The CFE cannot issue certificates or diplomas. Under this new initiative, however, it will be able to suitably prepare students for either an Undergraduate Certificate in Theology or a Diploma of Theology so they can finish their degree at UNDA.”
The Pathway will offer career opportunities not limited to; Agency work within the Church – mission integration within Catholic healthcare, aged care, chaplaincy, prison ministry and pastoral counselling, education, and teaching (upon completion of a graduate-entry teaching qualification) – academic teaching, journalism and media, youth work, public libraries, and research Institutes.