United States

Impact of Spiritual Counseling for African American Young Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

Author
R. Lorraine Brown M.Div.
Abstract
The author researched how African Americans, age 18-28, who received care for sickle cell disease (SCD), were impacted by intentional sharing of clinic-based spiritual counseling. This spiritual intervention addressed the often unspoken concerns of this population. Understanding spirituality, while managing the many facets of SCD, is vital for holistic health. Participants found themselves at critical junctures in their spiritual development - seeking, exploring, even questioning - how spirituality plays a role in their overall well-being. The project collected both qualitative and quantitative data through a chaplain interventionist. The chaplain met 1:1 with participants to share strategies for increasing everyday coping and self-efficacy. The participants found spiritual care to be necessary and helpful as they navigated their daily lives and sickle cell disease. The author came to realize to truly be effective, an in-depth longitudinal study is needed for true impact.

Lives Aglow: A Study of the Vocational Lives and Testimonies of Congregational Leaders at First United Methodist Church

Author
William Cato
Abstract
This project addressed a lack of opportunities for Christian vocational discernment at First United Methodist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FUMCA). The research question asked what effect, if any, the public speech of leaders would have on the vocational self-understanding of congregants. The hypothesis postulated that the public testimonies of congregational leaders, coupled with a sermon series, would produce an increase in the percentage of congregants who identify as called to participate in God’s redemptive work. While the hypothesis could not be substantiated, the project produced vocational agitation among congregants. Results indicated the need for follow-up measures to sustain lasting change.

Towards a Holistic Education: Forging Integrative Approaches between Campus Ministers and Theology Faculty at Catholic Universities

Author
Rachelle M. Kramer D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores to what extent a synergy could be created between campus ministers and theology professors at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities that might contribute to a more holistic development (spiritual, moral, intellectual) of their students. The project overall seeks to learn how a holistic education can best be understood in Catholic higher education today as well as the factors that foster and hinder it. The experience of campus ministers and theology faculty, emerging adult theory, the Catholic Tradition, and integrative learning theory serve as dialogue partners in order to unearth new insights and concrete actions for the future.

Visio Divina: In Light of the USCCB Curriculum Framework

Author
Eileen B Maggiore D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project involved working with eleven high school seniors from two schools while applying visual ethnographic research. The research method for ministry is attributed to Evelyn and James Whitehead’s attending, asserting, and responding. The study addresses three Catholic traditions-- the USCCB's Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age, emerging disciples, and Lectio-Visio Divina -- juxtaposed to learning styles and postmodern American teens who attend two Chicagoland area Catholic high schools. The students were asked about their social media usage, teaching preferences and definition of a disciple. The interviewed students elicited a visual image, upon request, which represents discipleship and through the process of lamination described their image. The students spoke to their preferences of teaching styles along with how they would teach younger students. Students conversed about the time when they most felt like a disciple.
The interviewed students exhibited transformative learning after generating visual images from their personal mobile phones. The interviewees’ definition of a disciple became more elaborate as they progressed with the visual ethnographic discussion. The initial feedback to discipleship prompted an intellectual answer and through lamination their response became more personal. The students utilized generative learning to create a thick description of their previous knowledge about discipleship.
The students’ desire is to have their lessons taught with visuals and other supportive techniques, including time to assess new epistemologies. These findings suggest that the students are interested in a more embodied teaching experience which could promote teens into becoming emerging disciples. Transformative learning tools are found not to oppose, but rather complement the USCCB's Framework. It is suggested that the Gospel Visual Creation or to Pray the Lesson are teaching techniques which could assist in the formation of disciples among Catholic high school students.

Language for Effective Preaching: Practical Guide for Fidei Donum Priests in the Belleville Diocese

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri.

Culture is an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents, others, and the society about what it means to be a human being. As a child grows in the society, the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. A child learns these assumptions from parents and caregivers. There are other cultural expressions including table manners and the distribution of chores. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
Language as an essential part of preaching is the subject of this thesis. The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective Preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When Priests use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst. And that is why concrete imageries are the best tools for preaching.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, Fidei Donum Priests must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language, including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them.

From Reading To Preaching: Training First-Generation Korean-American Catholic Lay Ministers as Preachers through Online Sessions

Author
DONG UK KANG M.Div.
Abstract
The Catholic Church had a conflicting stance towards lay preaching in the past. However, lay preaching is feasible nowadays outside of Mass since the Code of Canon Law does not prevent the laity from preaching, and the Baptismal grace leads all the baptized to witness their faith. However, the laypeople still hesitated to practice the ministry. The researcher wondered if the lack of preaching education caused hesitation and decided to train laypeople to be preachers.
Six lay ministers and a layperson from a Korean Catholic church in Boston participated in the six-week online sessions. The researcher made fifteen instructional videos on focus and function statements and delivery of the sermons. Watching them, each participant submitted two drafts of their sermons and two preaching videos, and had two or three individual review sessions with the researcher, depending on his/her needs. The researcher measured each participant’s progress using the grading table of St. Meinrad seminary. The changes between the two grades from the first and the second preachings showed that the participants improved their preaching skills over the course of the training. The researcher found that preaching ministry was a teachable subject for the laity through online training.
To triangulate and assess the research outcome both qualitatively and quantitatively, the researcher also provided each participant with pre-training and post-training Likert-scale questionnaires and interviewed each participate using Watson’s five categories. In general, the participants appreciated the direction, convenience, and productiveness of the online teaching program. However, some participants pointed out cultural factors that would make the Korean and Korean-American congregation feel uncomfortable with the ministry. The researcher learned that he needs to study further and to strategize carefully in order to ease the cultural barrier when training future participants.

FORMING GOOD PREACHERS: THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATING LEADING ELEMENTS OF THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PRIESTLY FORMATION FOR GOOD PREACHING

Author
Gregg Michael Caggianelli D.Min.
Abstract
Can the integration of leading elements in the four dimensions of priestly formation contribute to the formation of good preachers? Building on the premise that a good preacher is one who is not only competent in the skills needed for good preaching, but is also a person who authentically lives in a way that gives witness to the Gospel preached, the author searches for how these preachers can be formed for our age.

Chapter One explores the intrinsic connection between God’s Word and God’s deeds as the pattern for authentic preaching. The investigation asks whether good seminary formation contributes to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Two highlights the vision of St. Dominic and introduces the idea of the preacher’s formation using the work of Humbert of Romans. Noting similar patterns in St. Charles Borromeo and St. Vincent de Paul, this chapter leads into the reforms called for from Vatican II until the present. The Church’s formation documents become the foundation for generating an extensive list of specific formation elements identified for development in a candidate during seminary formation.

Chapter Three builds various assessments tools used in the pastoral appropriation, seeking to identify and highlight important formation elements from the four dimensions of priestly formation that contribute to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Four extensively explores the qualitative and quantitative results, highlighting the significant correlation between the integration of leading elements of priestly formation and improved preaching quality.

Chapter Five suggests five ways for sharing this project’s findings, hoping that this thesis will allow seminary formators to accompany developing preachers in their understanding of how personal reflection across all four dimensions of their seminary formation contributes to their development as preachers able to not only preach well but live as witnesses to the Gospel.

Rolling Away the Stone: Toward Wholeness and Holiness for Queer Catholics

Author
Ryan J. Hoffmann D.Min.
Abstract
In what ways are the praxes of queer Catholics cultivating affirming approaches to wholeness and holiness? How is DignityUSA, a national nonprofit LGBTQI advocacy organization in the United States, testifying to more inclusive and just expressions of church?

This thesis-project explores best practices of hospitality among DignityUSA chapters and examines ways in which it contributes to LGBTQ wholeness and holiness. Queer Catholic experience, Catholicism, and relevant fields of science serve as dialogue partners. The project asserts points of clarification and identifies six pathways forward for LGBTQ Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church.

The project suggests that radical hospitality serves as an integrative catalyst behind which LGBTQ Catholics more authentically and confidently appropriate their rightful place in the Catholic Church.

The Unity Process and Its Effectiveness In Decreasing Cross-Cultural Divisions In Society Due to Racism

Author
Pamela Y Fields D.Min.
Abstract
This case study dealt with determining the usefulness of The Unity Process as a tool in combatting the racial divisions in the Dallas area. Research tools included pre- and post-surveys and interviews. The results were compared with The Unity Process. The three major findings from the research are the reality of the systemic nature of racism became apparent as well as the lived realities of minorities. From this awareness and understanding, participants became able to engage with others from different races and cultures. Finally, participants felt more competent and willing to engage and be an active advocate for minorities in America.

Impact of Spiritual Counseling for African American Young Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

Author
R. Lorraine Brown M.Div.
Abstract
The author researched how African Americans, age 18-28, who received care for sickle cell disease were impacted by intentional sharing of clinic-based spiritual counseling. This spiritual intervention addressed the often-unspoken concerns of this population. Understanding spirituality, while managing the many facets of SCD, is vital for holistic health. Participants found themselves at critical junctures in their spiritual development -- seeking, exploring, even questioning -- how spirituality plays a role in their overall well-being. The project collected both qualitative and quantitative data through a chaplain interventionist. The chaplain met 1:1 with participants to share strategies for increasing everyday coping and self-efficacy. The participants found spiritual care to be necessary and helpful as they navigated their daily lives and sickle cell disease. The author came to realize to truly be effective, an in-depth longitudinal study is needed for true impact.
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