Catholic Theological Union

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.

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.

Improving Accompaniment Practices by Roman Catholic Chaplains for Native Americans in a Health Care Setting

Author
Kathleen M. Van Duser D.Min.
Abstract
The project seeks to improve accompaniment practices by chaplains in the health care setting for those ministering to Indigenous people. A brief history of Indigenous people in North America and seven major beliefs common to all North American Indigenous people are offered that are meaningful to chaplains. Interviews are provided with Indigenous people, medical personnel, and chaplains to learn how to improve the accompaniment of Indigenous people. Multicultural, cross-cultural, and intercultural relationships, as well as how to learn to cross over from one culture to another are discussed. Plural spiritualities are also addressed. Steps are provided to distribute this information to medical personnel and chaplains.

The Role of the Roman Catholic Catechists in Shaping Adolescents Equipped to Address De-Womanization in Igbo Culture of Nigeria

Author
VIRGINUS Onyekachi OSUAGWU D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores to what extent the effective training/formation in transformative catechesis for Roman Catholic catechists of South Eastern Nigeria can equip them to form male and female adolescents who can contribute to building respect and upholding the dignity of Igbo women. It is intended to be a contribution to the conversation about social justice in the Igbo Roman Catholic Church, with regard to respecting the dignity of every human being, especially women.
The author employs the praxis-theory-praxis approach of practical theology in situating what effective social justice training/formation of Igbo catechists could mean within their unique ecclesial, social and cultural contexts around the theme of discipleship. The author concludes that effective training/formation of Igbo catechists in transformative catechesis (discipleship, witnessing, social justice) is key to the transformation of Igbo adolescents, the Igbo Roman Catholic Church and ultimately, the Igbo culture.

Embodied Contemplative Practices Within a High School Religion Curriculm

Author
Diane Mercadante D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores whether affective, embodied contemplative practices enhance cognitive learning in a Catholic high school religion classroom and encourage behavioral changes in students’ lives. The researcher introduced embodied contemplative practices to high school seniors using the lens of Appreciative Inquiry and Osmer’s four questions for practical theological interpretation, then offering students an opportunity to find meaning in their experiences using the Killen and de Beer theological reflection method. This thesis-project enters into a conversation with student experience, Gen-Z culture, and the Christian theological tradition to name the importance of embodied connection, affirm the practice of embodied Christian theology, and address the desire and need for embodied contemplative practices.

Building Community for the Renewal of Mission in Chicago's Catholic Parishes: The Wisdom of the Black Catholic Experience for Renew My Church

Author
Matthew Sean O'Donnell D.Min.
Abstract
Renew My Church is described as an innovative pastoral initiative in the Archdiocese of Chicago that identifies the three guiding imperatives of making disciples, building communities, and inspiring witness as essential to the renewal of pastoral life and ministry in the Archdiocese. Every parish in the Archdiocese will participate in this initiative. This thesis-project will critically engage the imperative to build community by looking at St. Katharine Drexel parish in Chicago, Illinois. This thesis-project will demonstrate how learning from the Black Catholic experience of building, strengthening, and sustaining community can contribute a spirituality and theological foundation for Renew My Church that is rooted in a communal worldview.

THE EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGES OF SCHOOL PRINCIPALS: A STUDY OF CAPUCHIN FRIARS WORKING AS SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN ETHIOPIA.

Author
Worku Yohannes Gebre D.Min.
Abstract
Abstract
This thesis-project discovers educational leadership values, knowledge, and skills that can contribute to the increased effectiveness of Capuchin friar school principals at Capuchin Schools in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the study attempted to suggest some sound and effective methods of communicating those discovered values, knowledge, skills, and educational leadership training to Capuchin friar school principals. Though Capuchin friars school principals succeeded in some aspects of school administration, they faced several challenges due to lack of educational leadership knowledge. Therefore, in the global culture where values, knowledge, and skills are rapidly changing it’s important for friars to attain an in-depth educational leadership knowledge. Additionally, they should understand education from Christian and human values perspectives within Ethiopian context.

The Role of Storytelling as a Pathway to Healing in Retreat Settings for High School Youth

Author
Julie Michelle Welborn D.Min.
Abstract
The topic of this thesis-project is the role of storytelling as a pathway to healing in retreat settings for high school youth. The thesis to be tested suggests that when personal narratives are coupled with biblical narratives, that a new and healthier narrative can emerge; and, especially to examine more clearly any inherent dangers in storytelling; and to explore what appropriate follow-up needs to be designed in the aftermath of such storytelling. This thesis-project takes in depth look at the role of story, Scripture, and the experiences of storytelling from adults who have facilitated retreats, along with adults who have participated on retreats while in high school.

Andragogy and the Most Effective Means of Forming Permanent Deacons in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the Twenty-First Century in the United States

Author
Victor E Puscas Jr. M.A.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores the most effective means of forming men for the permanent diaconate in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States for the twenty-first century. It specifically addresses adult learning paradigms known as “andragogy” as opposed to the more familiar pediatric learning paradigms known as “pedagogy.” The principles of andragogy are then applied to permanent diaconate formation models in an effort to develop the most effective means. Factored in to the development of these means are the qualitative and quantitative data collected from deacons around the country and in particular, the deacons and their wives from the Diocese of Joliet (Illinois).
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