Beyond the preaching task: a vocational retreat with Humbert of Romans
Patricia A Hale
Chapter one presents the opportunity for this thesis project. It develops an argument for the need for greater theological reflection on the vocation of preaching for modern preachers. It does so by outlining current challenges in homiletical education and ecclesial calls for greater vocational formation for preachers. It suggests that the writings of Humbert of Romans, in his work The Treatise on Preaching, can help modern preachers gain deeper vocational awareness. Chapter two introduces the general cultural context of the thirteenth century. It discusses the emergence of the two great mendicant orders the Dominicans and the Franciscans. It sets into context the life and ministry of Humbert of Romans, the fifth Master General of the Dominican Order and offers a theological analysis of Section One of The Treatise on Preaching. Chapter three introduces a 'dialogue partner' to set alongside the Humbert material. The goal of the dialogue partner was to appropriately apply the material in a practical and contemporary setting. The chapter does this by way of curriculum development and pastoral practice. Theories of adult learning are explored and a retreat curriculum is developed that enables the Humbert material to be considered by preachers in a spiritual and educational setting.Chapter four explains a methodology for determining the effectiveness of the retreat for vocational awareness and examines the feedback from participants. Feedback included written questionnaires, video assessment and field observation. This feedback is used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the retreat in achieving the goals and outcomes outlined in chapter three. Chapter five offers a review of the entirety of the project based on Scripture verses about preaching which framed the content of each chapter. It reviews insights learned from the project as well as opportunities for future vocational reflection and learning.
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