Catholic Church

Ecumenical formation in denominational theological seminaries

Author
Mitzi J Budde
Abstract
Ecumenical formation in denominational theological seminaries is an ethnographic study of four denominational seminaries (the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Roman Catholic Church). The author describes the current American context for ecumenism and identifies and compares the four schools' approaches to ecumenical education and formation. The effect of ecumenical dialogues and full communion agreements on theological education is analyzed. The thesis describes how an intentional and transformative ecumenical component might be incorporated into theological education in the denominational seminary context for the preparation of ecumenically literate ordained and lay ministers.

Order of Christian funerals: process of remembering and hoping

Author
Margaret J Smith
Abstract
This thesis examines the relationship between the process of grieving and the Roman Catholic funeral rituals with which a Christian's death is marked and celebrated. The thesis draws on the conviction that remembering will play a significant part in the grief process and will make it possible to hope. If such is the case, then our funeral rituals must provide environments of care in which remembering within the context of the Christian story might take place. The conclusion reached is that an imaginative use of the Order of Christian Funerals does indeed offer scope for remembering. The study was undertaken within the Australian context and drew on responses to a questionnaire designed to assess use of the Order in the Australian church.

The emergence of a new Christian community of faith

Author
Philip A Mahalic
Abstract
Subtitle: How to start a new Roman Catholic parish with nothing more than a collection basket and a "field bingo" kit. Project director: Ed Towne. The content and scope of this paper introduces "key" elements within the populace of a particular community which aid in the formation of a new and emerging Christian community of faith, the founding of a new Roman Catholic parish. The method of identifying these elements is through a study of the populace with emphasis upon their spirituality, theological concepts and commitment. An analysis of growth in this case study includes the number of families, programs offered with the new community and financial progress.

A program for ministry to alienated Roman Catholics in the United States

Author
Edward J Kordas
Abstract
Alienation, defined as a crisis in symbolization, is the result of having been taught a religious language lacking the sophistication to define oneself as a Roman Catholic Christian in an increasingly complex and pluralistic society. Through a program based upon the gestalt cycle of experience and conducted in a university context, alienated Catholics were encouraged to redefine their religious symbols. Among the primary findings of this study is the conviction that all alienation is fundamentally self-alienation; that religion is inevitably ambivalent; and that religious alienation manifests as sin, as a development crisis, or as systematically generated hopelessness.

Liberation of the self-mission of the church

Author
Dean P Mattson
Abstract
The project asserts that humankind is created for a loving relationship with God. The mission of the Catholic Church is to promote humanization, i.e. to promote the development of humankind's innate potential for loving relationships. The Church could be much more effective. Object relations theory concepts of true versus false self can help to evaluate the effectiveness of Church ministry. The true self seeks loving relationships; the false self avoids them out of fear. Church teachings and discipline often promotes the false self. To promote the true self, and humanization, the Church needs to promote greater personalism, autonomy, and creativity.

Sponsor recruitment and formation in the RCIA process at St Paul's Catholic Church

Author
Sandra A Chakeres
Abstract
This project studies the role of the sponsor in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process at St Paul's Catholic Church in Englewood, Ohio. The project focuses on three tasks: 1) defining the role of RCIA sponsorship for St Paul's Parish; 2) designing and implementing a method of RCIA sponsor recruitment for the parish; and 3) designing and implementing an RCIA sponsor training program for St Paul's. The document outlines the process involved in completing these three tasks, suggests a theological basis for sponsorship, and presents one model for recruiting and training RCIA sponsors. The project finds positive results when St Paul parishioners are recruited and trained for the ministry of RCIA sponsorship according to the model.

Parish leadership in transition: exploring models of partnership, inclusivity and collaboration

Author
Edith C Prendergast
Abstract
The writer proposes that more inclusive, effective parish leadership models can be developed by re-imagining the parish through the lens of a Celtic and feminist world view, and by reinterpreting Spirit and Power from a feminist perspective. The project explored this thesis by initiating a congregational study focusing on one parish. The research included observations, on-site visits and interviews. A literature review on Celtic spirituality, feminist theology and organizational leadership was completed. Integrative analysis was done and foundational values and components for future leadership models were proposed. Transformational leadership, spiritual renewal, and communication of vision are essential to success in implementing new models of parish leadership. A congregational study was initiated, focusing on one parish as a revealing text. The research included on-site visits and interviews. The wisdom gleaned from the congregational study was then women with a review of literature on Celtic spirituality, feminist theology and organizational leadership. An integrative analysis of the combined research was done; foundational values and components for future leadership models were proposed. The research surfaced many important findings and conclusions. Among these are: 1) they key to leadership is relationship and not skill development, structure or power; 2) in opposition to dualistic, hierarchical world-views, feminist theology and Celtic spirituality stress interconnectedness and inclusivity which are fundamental to the development of future leadership models; 3) both hierarchical and charismatic elements of the Catholic Church must be honored and balanced; 4) intentional processes are needed to enable the transition from hierarchical models of leadership to more inclusive ones, especially processes for and integrating feminist and Celtic values and; 5) the church needs to give priority to including the wealthy, poor, old and young, as well as persons of many cultures and both genders, in the community's circles of relationship and involvement. The study concludes that several steps and strategies are essential to successfully implementing new models and paradigms of leadership. In particular, transformational leadership, spiritual renewal, and processes to communicate the vision across parishes, deaneries and Archdiocesan entities, are essential for gaining commitment from the faith.

Preaching for suicide awareness: a pedagogical experiment in teaching preachers to engage the topic of suicide from the pulpit

Author
Heidi C Johnson
Abstract
The researcher's work on suicide arose from a concern to take seriously the strength and effective nature of the Sunday homily in light of the growing crisis of the suicide epidemic. The thesis is that the sermon is the appropriate place to address the topic of suicide and an avenue suited for addressing suicide is in a homiletics course. The researcher demonstrated how lectures on suicide awareness and prevention in a homiletics course can be an effective method of preparing young preachers for the preaching ministry. The results were positive in creating confident preachers to preach taboo subjects such as suicide.
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