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

Heidi C Johnson
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.


Stephen C Bosso
The Second Vatican Council emphasized preaching in the Roman Catholic tradition as a liturgical act. As this emphasis on preaching has become increasingly more important, reflected by post-conciliar documents and statements by the popes following the council, the question remains: has the seminary curriculum changed with this emphasis to ensure that the clergy are properly trained for preaching. This research project reviews the literature of evaluation of preaching over the last three decades along with the changes in requirements for homiletics in the five editions of the Program of Priestly Formation. The author developed a research tool using Appreciative Inquiry and interviewed homiletics professors at six Roman Catholic theologates in the United States to aggregate the "best preaching practices" in these homiletics programs. The aggregated results demonstrate that in fact improvements have been made in the preaching programs. Hopefully, the aggregate of b est practices in homiletics programs of Roman Catholic theologates interviewed will encourage all Roman Catholic seminaries to work continuously to improve their homiletics programs for better preaching from the pulpits of their alumni for the people of God.

Cross-cultural Preaching and Catechesis: Passing on the Faith to the Next Generation

Michael Kueber
The United States Catholic Church has experienced remarkable growth since the 1960s because of new immigrants. This thesis project focuses on one immigrant group and their children: U.S. Catholic Hispanics. It attempts to respond to the challenge of these Hispanic parents attempting to hand on the Catholic faith to their children. It makes the unexpected claim that preaching is essential part of helping these parents address this difficulty.
Chapter 1 describes the demography of the U.S. Catholic Church in 2018. The influx of Hispanic immigrants is set in the context of a larger influx of immigrants, such as Asians, Africans, and Pacific Islanders. After considering this broad context, this thesis focuses on Hispanic Catholics and the religious education level of their parents and children. The problem is that Hispanic parents are not transmitting the Catholic faith to their confirmation teenage children. That is one reason among others why their teenagers and young adults disengage from the Catholic Church. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate through catechetical preaching that Hispanic parents can learn skills to transmit the Catholic faith successfully to their confirmation teenage children.
Chapter 2 provides the necessary background for the thesis project's intervention: Hispanic Catechesis in the U.S. in 2018. Before arriving at this goal, however, it is necessary to examine the Catholic Church's understanding of catechesis and interculturalism. Effective catechesis will involve not only appropriate pedagogies but also a cultural analysis of the society in which catechists teach.
Chapter 3 starts with the history of the Catholic homily from Vatican II until the papacy of Pope Francis. Next, the chapter introduces catechesis and discusses whether the Sunday homily should be catechetical in nature. These two themes then lead to the culmination of the project: cross-cultural catechetical preaching to Hispanic parents in 2018. The principal investigator will attempt to paint a portrait of this complex reality.
Chapter 4 describes the intervention. The principal investigator developed a thirteen-week course for Hispanic parents and their confirmation children. He employed the tool of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) at the beginning of the course and interviewed all parents and their children both before and after the course. He also took field notes during the course to note observations of growth both in parents and in their children. He then analyzes the qualitative research for the thesis project: the initial two sessions of AI, initial interviews, and final interviews.
Chapter 5 presents the final product created from the thesis project's research data. The product is a syllabus for a thirteen-week course for Hispanic parents and confirmation teenagers during which the religious education instructor preaches catechetically to Hispanic parents and their confirmation age children.
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