Aquinas Institute of Theology

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.

BEST PREACHING PRACTICES IN HOMILETIC PROGRAMS IN ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGATES IN THE UNITED STATES

Author
Stephen C Bosso
Abstract
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

Author
Michael Kueber
Abstract
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.

Preaching with the autism community

Author
Robert J Skinner
Abstract
The autism community in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis desires full inclusion in preaching and catechesis as both servants and consumers of the services available from the parishes within the diocese. Research on this thesis was conducted using qualitative analysis and a modified action research formula which allowed the researcher to canvas and assess both the autism community and the catechist-preachers involved in integrating the autism community more fully into the Body of Christ and the life of the Church. The autism community was surveyed with the community expressing both the need and the way forward to the fullest inclusion.

The Hidden Charism of the Order of Preachers An Initial Investigation into the Preaching of Dominican Nuns

Author
Megan E McElroy
Abstract
The nuns of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) participate in the preaching mission of the Order despite being cloistered and monastic. Using the anthropological and cultural methodology of ethnography, particularly participant observation, the researcher discovered how the nuns preach. Through interviews with the nuns of three monasteries and the laity who live near them, the author discovered that the nuns preach by their very existence, through their prayer, and in their liturgies. The physical presence of the monasteries also preaches that there are some women who, in consecrating their lives to the Lord, say that God is enough.

Silence in Support of Speaking How Reflective Practices Can Lead to Transformative Preaching

Author
Elizabeth B Frey
Abstract
Reflective practices grounded in silence are essential strategies for engaging difficult scripture texts. This thesis offers resources for preparation and ongoing formation in the preaching life. The author reviews the literature on difficult scripture texts and proposes interpretive methods for depth analysis. She explores how reflective practices support interpretation by bringing together theological reflection with the adult pedagogical theory known as Transformative Learning to focus on the preacher's frame of reference. She proposes a model of reflection in sermon preparation and investigates its effectiveness in a collaborative study. Finally, she offers four markers to assess reflective practices in preaching.

Preaching on controversial issues

Author
Alan J Momney
Abstract
The thesis of this paper is that preaching on controversial issues in Roman Catholic Sunday celebrations of the Eucharist is lacking, and can be assisted by insights from conflict management theory, and principles of coping with fear from the field of psychology. The thesis seeks to test out insights from these two fields with six preachers who were invited to preach at least one homily on a controversial issue. The result of the study revealed that the preachers were using the insights intuitively in an effective way, even though they were not able to recognize it in their own preaching.

The deacon preacher: bringing the four dimensions of formation to the pulpit

Author
Edward P Munz
Abstract
Diaconal formation often consists primarily of academic coursework that strengthens the intellectual dimension; however, the human, spiritual, and pastoral formation of candidates for ordination remains more understated. Qualitative research supports the fact that when the preacher is formed to understand the ministry of preaching as a gift from God that demands an investment of the whole person, the assembly is drawn into a deep relationship with the Risen Christ, which in turn fosters a desire for conversion of heart. Good and effective preaching is an invitation to dwell within the word, inviting a loving relationship with God and neighbor.

Back to the Future: How Guided Awareness of Past Preaching can Enhance the Future Ministryof Preaching

Author
Sharon M Schuhmann
Abstract
The thesis identified how Guided Awareness experiences of spiritual reflection on preached events would enhance preaching. Guided Awareness focused on the preachers' spiritual reflection of their preaching rather than critiques or assessments. The hypothesis of the project is that preachers can transform their preaching for the common good of the Church by engaging in spiritual reflection. Research explored the call for preaching reflection. Preachers attended an introductory presentation, completed presentation surveys, participated in Guided Awareness experiences on their preaching, and completed a post-experience survey. Qualitative research gave evidence that Guided Awareness experiences of preaching are spiritually transformative for preachers.
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