Aquinas Institute of Theology

Preaching Beyond the Hedges: A Psycho-Social and Spiritual Exegesis of University Students as a Resource for the Campus Preacher

Author
RAYMOND C COOK D.Min.
Abstract
Community exegesis is gaining interest among preachers as a means to communicate the Word of God to a particular group, time, and location. The work of Lenora Tubbs Tisdale and her study of communal exegesis marks a significant influence on this interest. The Second Vatican Council also calls upon the preacher to utilize language to tailor the Word of God for the listener. Relying on the study of social location and combining that effort with psychological, social, and spiritual disciplines, preachers engage concepts that aid in the exegesis of today’s university students. This study demonstrates that exegeting the Scriptures and the community is beneficial to the psycho-spiritual cognitive development of students.
This thesis examines disciplines that equip preachers to exegete the university student community, thereby contributing to a better preaching event. To that end, the first chapter describes the importance of studying the historical and observable social location in which the students are living. The second chapter treats psychological stage development and current struggles that today’s undergraduates are experiencing. The third chapter considers two specific research methods and ways that preachers might implement them. These research methods uncover the language of university students, as reflected in conversations with focus groups. The fourth chapter examines the fruits of Emmaus Walks that lead towards Paschal Preaching, and the witness that university students give when preaching moves into action. The preacher also calls to mind the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a preaching event. The conclusion highlights the benefits of this thesis as an exegetical resource, suggesting that preachers can preach more effectively to students on their campuses by gaining knowledge of the social location, updating their understanding of proposed theories of psychological stage development, using a variety of research methods, and intentionally journeying with the students.

Language for Effective Preaching: Practical Guide for Fidei Donum Priests in the Belleville Diocese

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri.

Culture is an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents, others, and the society about what it means to be a human being. As a child grows in the society, the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. A child learns these assumptions from parents and caregivers. There are other cultural expressions including table manners and the distribution of chores. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
Language as an essential part of preaching is the subject of this thesis. The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective Preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When Priests use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst. And that is why concrete imageries are the best tools for preaching.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, Fidei Donum Priests must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language, including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them.

From Reading To Preaching: Training First-Generation Korean-American Catholic Lay Ministers as Preachers through Online Sessions

Author
DONG UK KANG M.Div.
Abstract
The Catholic Church had a conflicting stance towards lay preaching in the past. However, lay preaching is feasible nowadays outside of Mass since the Code of Canon Law does not prevent the laity from preaching, and the Baptismal grace leads all the baptized to witness their faith. However, the laypeople still hesitated to practice the ministry. The researcher wondered if the lack of preaching education caused hesitation and decided to train laypeople to be preachers.
Six lay ministers and a layperson from a Korean Catholic church in Boston participated in the six-week online sessions. The researcher made fifteen instructional videos on focus and function statements and delivery of the sermons. Watching them, each participant submitted two drafts of their sermons and two preaching videos, and had two or three individual review sessions with the researcher, depending on his/her needs. The researcher measured each participant’s progress using the grading table of St. Meinrad seminary. The changes between the two grades from the first and the second preachings showed that the participants improved their preaching skills over the course of the training. The researcher found that preaching ministry was a teachable subject for the laity through online training.
To triangulate and assess the research outcome both qualitatively and quantitatively, the researcher also provided each participant with pre-training and post-training Likert-scale questionnaires and interviewed each participate using Watson’s five categories. In general, the participants appreciated the direction, convenience, and productiveness of the online teaching program. However, some participants pointed out cultural factors that would make the Korean and Korean-American congregation feel uncomfortable with the ministry. The researcher learned that he needs to study further and to strategize carefully in order to ease the cultural barrier when training future participants.

FORMING GOOD PREACHERS: THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATING LEADING ELEMENTS OF THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PRIESTLY FORMATION FOR GOOD PREACHING

Author
Gregg Michael Caggianelli D.Min.
Abstract
Can the integration of leading elements in the four dimensions of priestly formation contribute to the formation of good preachers? Building on the premise that a good preacher is one who is not only competent in the skills needed for good preaching, but is also a person who authentically lives in a way that gives witness to the Gospel preached, the author searches for how these preachers can be formed for our age.

Chapter One explores the intrinsic connection between God’s Word and God’s deeds as the pattern for authentic preaching. The investigation asks whether good seminary formation contributes to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Two highlights the vision of St. Dominic and introduces the idea of the preacher’s formation using the work of Humbert of Romans. Noting similar patterns in St. Charles Borromeo and St. Vincent de Paul, this chapter leads into the reforms called for from Vatican II until the present. The Church’s formation documents become the foundation for generating an extensive list of specific formation elements identified for development in a candidate during seminary formation.

Chapter Three builds various assessments tools used in the pastoral appropriation, seeking to identify and highlight important formation elements from the four dimensions of priestly formation that contribute to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Four extensively explores the qualitative and quantitative results, highlighting the significant correlation between the integration of leading elements of priestly formation and improved preaching quality.

Chapter Five suggests five ways for sharing this project’s findings, hoping that this thesis will allow seminary formators to accompany developing preachers in their understanding of how personal reflection across all four dimensions of their seminary formation contributes to their development as preachers able to not only preach well but live as witnesses to the Gospel.

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, C.M., B.D., M.P.S., D.Min. Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri, 2020.

Culture as an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents and the society about what it means to be a human being. These include the totality of the norms, ways of acting, and understanding that people learn from cradle which helps them know how to fit into the world. As a child grows in the society the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, as their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When preachers use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, preachers must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them. Their choice of words, especially with imageries and metaphors, shows appropriate concern for the effective proclamation of the gospel.

Sensitizing the Preacher for a Multi-Religious Context in the Diocese of Palayamkottai in India

Author
Anto Peterraj D.Min.
Abstract
The multi-religious context in which India preaching has to adorn herself with the garb of sensitivity is the backdrop of this thesis. Against this backdrop the author proposes that a preacher can be trained to appeal to the cognitive, emotive, spiritual, and psychological aspects of the listeners for a transformed life interpreting Christian Scripture and Tradition in the multi-religious pastoral context of India in general and of the Diocese of Palayamkottai in particular. The thesis is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One, after spelling out the background, the need, the process, and the scope of the study, sets the context of the Diocese of Palayamkottai with a special reference to religious pluralism in India in general and in Palayamkottai in particular.

In Chapter Two, after briefly analyzing the homiletical understanding before Pope Francis in the light of General Introduction of the Roman Missal and Verbum Domini, we meet the two dialogue partners of our study from the viewpoint of effective proclamation of the Gospel and embracing different traditions with respect, viz., Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, and Bede Griffiths’ Sannyasa.

Chapter Three divides into three sections: In section one, the challenges that a preacher, a preaching, and a listener face in a multi-religious context are presented; section two proposes models (participatory, narrative sermon reflected in the life of the preacher) for a better preaching in multi-religious background, while section three will try to resolve the challenges in the light of the proposed model.

In Chapter Four a sampling study is done by picking up seven preachers.

Chapter Five is a practical guide that will serve as a manual for a preacher offering different models of preaching.

The Voice of the Bridegroom: Preaching as an Expression of Spousal Love

Author
Benjamin Adam Roberts D.Min.
Abstract
The intention of this project is twofold. The first intention is the creation of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. The second intention is to offer the nuptial hermeneutic to a group of priests in their second five years of ministry and evaluate it as a source of renewal.

Chapter 1 explores the spousal relationship between husband and wife. Rooted in the nuptial vision of Pope St. John Paul II, it explores anthropology, asymmetrical reciprocity, marital love, the conjugal bond and good of the spouses, fruitfulness and responsible parenthood, and marital spirituality.

Chapter 2 examines the spousal relationship between the priest and the Church. It provides an overview of the ministerial priesthood, a brief biblical examination of Jesus as Bridegroom, the relationship between the royal and ministerial participations in the priesthood of Christ, charity, the sacramental character and bond, fruitfulness, and spirituality.

Chapter 3 proposes preaching as an expression of spousal love. It examines nuptiality as a theological category and presents the seven characteristics of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. These characteristics are utilized to explore the assembly, preacher, homily, and homiletical method. The chapter concludes with a strategy for preaching using the nuptial hermeneutic.

Chapter 4 documents the development of the pastoral appropriation for this project. The method of presentation, a podcast series with fourteen episodes, is different from the original one-and-one-half-day workshop project design. This chapter recounts the reasons for modification, reviews the podcast format and presentation design, and offers a preliminary evaluation of this format.

Chapter 5 details results from the project. It describes the participants, presents data collection points, and offers a summary of the results of the pastoral appropriation. Along with some observations, recommendations, and possible areas of future study, this chapter concludes with a positive judgment of the nuptial hermeneutic as a source of renewal.

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.
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