Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry Degree
The MA in Diaconal Ministry is designed for men in formation for the Permanent Diaconate to study the basic elements of the Catholic tradition as well as pastoral ministry specific to diaconal ministry. The primary aim of the program is to foster a personal integration of faith that supports a solid theological foundation in the Roman Catholic tradition for those who will serve in diaconal ministry.
Every course in the MA in Diaconal Ministry is part of the core program for formation as outlined by the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (2005). Students are provided the opportunity to study theology and pastoral ministry within the depth and breadth of the faith tradition. Each course is in one of the following areas: Biblical, Historical, Liturgical/Sacramental, Systematic or Pastoral.
Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology names five Institutional Convictions that characterize all those who complete a degree from the seminary. These five are Christian Discipleship, Formation, Theological Thinking, Communication and Collaboration.
Christian Discipleship: to assist a man in his transformation of becoming a living icon of Jesus the Servant; the one who came to serve and not be served. (National Directory, page 65)
- Exhibits an understanding of the Church in its mission, manifested in an appreciation for the Word of God, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church
- Exhibits an understanding of the Christian worldview in a variety of contexts, especially in a secular work situation
- Demonstrates intellectual growth and development resulting from the study of various theological disciplines
- Values the ethical and moral principles of the Christian life
- Lives out an evangelizing spirit in the marketplace, his neighborhood, and in his family
- Embraces a lifestyle imitating the self-sacrificial love of Jesus, allowing him to be the icon of Christ the servant
Formation: strives to develop the whole person so that the four dimensions of formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) become so interrelated that they achieve an integral integration of their objectives in the life of each participant (National Directory, page 51)
- Develops a disposition and skills for intellectual and pastoral application
- Values, integrates, and uses assessment feedback from faculty, spiritual directors, mentors, field education supervisors, other formators, and peers
- Engages in self-assessment based on criteria for academic growth
- Demonstrates an ability to live a life of prayer centered in Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the liturgical cycles
- Demonstrates an ability to live a life in communion with one’s bishop and the local community of priests, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers
- Adheres to professional and ethical norms of conduct for ministry
- Nurtures an attitude of on-going formation for life-long growth in the praxis of ministry
Theological Thinking: assists a man in putting on the mind of Christ and to relate his individual experiences into the broader aspects of the church’s thinking and life (National Directory, page 87)
- Demonstrates a knowledge of the biblical, historical, systematic, liturgical/sacramental and pastoral theologies of the Church
- Engages in critical thinking which includes:
- Engagement in theological research
- Employment of a variety of theological methodologies
- Analysis of a variety of theological texts and traditions
- Synthesis of insights from a variety of theological disciplines in light of pastoral situations
- Evaluation of theological texts
- Seeks out opportunities for life-long theological reflection to assist him in his ministries in a complex world
Communication: develop a prophetic voice for the needs of others and to proclaim God’s Word in this contemporary World (National Directory, page 52)
- Demonstrates an ability to read critically
- Demonstrates an ability to speak clearly and meaningfully
- Articulates an accurate understanding of the biblical, historical, systematic, liturgical/sacramental and pastoral theologies of the Church
- Demonstrates an ability to write with clarity and insight and adheres to standards of academic integrity
- Effectively delivers homilies and reflections, assisting others to embrace the word of God in their lives
- Demonstrates competency in communications skills enabling him to work effectively in group settings
- Effectively uses different cultural communication patterns
- Employs good verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and acts as an empathetic and active listener
Collaboration: to become a bridge and not an obstacle with and for others. To facilitate encounter and dialogue (National Directory, page 53)
- appropriately values diverse ecclesiologies, theological positions, cultures and global perspectives and responds with prudence to erroneous positions
- works well with others in class projects and discussions
- animates others to live out their baptismal calling to promote and assist in the apostolic activities of the laity
The MA in Diaconal Ministry assists a man in putting on the mind of Christ and relating his individual experiences into the broader aspects of the church’s thinking and life, especially through the biblical, historical, systematic, liturgical/sacramental and pastoral theologies of the church.
The MA in Diaconal Ministry helps the student develop skills to become a bridge to the church’s mission rather than an obstacle to it. Through various classes and field education placements, students develop an understanding of the broader social context in which diaconal ministry is performed.
Moreover, students seek out opportunities for life-long theological reflection to assist them in a variety of ministries in a complex world.
The MA in Diaconal Ministry strives to develop the whole person so that each dimension of formation outlined by the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States become so interrelated that they achieve the integration of their objectives in the lives of each person.
Prerequisites for Admission to the Program
Admission to the MA in Diaconal Ministry program requires acceptance into the diocesan formation program for the Permanent Diaconate. In addition, admission to the MA in Diaconal Ministry program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The applicant must request that an official transcript of credit earned at ALL colleges and graduates schools previously attended be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office of the Seminary.
Total credits for this degree program: 44
Students must maintain a 3.0 (B) Average throughout the program.
Introduction to Scripture (2 cr)
Old Testament (3 cr)
New Testament (3 cr)
History: Church History (2 cr)
God: One & Three (2 cr)
Christology (2 cr)
Christian Anthropology (2 cr)
Ecclesiology (2 cr)
Moral Theology (3 cr)
Introduction to Liturgical/Sacramental Theology (2 cr)
Sacraments of Initiation (2 cr)
Liturgical Practicum (3 cr)
Canon Law (3 cr)
Homiletics (2 cr)
Pastoral Counseling (3 cr)
Evangelization & Catechesis (2 cr)
Pastoral Administration (2 cr)
Field Education: Field Education Placements (4 cr)
Portfolio Assessment and Integration
Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry degree program beginning in Fall 2021 maintain an electronic academic portfolio for the duration of their studies. The portfolio includes artifacts and theological reflections from various courses and formation activities as well as the capstone symposium. Specifically, the student selects several targeted e-portfolio artifacts along with theological reflections from various years of their program. The capstone symposium is expected to include evidence of the student’s growth in Christian discipleship and formation as well as theological integration due to their involvement in the formation program.
Capstone Project: The students prepare and present a capstone project which integrates the theological areas of the degree
For further information, contact the Director of the Office of Diaconate Formation, 440-943-7652.