The MPS (forerunner of the current MPTh) was one of the first graduate programs on the St. Ambrose campus, established in 1987 in response to a perceived need for lay leaders in the church who could bring a strong background in theology and pastoral skills.
The program was never large and several times was in danger of closing. In 2002, the department reworked the program in order to strengthen the theological component consistent with the movement of the United States Catholic Bishops. That revision of the program to offer more background in Scripture, Doctrine, and Moral theology put the department in a perfect position.
Discussions began with the Davenport Diocese about offering the degree program to a new group of candidates–and to their spouses who were qualified and interested–for the Permanent Diaconate starting in the Fall of 2009. That cohort will complete their preparation and their coursework this Spring.
In the meantime, a new group of 15 candidates has begun their discernment process for the deaconate. Those candidates who elect to continue with the program and any of their wives who are interested will begin coursework for the MPTh in the Fall of 2013. Students who are not part of the Deacon program may also join the cohort.
Classes meet one weekend a month from August through May. Each weekend includes 12 (60 minute) contact hours that are filled with lecture, small and large group discussions. Students come to the sessions having read the assigned material and complete written assignments between weekends or after the class meetings are concluded.
The degree requires 37 semester credits including Scripture, Systematic Theology (doctrine), Moral Theology, Liturgical and Spiritual Theology, and pastoral applications. Students completing the program present an Integration paper that draws on material from coursework in several fields and speaks to its relevance for their lives and ministry.
Are you—or someone you know—interested in the program? Contact program director Corine Winter.