The Center plans to hold our first set of programs in the summer of 2023. The four presented below were created with the express intent meeting the needs that were presented most often throughout our survey research. All our offerings are intended to help ministers, theologians and concerned Catholics serve the unique needs of their communities. As such, these are continuing education offerings that help perfect an individual's existing skills. For traditional graduate offerings please see the Aquinas home page. Registration will be made available in early 2023, in the meantime please feel free to fill out the information on the "Contact Us" page.
Sex, Sexuality and Gender: A Theological Approach
This series examines how the Catholic theological tradition can engage our modern understanding of sex, sexuality, and gender. In this, the course will look at what the Catholic perspective is on these topics, how these beliefs are formed, and what that means for a modern believer. Particular attention will be paid to issues traditionally understood as “sexual morality,” LGBTQ+ issues and gender disparity. Additionally, practical suggestions for navigating these topics will be discussed with a particular emphasis on how to understand and approach the Catholic position in today’s shifting world.
- Attendees should leave with a basic understanding of how, through the use of philosophy and theology, the Catholic Church comes to the conclusions that it does regarding sexual issues.
- Be equipped with the skills to present these tenants to various demographics.
- Be able to empathetically and pastorally enter into dialogue with those who have been “othered” because of sexuality or gender identity.
- Have a better understanding of how to create more gender representation in the Catholic world.
Communicating the Gospel
Here we will examine the interpersonal dimension of evangelization by addressing communication styles, strategies for community building and general help in reaching a targeted audience. Using the person-focused, incarnational, approach towards ministry, this program will look at the various challenges ministers face when trying to engage their communities with the gospel message. Given the current social marketplace, social media and digital evangelization will be discussed as well as guidance on how to navigate difficult conversations to different demographics.
- Equip ministers with skills to engage differing populations with pastoral sensitivity.
- Provide effective frameworks for creating and sustaining a vibrant social media presence.
- Keep an awareness of current events as they relate to the life of faith.
- Assess pastoral strategy as it relates to the modern world.
Ministry and Mental Health
Considering the ever-changing demands placed upon ministerial professionals these sessions will attempt to offer solutions for dealing with issues such as: burnout, work-life balance, and professional boundaries in religious settings. Additionally, we will address what it means to have an empowering spirituality that invigorates and animates a well working ministry. The goal here is to promote human flourishing at every level of pastoral life, and will be informed on best practices coming from theology, spirituality, and psychology alike.
- Equip attendees to address topics such as "failure" and change in an ecclesial setting.
- Have the opportunity to form a prayer practice which sustains and enlivens their ministerial goals.
- Become familiar with self-care practices that would benefit a ministerial professional.
- Skills for building a community of support will be established throughout this time.
Reaching the "Nones"
This is an attempt to address and remedy the challenge of young people's disinterest and distaste of organized religion/Catholicism. Here we will look at the phenomenon of disinterested youth and what is cited as their reasons for their disaffiliation. Beyond that, we will see what wisdom our tradition has to offer younger generations and how this can be conveyed in a caring and nonconfrontational fashion. We will address how to integrate young people into Catholic settings so that their voices are heard and how to address shifting trends related to various age groups. Likewise, this course will offer strategies for how to discuss religious matters with those who may be apathetic towards the topic and how to meaningfully enter into dialogue.
- Attendees receive the skills to effectively discuss matters of faith with people of all ages.
- This workshop will examine how to navigate intergenerational relationships and how that gives life to a religious community.
- Form ideas for new programming which can be used to attract various age groups.
- Gain confidence to invite and include people of all ages in ecclesial life.