Certificate in Pastoral Ministry for northern dioceses

By Veronica Murphy

A new Certificate in Pastoral Ministry will be made available from January 2018 to dioceses in the north of England and elsewhere. The Certificate is being offered by Loyola University, Chicago and has the support of local dioceses. It will provide the foundation for our own Archdiocesan Diploma in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership.
The customised certificate will consist of ten six-week modules delivered in an online format allowing participants the freedom and flexibility of study in their own home.
Integral to the course will be three days for participants to meet face to face, facilitated by Sister Catherine Darby SND and Veronica Murphy who are the course's UK coordinators. They will gather students together for prayer, reflection and creative engagement with the overall themes. Participants will need to be serious about their own faith development, willing to serve in the local Church and have competent computer skills.
It is a non-degree, non-credit programme offered over two years, equipping teachers, deacons, catechists, and lay leaders with up-to-date knowledge, skills, and education for contemporary pastoral ministry. Those who successfully complete the entire ten module series will receive a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University, Chicago. Participants from Liverpool will then be able to extend their study for a further year to qualify for the Archdiocesan Diploma.
The course will model adult learning and shared Christian praxis and will be rooted in theological texts and the lived experience of participants. Each module will require approximately 20 hours for online engagement, reading and reflection. The modules offered will be:
What is Pastoral Ministry? Students will explore what being called to pastoral ministry in the Church means today.
God who reveals: looking at the Old Testament  Students will be introduced to the whole range of Old Testament texts revealing a God who Loves God's People.
Christ and his disciples: looking at the New Testament Students will explore the New Testament texts with particular attention to the ministry of Jesus and of his followers.
Missionary disciples: The story of the Church in Britain Students will explore the historical background to the current situation of the Christian churches in Britain.
Vision of the Church: Vatican II This course covers the story and promise of the Council, including a study of selected texts, discussions over its interpretation and implementation, and a dynamic view of its ongoing relevance for the Church's self-identity.

Holiness and Wholeness: how we grow as people of faith Students will explore human, spiritual and psychological development and the unique call each person receives to be fully human and alive.
Building a fairer world: Catholic social thought and practice Students will become familiar with the development of Catholic Social Teaching in relation to particular contemporary global and local issues. Particular attention will be given to history, texts, methodology and significant figures.
Building Parish Communities Parishes are where many Catholics experience their faith in community. Contemporary and emerging models for building parish communities will be explored in detail. Students will also learn about best practices for healthy parishes and effective collaboration and team work.
Making connections: Catechesis as sharing faith today This course will deepen students' understanding of catechesis and its importance for the life and mission of the Church, particularly the priority of adult formation. It will explore 'critical conversation' as an essential process for growth and development, and the relationship between evangelisation, catechesis and religious education.
Serving and leading: skills and strategies for ministry Students will explore the skills and strategies of effective pastoral ministry.
Information sessions: Wednesday 4 October at LACE, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA – 7pm arrival recommended for 7.30–9pm session – or Tuesday 10 October at Salford Cathedral, 250 Chapel Street, Salford M3 5LL – 7pm arrival recommended for 7.30–9pm session. Light refreshments available on arrival.

For further details, email Pastoral Formation: formation@rcaol.co.uk or Sister Catherine Darby: Catherine.m.darby@gmail.com or Veronica Murphy: v.murphy@rcaol.co.uk.