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Pastoral Theology 5574B

JANUARY 15-16; MARCH 12-13, 2010
St. Peter's Seminary

Instructor: Joanne Chafe, BA (Ed), BA, MTS, MA Ed.D
613-241-9461, ext. 109     E-mail: 


The course explores the theory and practice of catechetics. Emphasis is placed on developing skills for: facilitating faith development across the life span, designing program models to meet the need for a variety of pastoral contexts, and developing catechetical approaches for parish and diocesan settings. (module format; antirequisite: the former Pastoral Theology 466B)


This course will assist participants to grow in the following knowledge, skills and attitudes:

1. To understand the nature of catechesis within the Church’s mission of evangelization.
2. To know the norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis.
3. To recognize the elements of good pedagogy of faith, in the spirit of divine pedagogy.
4. To understand the principles of adaptation in catechetical ministry in keeping with age; special situations, mentalities, and environments; in the socio-religious context; and in the socio-cultural context.
5. To be familiar with the guidelines for the organization of, and resources for, catechetical ministry in the particular churches.

1. To be able to identify the various stages of evangelization in the community, and choose appropriate means to accompany faith development appropriate to their needs.
2. To demonstrate the capacity to apply the Church’s norms and criteria for proclaiming the Gospel message in catechesis.
3. To be able to choose appropriate elements of methodology, in keeping with the spirit of divine pedagogy, and suitable for children, youth and adults.
4. To analyze diverse circumstances and be able to adapt the principles of catechetical theory to meet the needs arising from this diversity.
5. To demonstrate the capacity to apply the Church’s guidelines for organizing and providing resources for catechetical activity in the particular church.

1. To appreciate the importance of knowing the context in order to facilitate the preaching of the Gospel in the contemporary world.
2. To show sensitivity to the “soil “and needs of different stages of evangelization in the community.
3. To realize the importance of honoring the Church’s norms and criteria for preaching the Gospel; good process; and faithfully adapting catechetical principles based on special circumstances.
4. To respect the various roles and responsibilities in catechetical ministry, and the importance of facilitative structures.


Course Assignment 80%

Choose an area or question in catechesis which is of particular interest to you. Confirm your topic in consultation with the professor.

Develop a project paper in which you:

a) describe the parameters of your area or question; definitions, concerns, and its’ significance for the Church;
b) provide a synthesis of the orientations or theory which would ground good catechetical practice in this area;
c) develop a model or process for catechetical activity in the area based on a and b.

Assignment due date: March 26, 2010.

Course participation 20%


Required reading and resources

General Directory for Catechesis, Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican, 1997

Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community, International Council for Catechesis, Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican, 1990

Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory, Hay Resources Direct, Version 3.1


Following an introduction to catechesis and the documents which ground its orientations, the course is organized according to the five central themes which the Catholic tradition, as seen in the General Directory for Catechesis, holds as an organizing framework for understanding and accompanying faith development. The concluding activity, and course project, focus on integration, and implications for catechetical ministry in the particular context of the participant.

The course explores the theory and practice of catechetics. Emphasis is placed on developing skills for facilitating faith development across the life span, designing program models to meet the need for a variety of pastoral contexts, and developing catechetical approaches for parish and diocesan settings.

Course Outline

Introduction to Catechetics
The nature of this ministry in the Church, its guiding documents and core parameters.

The importance of understanding culture and ecclesial context as the starting point, and the power of the Gospel. Guidelines for interpreting and understanding human and ecclesial conditions.

Theme One
Catechesis in the Church’s Mission of Evangelization
Roots catechesis in Dei Verbum, placing it in the context of evangelization (EN).

The nature, purpose, content and process for different stages of evangelization
Different soils call for different goals, approaches and focus.

How can we reach out to those who haven’t heard the Gospel, or see no need of it in their lives, or are less and less engaged by the Word? Are we meant to? And if so how?

And what of those who are open but don’t know the Gospel? Where do we begin...with what process? When is a catechumenal model appropriate, and what are its main characteristics?

How do we accompany those who have been catechized and are committed to the Gospel, and desire to keep their faith living, conscious, and active?

Theme Two – The Gospel Message in Catechesis
What is the proper content in catechesis? What are the norms and criteria, in the Catholic tradition, for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis?

In what manner is the Catechism of the Catholic Church a reference point for catechesis, and for the preparation of local resources?

Theme Three – Pedagogy of Faith
Formulates the main elements of pedagogy of the faith inspired by divine pedagogy.

What orientations ground good methods? - The role of experience; the importance of dialogue; cultivating creativity and flexibility; honoring individual differences; relating to different learning styles.

Theme Four – Those to be Catechized
Attention is given to the diverse situations and contexts of those to whom catechesis is directed. Particular attention is given to questions of adaptation and inculturation including:

catechesis according to age:

catechesis for special situations, mentalities and environments – such as with the disabled and the marginalized;

catechesis in the socio religious context - in the context of ecumenism, other religions, new religious movements, and popular devotion;

catechesis in the socio – cultural context – duties of catechesis for inculturation of the faith.

Theme Five – Catechesis in the Particular Church
The centrality of the particular church and its responsibilities for catechesis. Roles, responsibilities, structures.

Of particular significance is the description of roles in catechetical ministry, and their respective formation, particularly the formation of catechists.

The loci and means of catechesis, including basic ecclesial communities, Catholic schools, parish, and family.

The organization and responsibility of catechetical pastoral care in the particular churches, with special reference to initiatives in catechist formation at the national and regional levels in Canada, and to the catechetical resources developed through the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Concluding Reflections
Primary insights for ministry. Implications for accompanying faith development.
Issues for future exploration.


Students are responsible for knowing the University’s academic policies and regulations and any particularities of their own course of study. These can all be found at the University’s website ( Ignorance of these policies is not an excuse for any violation thereof. The following policies are particularly important to note:

Submission of Assignments: It is the responsibility of the student to organize his or her work so that the assignments are completed on time. For any serious reason, a student may approach the professor before the due-date, and may be granted an extension at the discretion of the professor. Any medical reason will be confirmed by proper documentation as approved by the Dean’s Office. A penalty of 10% of the value of assignment will be deducted for each day it is overdue without permission.

Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt by quotation marks and/or footnotes. Plagiarism is a major academic offense. Students may be required to submit their work in electronic form for plagiarism checking.

Selection and Registration of Courses: Students are responsible for ensuring that their selection of courses is appropriate and accurately recorded, that all prerequisite course(s) have been successfully completed, and that they are aware of any anti-requisite course(s) that they have taken.