St. Peter's Seminary
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Pastoral Theology 5574B
Monday 9:30-11:20 AM
St. Peter's Seminary, Room 115
 Instructor: Richard Corneil, Ph.D. cand.
Office: Aquinas House
Office hours by appointment
519 - 432 - 1824, ext. 280


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.


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 honouring 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.



1.  Attend all classes, read required readings prior to class, and participate in discussions. 20%

2a)   Prepare a brief reflection paper based on the highlighted section from Archbishop Gomez’s (Los Angeles) address to the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference, March 2012. Focus the reflection by responding to the following questions: What part of the message “spoke to you” the most? Why? Conclude by crafting a question/issue that you would want to explore further based on your reflection on the statement, and why it interests you. No longer than 1000 words. Due September 24, 2012. 10%

2b)  Make a 5 minute presentation on your reflection paper. Date: September 24, 2012. 5%

3a)  Read John 6:51-58 and create a list of what you consider to be the key themes contained in the passage. Select one theme and develop a catechetical strategy for explaining the theme to either (i) a group of grade 5 students or (ii) an RCIA group. No longer than 1250 words. Due October 29, 2012. 15%.

3b)  Make a 10 minute presentation on your reflection paper. Date: October 29, 2012. 10%

4a)  Prepare a brief research paper based on Groome, “Handing on the Faith: The Need for Total Catechetical Education.” Focus the paper according to the following:

• Provide a brief summary of the article’s key themes;
• Analyze one of these themes from the perspective of relevant resources (theories, ideas, practices);
• Describe the practical outcomes for catechetical and pastoral activity that follow from your analysis.

No longer than 2000 words. Due November 26, 2012. 30%

4b)  Make a 10 minute presentation on your reflection paper. Date: November 26, 2012. 10%

5.  Note: There is no final exam.


  1. Selections from the General Directory for Catechesis, Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican, 1997. Handouts of specific sections will be provided. A copy of the GDC will be placed on reserve in the A.P Mahoney Library should you wish to do further reading.
  2. Selections from The Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (it’s assumed that students have access to a copy of both texts, in either online or hardcopy formats).
  3. Other primary source handouts to be provided, as needed.



Planned are lectures, group discussions, presentations, use of media and other interactive processes.


The course explores the history, theory, and practice of catechetics in a structure organized according to the five central themes found in the General Directory for Catechesis:

Weeks 1 and 2 Introduction
Weeks 3 and 4 Catechesis in the Church's Mission of Evangelization
October 8, 2012 Thanksgiving - No Class
Weeks 5 and 6 The Gospel Message in Catechesis
Weeks 7 and 8 Pedagogy of Fatih
Weeks 9 and 10 Those to be Catechized
Weeks 11 and 12 Catechesis in the Particular Church and Course Conclusion


All assignments have due dates. The Instructor will grade assignments turned in on time promptly with appropriate written comments. Assignments turned in late will be graded down 10% a day with few, if any, written comments. Unless otherwise specified, late is considered anytime after the beginning of class on the due date. Assignments may not be submitted electronically (unless a specific arrangement has been made).

For a 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 reasons will be confirmed by proper documentation as approved by the Dean’s Office.

Please consult the Instructor if you have any questions.


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:

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.