Course Catalog

Click on the following for:

The Academic Schedule           The Current Courses for this semester
The Initial Formation Model                               Academic Transcripts
The Certificate in Pastoral Studies      The Masters in Pastoral Studies


The following courses are offered as part of our online Diaconate Distance Learning program.  Courses with the DE suffix are part of the formation (initial and continuing formation) and courses with the DM suffix are part of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) program.  In the registration system, DM courses are only visible to students enrolled in the MAPS program.  Click on the course name for the course description. 



Introduction to Scripture


The Pentateuch


The Prophets


Synoptic Gospels/Acts


The Four Gospels - Synoptics and John


The Four Gospels - Synoptics and John [MAPS]


Letters of Paul


The Letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles 


Gospel of John


The Book of Revelation





Canon Law



Vatican II Overview - 6 week course




 The Trinity


 The Trinity


 The Catechism of the Catholic Church


Fundamental Theology


Fundamental Theology [MAPS]






Sacramental Theology


Philosophy for Understanding Theology


Deacon Seminar for Certificate Candidates



Hispanic Ministry



Church History





Sacred Music 


Theology of Liturgy



Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching - 6 week course


Catholic Social Teaching


Medical and Health Care Morality


Moral Theology



Catechism Overview - 6 week course


Principles of Catechesis


Introduction to Homiletics


Homiletics I (Celebrations of the Liturgical Year)


Homiletics II (Homilies for Special Occasions)


Homiletics III - Better Homilies


Introduction to Diaconal Ministry - Introduction to the Theology of the Diaconate


Marriage Practicum


Pastoral Counseling


Marriage and Family




Planning and Conducting Funeral and Memorial Services


Pastoral Theology


Implementing the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)


Health Care Ministry


Best Practices in Parish Administration


Prison Ministry


Introduction to Grief Counseling





 Course Descriptions


BI50DE Introduction to Scripture - 1 Credit Hour - Six week course

What is the Bible? How do you interpret it? These two questions are practically addressed throughout the course. Since the Bible is “the Word of God in human words,” the joint divine and human authorship of Sacred Scripture from an Incarnational perspective is considered and inspiration, canonicity and truth/inerrancy by means of the guiding Magisterial documents are studied. The specific methods and tools for studying the Biblical text are introduced.  More...


BI510DE The Pentateuch

Beginning with an overview of the methodology used for the study of the Old Testament, the course introduces students to the content and structure of the five books of the Torah and their relationship to the other books of Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. The approach taken to the material is the Documentary Hypothesis, as described and approved in Dei Verbum. Students are be prepared to incorporate the Pentateuch into reflection, study and preaching. More...


BI601DE The Prophets

The prophets tell the story of God’s Chosen People.  As voices of God, they also held the actions of leaders and people up to scrutiny in light of God’s law, and issued warnings about the consequences of disobedience.  The Major Prophets are emphasized, the course also will cover several of the Minor Prophets and the ”Former” Prophets.  Familiarity with the writings of the prophets in their historical context leads to a better understanding of the relationship between Old Testament prophets and New Testament texts and events. More...


BI611DE Synoptic Gospels/Acts

Students study the three synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, including the relationships among the three Gospels. The Acts of the Apostles, as a continuation of Luke’s narrative is included. Attention is given to questions of authorship and theological purpose, audience, dates and significant themes in each Gospel and in Acts. Various interpretive methods, some classical and others more modern, are employed. More...


BI612DE The Four Gospels - Synoptics and John

This course introduces students to the four canonical gospels as the principal witness for the life and teaching of Jesus handed on to us in writing. Special attention is devoted to appreciating the inter-relatedness of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), how they differ from John’s gospel, and how the tensions generated by those differences enable us to enter more fully into the mystery of our faith.  More...


BI612DM The Four Gospels - Synoptics and John

This MAPS course introduces students to the four canonical gospels as the principal witness for the life and teaching of Jesus handed on to us in writing. Special attention is devoted to appreciating the inter-relatedness of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), how they differ from John’s gospel, and how the tensions generated by those differences enable us to enter more fully into the mystery of our faith. 


At the Masters level, this course exposes students to current scholarly research on the gospels. Special attention is devoted to the Jewish context of Jesus. In accordance with the instructions of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with Jews, misconceptions about Jews and Judaism are identified and corrected. Pastoral challenges in teaching and preaching the gospels are also addressed and integrated into the coursework. More...


BI712DE Letters of Paul

Students explore selected letters of Paul. Topics include authorship, audience, secular and religious contexts. The study of Paul’s writing style brings additional meaning to the texts. Students are prepared for teaching and preaching in parish and similar settings. More...


BI713DM The Letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles

This MAPS course engages the student in a study of Saint Paul and the Acts of the Apostles to explore the lasting influence of the early witnesses to Christ on the Church today, the central tenet that these witnesses stress knowing Christ, not merely knowing about him and the growth of Christianity into a world-wide community of disciples.  More...


BI801DE Gospel of John

Substantially different from the synoptic Gospels, John’s Gospel presents Jesus in a number of settings. Of significance is the Book of Glory and the Book of Signs. Special attention to the Bread of Life discourse. Students are prepared to preach from John’s Gospel, especially during Lent and Easter, and describe the history, audience and context of the Gospel. More...


 BI601DE The Book of Revelation

Students develop an appreciation and understanding of the Book of Revelation by careful study of the text as Sacred Scripture. Homiletic considerations are a particular focus. The study of Revelation examines the pastoral challenges stemming from popular fundamentalist interpretations. Students also explore the impact of Revelation on worship, justice and witness. More...

BI930DE Psalms

The text from this biblical book is explored as the liturgical and personal prayer book of Jews and Christians for millennia, a book which embraces the entire spectrum of human emotion and experience, speaking as much to people of today as it did to those who rst composed it. The overall structure of the book, types of Psalms, aspects of Hebrew poetry, and important themes arising in the text are analyzed. Recommended Prerequisite: BI 501 Introduction to Scripture.


CL612DE Canon Law

Canon law, the internal legal system of the Church, is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the western world and affects virtually every aspect of Catholic life. The course introduces students to canon law, including its history and principles of interpretation. The course addresses questions that are most likely to be faced by deacons in ministry, including the rights and responsibilities of clerics, governance in the church, and laws governing the sacraments of which the deacon is minister. Canonical issues in preparation for marriage are covered in detail. More...



DO60DE Vatican II Overview - 1 Credit Hour - 6 week course

The major documents of Vatican II are examined in the context of Council debate and discussion. The course considers the theological environment prior to the Council and how Council documents were affected by conversations among theologians and others. Also part of the course is consideration of the steps taken over the nearly fifty years since adjournment of the Council to implement its decrees.

DO81DE Ecumenism

Key magisterial documents pertaining to ecumenism, as well as the history of the ecumenical movement, documents from the World Council of Churches and the bi-lateral dialogues of the Catholic Church with Orthodox and Protestant communities are examined. Seminarians will be expected to acquire a non-polemical approach to other Christian communities, relating to other communities with an openness to dialogue, while being deeply grounded. More...


DO502DE The Trinity

“The Trinity” surveys the development of trinitarian doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church from the 1st century to the present, beginning with doctrinal precursors found in holy Scripture, early liturgical practices, and early writings of the Church Fathers, and ending with mature Roman Catholic trinitarian doctrine. The course has two distinct foci, first, the development and defense of basic trinitarian doctrine in the 2nd-5th centuries, from the writings of the early Christian apologists through St. Augustine’s De Trinitatis, and second, the detailed explication of Trinitarian doctrine in the middle ages, as exemplified in Part I of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. More...


DO502DM The Trinity

This MAPS course on “The Trinity” surveys the development of trinitarian doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church from the 1st century to the present, beginning with doctrinal precursors found in holy Scripture, early liturgical practices, and early writings of the Church Fathers, and ending with mature Roman Catholic trinitarian doctrine. The course has two distinct foci, first, the development and defense of basic trinitarian doctrine in the 2nd-5th centuries, from the writings of the early Christian apologists through St. Augustine’s De Trinitatis, and second, the detailed explication of Trinitarian doctrine in the middle ages, as exemplified in Part I of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. More...


DO503DE The Catechism of the Catholic Church

This course examines the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).  Its focus is on the content of the doctrines the church teaches and the style through which it teaches them. It is divided into four major sections, each corresponding to the four major sections of the CCC. The first of these four parts is entitled the Profession of Faith and is based on the Nicene Creed. It reviews the doctrine of the Trinity of God, the incarnation of Christ, and the role of the church in the economy of salvation. The second part is called The Celebration of the Christian Mystery and it describes the Liturgy of the church and the seven sacraments that it celebrates. The third part is entitled Life in Christ and it discusses the moral teachings of the church. The fourth part discusses Christian Prayer.  More...


DO511DE Fundamental Theology

The course examines the ways in which humanity knows that God exists and how God is revealed in the world and in Scripture.  The study of creation, life and the purpose of human life offers important insights into the mind and the plan of God, including the fall and redemption of humanity.  God sent the Son to redeem humanity.  How does this act of love on the part of the Father and then of the Son in embracing the cross reveal more about God?  Early in its history, the Church addressed fundamental theological questions, and through centuries of debate and decision developed basic Magisterium teachings that are reflected in today’s ecclesiology and liturgy.  More...


DO511DM Fundamental Theology

This MAPS course in fundamental theology will introduce students to the complex issues surrounding the interchange between faith and reason.  This course will use a combination of primary and secondary sources.  The goal of this course is to help students to solidify their intellectual foundation for the work of theological study.  Many people in our world today approach theology from an emotive or even fundamentalistic approach.  The Catholic tradition has always understood that the gift of human reason can be used to study revealed truth.  Faith and reason are not opposed, but work in concert to arrive at the truth. This can be a challenging course because of the use of philosophy and human reason.  This course will help students in the work of evangelization by giving them a solid grasp of the problem of modern faith, with a special emphasis on preaching the gospel in our modern times.  More...

DO601DE Christology

The Son of God became human while remaining divine. He suffered death on the cross to redeem humanity, and rose from the dead in glory. The early Church divided over the question of who was and who is Jesus. The early Councils proclaimed doctrine held to this day, and the Church Fathers wrote cogently about Him. The course addresses the fundamental questions about Jesus and review the heresies about Jesus that threatened and continue to threaten the Church. The significance of the person of Jesus Christ in the modern world and His redeeming actions place Him at the core of faith.  More...


DO701DE Ecclesiology

Beginning with images and history of the Church, the course will examine the nature of the church and its emerging challenges. This course will consider both classic insights and new directions in ecclesiology, including reflections on the nature and exercise of ministry in the church. A review of models of the church from the writings of theologians and pastors of all eras will form the basis for a critical examination of two documents of the Second Vatican Council: The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). More...


DO725DE Sacramental Theology

A comprehensive study of the theology and rites for administering the Sacraments.  The course examines biblical foundations for each sacrament, the way that the Church has understood and practiced its life of prayer and sanctification throughout history using the sacraments. It focuses on the way that the Church currently celebrates the Sacraments. Preparation for diaconal ministry is achieved through an understanding of the developmental history of each sacrament and a study of the liturgical texts. More...


DO841DE Philosophy for Understanding Theology

The relationship between philosophy and Christian theology for the purpose of possessing a better understanding of theology. What influence have key philosophers exerted through the centuries in shaping Christian theology in both its understandings and forms of expression? Included are the ancient philosophers and a selection of philosophies from early Christian times to post modernism. The Directory emphasizes the importance of philosophy in understanding the major doctrines of the Church, and recognizes that knowledge of philosophy aids in understanding theology.  More...

DO965DE Deacon Seminar for Certificate Candidates

In the final semester of the Josephinum Diaconate Institute certificate program this two credit seminar is required to complete the requirements for the certificate.  In this seminar a topic will be selected and a 25 page capstone paper will be written. The range of possible topics may fall into the following areas: (1) History of the Diaconate (2) Diaconate in your diocese (3) Theology of the Diaconate (4) Diaconate in Contemporary Church



HM951DE Hispanic Ministry

Immigration from Latin America has reached massive proportions in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are Catholic in tradition and seek to live and practice their faith in their new home. This course will prepare both Anglo and Latino students to minister to this large and growing population by familiarizing them with Latino culture, language and faith traditions. Of particular importance is ministry to adolescents and young adults since Latinos constitute a majority of young Catholics in the United States.



HS501DE Church History

A review of the theological and historical development of the Church. Particular attention is paid to the history of the Church in the United States. Study of the important issues, controversies and persons in the history of the Church and their impact on the present view of the Church’s mission and vision. More...


HS602DE Patristics

The early Church Fathers addressed fundamental questions about the Church in their writings. Included are texts on Christology, the Trinity, the sacraments and other topics. Writings from the Eastern and Western Fathers will be read so as to understand better how the Church currently “breathes with both lungs.”  More...



LI501DE Sacred Music

This course examines the historical development of liturgical music with an eye toward its pastoral applications, from early Christian communities to the Church of today. Selections that illustrate the various stages within this evolution will be available. Students will learn to analyze and comment on compositions from musical, liturgical, and pastoral perspectives. How has the Church responded to developments in liturgical music, and what is the impact on liturgical music ministry in parish settings today. Students of all disciplinary backgrounds will be able to engage the material; there are no prerequisites for previous musical, historical, or theological training.


LI962DE Theology of Liturgy

The course studies the liturgy and its function in the life and mission of the Church. The anthropological, historical and theological foundations of the liturgy are examined through the study of ecclesial and magisterial documents.  More...



MO60DE Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching - 1 Credit Hour - 6 week course

A six week course focused on the Seven Principles of Catholic Social Thought. Application of the Principles to current sociological, economic and political challenges. This course is a prerequisite for more advanced study of Catholic Social Teaching. More...


MO602DE Catholic Social Teaching

Building on the Seven Principles of Social Justice as defined by the USCCB, the student examines an expanded view of Catholic social thought. These principles are used by popes and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to engage morality in the making of political and economic decisions. Explores a detailed review of current issues in the political arena that challenge justice as recognized by the Church. Prerequisite: MO 60 or the equivalent familiarity with basic Catholic Social Teaching. More...


MO841DE Medical and Health Care Morality

An orientation to the theology of the human body, personhood, and human dignity in protecting life from beginning to end and in treating illness. Subjects to be considered include killing and life taking, as well as the principles of double effect, totality, material/formal cooperation, and common good as applied to medical issues. Other topics discussed include ordinary/extraordinary means, especially in death and dying and surgical interventions, questions about sterilization, contraception, and in-vitro fertilization, abortion, pregnancy and delivery.  More...


MO844DE Moral Theology

A study of the interaction of the theological traditions of East and West, both today and throughout history, with emphasis on a particular theme or set of questions in Christian ethics. Students will consider five basic themes in the study of ethics from Eastern and Western thought: (1) the relationship between moral theology and Christian ethics; (2) God as source of the moral life; (3) the nature of the human person; (4) the problem of evil and the experience of sin; (5) conscience and moral decision-making.  More...



PA60DE Catechism Overview - 1 Credit Hour - 6 week course

A six week introductory course on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Students will read most of the Catechism and understand the basic principles of the Catholic faith. The course is intended as a review of Church teachings suitable for deacon aspirants or lay ministry applicants.


PA502DE Introduction to Homiletics

Liturgical preaching in the Roman Catholic tradition is introduced. Students are prepared to preach through the three components of an effective homily: 1) Theological Message; 2) Spiritual and Intellectual Preparation; and 3) Style of Presentation. The Church’s documents on preaching the homily including: Fulfilled in Your Hearing and Preaching the Mystery of Faith are incorporated to ensure that the student has all of the objective components necessary for effective preaching.  This course is taken Pass/Fail. More...


PA541DE  Homiletics I (Celebrations of the Liturgical Year)

The preparation and preaching of homilies that pertain to celebrations of the liturgical calendar, i.e., Sundays of the year and Feasts are covered. Digital recordings assist students in the evaluation of their own homiletic skills. This course is taken Pass/Fail.


PA641DE  Homiletics II (Homilies for Special Occasions)

The preparation and preaching of homilies for special occasions: such as, weddings, funerals, baptisms, and anniversaries are covered. Digital recordings will be used to evaluate the student’s homiletic skills. This course is taken Pass/Fail.


PA651DE Homiletics III - Better Homilies

Students will concentrate on improving their homilies. After a review of homiletic fundamentals, the course will include substantial opportunities for students to share homilies with the class and benefit from facilitator and peer critique. This course is taken Pass/Fail.  More... 


PA631DE Principles of Catechesis

Designed for deacons, lay ministers and volunteers who will be involved in planning and implementing faith formation for all ages and anyone interested in learning more about emerging models of catechesis. The course will provide a survey of emerging models and approaches to faith formation. The reading assignments and presentations will point to texts, journals, web sites and parishes that provide and practice the models described. The course will encourage conversation and mutual learning about all approaches to parish faith formation across the life span with the goal of assisting all who bear this responsibility.More...


PA805DE Introduction to Diaconal Ministry - Introduction to the Theology of the Diaconate

Study of the key documents related to the diaconate, including Gaudium et Spes, writings of the popes and publications of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Secondary literature published by theologians, deacons and laypeople will present the diaconate in its current ministerial context and suggest directions for the future. Publications of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) will be used to present empirical data about deacons and the diaconate. This course incorporates reflection on the call to diaconal ministry.  More...


PA822DE Marriage Practicum

This course focuses on developing skills that are essential to deacons in the pastoral setting of pre-marriage counseling and preparation: the ability to assess and summarize various information to the sacramental nature of marriage, and the capacity to develop a pastoral care approach to the couple’s vision of the wedding. More...

PA868DE Pastoral Counseling

A review of basic counseling theory, processes and skill development, focused on assessment, listening, and goal setting. This course describes various emotional/mental disorders and addresses the question of making appropriate non-professional assessments and professional referrals. The course is intended for ministers in a pastoral setting who have no formal training in counseling. Special emphasis will be placed upon helping the minister recognize common issues and problems and determine an appropriate response.  Students will learn their own strengths and weaknesses in a counseling setting,  This is a course in pastoral care, not professional counseling.  More...


PA883DE Marriage and Family

A course to assist in the pastoral care of couples considering marriage, married couples and families.  Marriage preparation, including specific programs such as Pre-Cana, FOCUS and related opportunities are covered in detail.  Included are pastoral approaches to counseling families with marriage difficulties, divorce and annulment, and the development of a sound spirituality in marriage.  The course is designed to support ministers in pastoral situations and is not intended as preparation for professional counseling.  More...


PA901DE Addictions

This course is designed to enable deacons and other pastoral ministers to exhibit the heart and welcome of Jesus to those facing addictions among us.  This course provides deacons and other pastoral caregivers help in dealing with addicts, their families and the whole congregation.

The course will look at, in down to earth, practical terms: (1) The current thinking, theology and wisdom on addictions (2) Resources the Church can offer to those troubled by addictions (3) Preaching, Biblical Wisdom and sacraments for the addicted

Some of the forms of addiction looked at are: Alcohol, Pornography, Narcotics, Prescription drugs, Gambling, Sexual addictions, Gaming addiction  The course will especially look at typical symptoms, action steps, prayer starters and further resources. More...


PA902DE Planning and Conducting Funeral and Memorial Services

Funerals and Memorial Services from the beginning stages of death right up through the final burial and committal service.  Study and review of the current Roman Catholic guidelines covering vigils and calling hours, funeral masses, memorial services, committal services, grave side services, and cremations. Addresses difficult funerals including services for infants, suicides, tragic deaths, and multiple deaths. More...


PA903DE Pastoral Theology

Pastoral theology examines the relationship between the doctrine of the Church and its practice, especially in the context of the local Church and parish. The course looks at pastoral theology and praxis as it developed from Vatican II, with a special focus on the role of pastoral ministers in pastoral care.

The documents of Vatican II, Papal Encyclicals, and contemporary writings form the foundation of the course. The main texts will be Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, with supplementary material drawn from A Roman Catholic Theology of Pastoral Care by Regis A Duffy, OFM, (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishing) and Ethics in Pastoral Ministry by Richard Gula, S.S., (New York: Paulist Press). Attention will be given to the pastoral thought of Pope Francis.  More...


PA910DE Implementing the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

This course provides tools and practical guidance for those preparing to lead the RCIA process.  The course will review the extensive literature accumulated over years of experience with the RCIA process in a variety of pastoral settings.  Of particular importance is the organization of an RCIA program, the identification and training of volunteers, the structure of classes and other activities and the relationship between catechumenate and the Church. This course is most effective when the entire RCIA team participates together. More...


PA931DE Health Care Ministry

An introduction to the responsibilities of the chaplain in a hospital or other medical facility in the context of the six major roles filled by the chaplain. Practical modules include: visiting the sick, death bereavement and end of life issues, cultural challenges. crisis ministry and the obligations of a professional in a chaplain position.  Participants are required to visit a hospital, work with a chaplain, and complete assigned tasks relating to clinical visits in addition to readings, reflection papers and examination.  This course is designed to assist deacons who are asked to minister as a chaplain; it is not preparation for a profession or career as a health care facility chaplain. More...


PA951DE Best Practices in Parish Administration

This course presents a practical approach to studying the day-to-day issues that arise for the administrator to address.  Parishes, in practice, can really be considered to be business entities, both large and small, that procure goods and services and have varying numbers of employees to help meet the demands of the “business.”  It is important to know something about contracting, managing parish facilities, and human resources management, among other things, in order to manage and advise the pastor about establishing and implementing sound practices for hiring, managing and disciplining employee, for example.  It is also important to be familiar with laws and regulations that are applicable to human resources management.  While state and local laws may not be consistent in many of the areas, participants should become aware of those that are locally applicable. The ability to recognize potential legal issues in order to seek timely professional assistance is of particular importance to an administrator. This course addresses both the practical business applications and provides some familiarity with applicable general legal principles. More...


PA967DE Prison Ministry

This is being updated.  A new abstract will be posted in the Fall of 2017.


PA990DE Introduction to Grief Counseling

This course guides the students though an exploration of the many facets of a person who is grieving. Completion of this course will allow the participant to identify with those who suffer a loss and allow the student to experience a methodology of counseling to apply in their ministry.

The student will explore the attitude that we have toward loss and death; define what grief and bereavement mean; identify factors that influence different reactions to grief; examine different grieving scenarios; consider cultural differences among various religions; explore the healing process through counseling; learn how to develop a good grief group; and list professional organizations and helpful resources for grieving and those who help them.

In addition, each student will be assigned the role of acting as a student to another student who will play the role of a grieving person, thereby allowing the students to gain practical insight into the theoretical basis of the course. Students will be required to give a weekly report on the progress of their assigned client and provide feedback on their assigned counselor.

Completion of the course does not certify the student to act as a licensed or certified grief counselor but serves as an introductory level course that will help the student understand the grieving process and successfully conduct individual or group grief counseling sessions.  More...



SP611DE Spirituality

The course leads the student on a spiritual journey of intimacy with God that can bring healing to the minister and those who are cared for. The journey of this course involves both head and heart. The course focuses on the theological and Biblical background and some of the basic ways to pray and discern the spiritual life. Through Lectio Divina pathways will be opened to contemplative prayer. The full and personal meaning of diakonia will be discussed. Included are step-by-step meditations and devotional guides for prayer experiences that help to internalize and adopt the basics of spirituality. More...