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Master of Arts in Religious and Pastoral Studies

The Master of Arts in Religious and Pastoral Studies is designed to offer those in ministry, education, and areas of social leadership the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree in Religious and Pastoral Studies.

Students can choose from three areas of concentration:

The program is 36 credits total, which includes 11 three-credit courses and a final culminating three-credit experience.

The final three-credit component may come in the form of a culminating experience, a supervised ministry, or a tutored final paper.

Students who demonstrate active ministry—religious education, theological education, or a related field approved by the director of the program—are eligible for a further discount.

Please note, international students must be enrolled full-time at Cabrini to be eligible for admission.


Courses

RELS 500: Models of Religious Education 
Cross-listed with RELS 208

This course gives students an introduction to the foundational principles in the practice of religious education. Students are introduced to new issues and innovations in teaching religion in terms of their framework, nature, forms and developmental patterns. Theories of faith development and moral development are examined. A survey of educational materials is included.

RELS 501: Church and Ministry

Students will examine what it means to be “church” and the basis of ministry. Attention will be given to the history of the church and how ministerial roles and leadership structures came to be, as well as their function in today's world.

This course looks toward the responsibilities of all the baptized and their role in creating a world of peace and justice. Attention will be paid to ecumenism, religious dialogue, and outreach to others.

REL 502: Morality: Theory and Practice

This course will introduce the student to the consideration of the moral and ethical dimensions of contemporary life in pluralistic American society.

Specific attention will be given to the Christian tradition as it engages in various socio-cultural, political, and economic problems.

REL 503: Christology

This course examines the historical Jesus from the perspectives of Scripture, Christian history, and theology.

Special attention is given to contemporary questions about Jesus and his relevance for today’s world. Questions around the ministry of Jesus and application to issues of peace and justice will be included.

REL 601: The Old Testament 
Cross-listed with REL 217

Students study the development, nature and purpose of the Hebrew Scriptures in light of recent biblical scholarship.

Scripture is examined from a thematic perspective, emphasizing its relevance for contemporary life. Particular attention will be paid to the prophets and their call for justice.

RELS 602: The Gospels 
Cross-listed with RELS 218

Students study the development, nature and purpose of the Christian gospels in light of recent biblical scholarship.

The Scriptures are approached through a thematic perspective that emphasizes their relevance for contemporary life.

RELS 603: The Epistles 
Cross-listed with RELS 219

This course offers a study of the Epistles with special reference to contemporary issues. In particular, this course will look at the Pauline letters and the conflicts, issues, and political atmosphere that letters address.

In addition to traditional letters, this course will examine deuterocanonical letters that give additional insight to the time and place.

RELS 604: The Sacraments: Ritual, Worship, and Symbol 
Cross-listed with RELS 107

This course addresses symbolic life as key to human expression and communication.

Historical and theological insights into the Christian sacraments provide students with the framework for study of the sacraments as symbols that make present Christ’s love in the world.

RELS 605: The Culture of Catholicism

This course introduces the concept of the Christian tradition as a “culture” to be studied as a source of creativity with its many dimensions developing out of the Church’s and the faithful’s fruitful and constant interaction with particular social environments.

RELS 612: Catholic Social Thought and Practice

This course focuses on the development and practice of Catholic Social Teaching. Emphasis will be placed on the tradition as it developed with the North American context.

Familiarity with Catholicism is not essential; students of all religious traditions are welcome to enroll in the course. Requirements include a five-hour service component.

RELS 613: Heroes of Conscience 
Cross-listed with H-REL 301

Students are introduced to men and women from various religious traditions whose faith has moved them to act in a heroic manner.

Investigating how people of faith respond to such issues as war and poverty, students study the life and work of such figures as Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

RELS 614: Liberation Theologies 
Cross-listed with REL 316

This course offers an examination of how Christianity is interpreted and lived by non-Western cultures.

Topics include the African-American, feminist, and Hispanic critiques of Western theology.

RELS 620: Facing Death and Dying

How does one face suffering and death? How does one minister to someone who is facing illness and a journey toward death.

This course will study what it means to suffer, examining the perspective of those who have expressed themselves in the time of suffering.

Questions persist: What psychological issues will one face in the journey to death? What happens when we die? These questions will be examined from theological and psychological perspectives.

RELS 621: Ministry in Multicultural Settings

While at one time, American Catholics had ethnic parishes to call home, such parishes are no longer a reality. As such, Catholics from a variety of ethnic backgrounds now share a faith community.

Many parishes are now bi-lingual and even tri-lingual. This course examines the multicultural landscape that is the American Catholic Church today and how parishes can be inclusive toward the entire parish in ministry.

RELS 622: Ministry to Youth and Young Adults

This course looks at strategies, best practices, and theory surrounding ministry to youth and young adults.

This course examines many questions: What faith formation should take place for those who finish traditional religious education programs? What is appropriate ministry for high school students? What is appropriate outreach to students in college? After college? This course will study sociological trends of Catholics entering adulthood.

RELS 623: Psychology and Religion 
Cross-listed with REL 315

This class introduces students to the interface of psychology and religious studies. It examines the environment in which psychology was first introduced in Europe and America, the influence of various psychoanalytic practices, and the perspective of experimental and cognitive approaches to psycho-religious phenomenon.

This course also will address salient contributions to this topic from Eastern religion, specifically Hinduism and Zen Buddhism.

RELS 661-665: Special Topics in Ministry and Religious Education

These topics come out of the needs of the matriculated student base.

This provides an opportunity for students to study topics such as liturgy, music, historical theology, and other particular areas of study that would benefit students.

RELS 671-675: Special Topics in Peace and Justice 
Scheduled according to instructor and relevance

Topics vary, but are directly related to topics of social justice in the world today. This experiential, writing-intensive course helps students utilize their assets and the assets of community partners (local or global) in the pursuit of social justice.

Students will work with community partners, contributing to research that will be used to expand the capacity and quality of the partner organizations while providing students with life-long tools for civic engagement.

RELS 698, 699: Independent Study

Students may select an independent but directed study of a special interest topic not generally included in the regular course offerings.

Forms are available in the Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies Office.


Culminating Experience:

RELS 690: Religious Education Practicum (Comparable to REL 490)

This course is a practicum that allows students to spend all or part of a semester in a high school religious studies class with a cooperating teacher or in a religious education setting with a director of religious education.

The ministry may be the student’s place of employment. Prior to registration, students will draw up a proposal that includes a reading list, plan of study, and written project subject to approval from the program director and the student’s selected mentor.

RELS 691: Social Justice Practicum

This course is a practicum that allows students to spend all or part of a semester in a social justice-oriented position of ministry. The ministry may be the student’s place of employment.

Prior to registration, students will draw up a proposal that includes a reading list, plan of study, and written project subject to approval from the program director and the student’s selected mentor.

RELS 692: Pastoral Ministry Practicum

This course is a practicum that allows students to spend all or part of a semester in a ministerial role. The ministry may be the student’s place of employment.

Prior to registration, students will draw up a proposal that includes a reading list, plan of study, and written project subject to approval from the program director and the student’s selected mentor.

RELS 699: Integrative Capstone Project

If not doing a practicum, the student may complete a capstone project in religious education, social justice, or pastoral studies, in a topic of their choosing.

The project may be in the form of a research paper or creative presentation. Students will work with a mentor and meet regularly with their mentor and other students to discuss progress.

Prior to registration, students will draw up a proposal with reading list, subject to approval from the program director and the student’s selected mentor.

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