Pastoral Ministry Courses

The undergraduate programs of the Pastoral Ministry Institute are designed for those students pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University and for those individuals involved in ministry who wish to deepen their theological and pastoral preparation, and for the community at large.

PASTM 200: Pastoral Studies (6-12)

This is the Institute's Credit for Prior Learning option for a student who has been awarded a non-credit certificate through the Archdiocese of Chicago or neighboring dioceses. Contact the Institute for details.

PASTM 295: God and Social Action (3)

*This course fulfills a general education requirement in Religious Studies 
This service-learning course is a creative blend of off-campus experience in social outreach and on-campus coursework in the methods of Christian theological reflection. Justice themes in Catholic social thought are also explored. In addition to a weekly two-hour meeting on campus, participants will give three hours of service each week at sites such as: Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly, Southwest Chicago P.A.D.S. (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), Youth Ministry Teen Outreach, Aquinas Literacy Center, Brother David Darst Center for Justice and Peace Spirituality, Sister of Mercy Social Justice Ministry or other specialized social service opportunities.

PASTM 350: Theology of Ministry (3)

This course is the heart of the ministry minor, blending theological reflection of ministry and service. The focus of the course is on the theological foundation for ministry. It examines current possibilities in lay ministry within the Catholic Church. New roles and responsibilities for lay ecclesial ministers are identified, and the place of these various ministries in the vision of the church's mission is explored. (On occasion a special topics course Introduction to Practical Theology will substitute for Theology of Ministry.)

PASTM 380: Ministry Practicum (3)

This supervised practicum is designed to serve a student in a specialized manner, offered much as an independent study might be. It is meant for the student who is best served through a more individualized program. The practice of ministry includes regular meetings with an on-site supervisor, as well as with an Institute teacher.


Occasionally, the institute offers a variety of one-credit seminars that provide opportunities to explore timely issues directly related to religious and ministerial concerns of contemporary women and men.

Seminar policy requires that students who seek academic credit write a reflective paper as assigned by the instructor and must sign up for the seminar either as elective undergraduate credit or as part of a minor in ministry. The following criteria apply:

These seminars may also be taken on a non-credit basis. This especially appeals to those not seeking a degree.

PASTM 322: Liturgy, Sacraments and Prayer (1)

This seminar is designed to enhance understanding of the liturgy, sacraments and prayer. Particular attention is given to the doctrine of the Eucharist and the significance of the Lord's Prayer in the life of the church and ministry of catechesis. The relationship between liturgy and catechesis is explored to strengthen understanding of the place active participation plays in the life of the Christian community.

PASTM 323: Catholic Moral Teaching (1)

This seminar is designed to enhance understanding of the Catholic church's moral teachings and their implications for Christian living. Particular attention is given to church teaching regarding the dignity of the human person, the importance of the common good, the preferential option for the poor and the commitment to life.

PASTM 324: Bible Today (1)

This seminar delves into the rich spirituality of the Judeo-Christian tradition as developed and expressed in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Various themes are treated but, in all cases, the Bible is examined as a primary resource for the development of the spiritual life, with applications made to personal growth and ministry.

PASTM 326: Christology (1)

This seminar examines the person, ministry and place of Jesus Christ in the Christian tradition and in the contemporary world. It considers Christological doctrine related to the person and work of Jesus Christ as the basis for Christian faith in God.

PASTM 330: American Catholicism (1)

The purpose of this seminar is three-fold: to briefly review the major shifts in the development of Catholicism in the U.S.; to investigate the texture of U.S. Catholicism, particularly its distinctive traits; and to begin to articulate what is on the horizon for the growing pluralism of U.S. Catholicism.

PASTM 332: Insights in Faith (1)

This seminar is designed to enhance the understanding of the Creed and its place in the life and ministry of the Church. The Creed is examined as a normative summary of the essential elements of Christian faith. The Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed are considered in order to strengthen understanding of Church teaching and the doctrinal content of catechesis.

PASTM 335: Prayer (1)

What would happen if all the Bibles, holy books and prayer books of the world were destroyed? Prayer is a kind of relationship with the Divine that is part of one's inner life. This seminar will explore the experience of praying as a process of inner dialogue. Participants will be guided through methods of prayer that enhance the experience of solitude and the revelatory significance of one's own life story.

PASTM 336: Spirituality (1)

This seminar examines various aspects of spirituality with a view toward understanding the contemporary spiritual experience as it relates to tradition and to the modern world. Focus varies, e.g., interfaith appreciation, mysticism, models of spiritual life - past and present, etc.

PASTM 339: Christian Marriage (1)

This seminar will examine the role of marriage in the community and the role of the community in marriage. Four principles that are critical to the well-being of married couples will be considered, i.e., the primacy of the relationship; the empowerment of the skills necessary to build the relationship; the protection of the support systems needed to thrive; and the practice of prayer that sustains love.

PASTM 345: Spiritual Care of the Elderly (1)

This seminar explores what a religious tradition can offer to the meaning and purpose of aging. The challenges of aging will be considered from both psychological and theological perspectives. The final season of life will be explored as a time for increased faith in the face of diminishment and loss, for recognizing the blessing and burden of eldercare and for gaining skills in finishing unfinished business.

PASTM 348: Forgiveness (1)

Human beings live in the midst of the painful tangle of interpersonal and social relationships. Relying on the biblical message of Jesus, the human science of modern psychology, and Christian theological perspectives, this seminar will address the issues of betrayal, woundedness, sin, grace, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. Attention will be given to the Catholic theology and practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

PASTM 349: Models in Spirituality (1)

This seminar offers an exploration into the biblical, historical and timeless contributions of select spiritual mystics and writers to the understanding of Christian spirituality. Figures examined as models for spiritual growth and development may vary, e.g., Moses, Mary of Nazareth, Augustine, Hildegard of Bingen, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.

PASTM 360: Topics in Pastoral Ministry (1)

In this seminar, a specific topic related to lay ecclesial ministers will be explored, e.g., lay presiding, pastoral counseling, issues in canon law, etc. Topics will vary.

PASTM 390: Special Topics (1-3)

This course involves various pastoral ministry topics.

PASTM 395: Independent Study (1-3)

*Prerequisite: Consent of department chair and instructor
Individual study projects for pastoral ministry students. Topic to be determined by instructor and student. 

Vicariate V Ministry Commission

The commission functions as a programming board in planning a full range of instructional and spiritual formation opportunities for lay ecclesial ministers serving in the participating parishes of Vicariate V. This commission is under the purview of the Episcopal vicar of Vicariate V. Participation in the programs of the Vicariate V Ministry Commission meet some Archdiocesan requirements for certification in various lay ministries.

The Institute's offerings may be taken on a non-credit basis by parish members. Each year some of the one-credit courses are designed specifically in support of those actively engaged in ministry or religious education to enhance ongoing theological and spiritual development.

An annual brochure is available on the Office for University Ministry website.