Course Catalog - St. Bernard's

Course Offerings

The St. Bernard’s Course Catalog is a document of record issued every academic year containing information related to the courses offered throughout the curriculum. This document sets out the “beating heart” of the School: its mission to form and to educate takes place primarily in the classroom, in the midst of an encounter between faculty and students as they seek together ever greater knowledge and love of God. To view our 2022 - 2023 Course Catalog, click here.

The location of a course is designated below by one of two geographic areas, indicating the location from which the live course is taught. Students who are within commuting distance to that location are encouraged to attend class in person. All Catholic theology courses online can be accessed synchronously for those unable to attend in person or not in commuting distance. Live course times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Further details on distance learning can be found here.

Fall 2023 Courses

August 28th - December 15th, 2023

Application deadline for Fall is August 18th; add/drop deadline is September 22nd.

BUF (Buffalo Campus) | ROC (Rochester Campus)

A202: Introduction to the Old Testament (Matthew Ramage, Ph.D.)

Introduction to the Old Testament introduces exegetical methodology and theology of the Old Testament. Students will consider the fruits and the assumptions of exegesis, using and examining its methodologies both as helpful tools and as products of a particular era. Hebrew poetry and narrative, ritual and ethical instruction, prophecy, historiography, and novella will be analyzed as literature, and students will also examine the development of traditions within the texts of the canon. Since Sacred Scripture is double-authored by both man and God and interpreted in the context of the Catholic Church, this course will also emphasize the theology of the Old Testament with a special focus on the People of God, and will read spiritual readings of the Old Testament from the Church Fathers to present.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:30pm EDT, 9/6, 9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/29, 12/13

B/C410: Patristics: Introduction to the Church Fathers (Siobhan Latar, S.T.D.)

This is an introductory course on the writings of the Fathers of the Church and their important contribution to the formation of orthodox Christian theology. The focus of the course is to introduce these early Christian theologians as the great teachers of Christian doctrine and highlight their contribution through the Fathers’ explanation of the Christian dogma and their refutation of heresies. Students will study patristic texts arranged historically and through the common classifications of the Fathers. For example, the Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, the Latin Fathers, the Alexandrians (both the Fathers of Alexandria, such as Clement of Alexandria, and the great teachers such as St. Athanasius and St. Cyril of Alexandria), and the Cappadocian Fathers (i.e. St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nazianzus).

3 credits | Online

Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm EDT, 8/29, 9/5, 9/12, 9/17, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5

C/D202: The Revelation of God: Doctrine, Liturgy, and Sacraments (Catechism 1 and 2) (Siobhan Latar, S.T.D. and Apolonio Latar, S.T.L.)

This course introduces students to those teachings that are central to the Catholic Faith as guided by Part One of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Profession of Faith” §§1-1065, and to the liturgical practices and sacraments of the Catholic Faith as guided by Part Two of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery” §§1066-1690.

3 credits | Online

Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm EDT, 8/31, 9/7, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14

C/D333: Catholic Bioethics at the Beginning of Life (Jean Baric Parker, D.Be.)

This course concentrates on bioethical topics and ethical principles that are most relevant at the beginning of human life. It commences with a biological examination of the beginnings of embryonic life, leading to an in-depth discussion of abortion, artificial contraception, natural family planning, NaPRO Technology, in vitro fertilization, gamete donation, surrogate pregnancy, fetal research, and other related topics. All topics are grounded in a discussion of the history of Catholic health care and fundamental Church teaching on natural law, human status, the human act, conscience, theology of the body, and the common good. Common secular arguments opposed to Church teaching in these areas are critiqued. All issues are considered in a highly practical light, with emphasis on real-life applications in pastoral, academic, and health care settings. This course will benefit health care professionals, clergy, chaplains, pastoral workers, life science researchers, ethics committee members, and ‘Catholics in the pew’ who are interested in learning more about applying Catholic bioethical principles to real life situations that they and their loved ones routinely encounter.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm EDT, 8/29, 9/5, 9/12, 9/17, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5

C/D395: We Bring You Good News: Fundamentals of Proclamation (Rev. Benjamin Roberts, D.Min.)

To modify a line from Sts. Peter and John, “How can we speak of all that we have seen and heard?” This course explores the foundational theological roots of the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Through engagement with Scripture, magisterial teaching, theological writings, along with classical and contemporary homiletical theory, we will examine both the “what” and the “how” of proclamation. Topics will include cultivating a habitus of proclamation, engaging the Scriptures through the light of Faith, encountering the culture and those who will hear, constructing the message, and overcoming fear with boldness and prudence. Since the baptismal vocation to proclaim the gospel is realized and specified within a multiplicity of ecclesial missions, we will explore the liturgical preaching specially entrusted to the ordained (liturgical homily) and to the multiple opportunities for preaching outside of the liturgy entrusted to the lay faithful. In this course, we will learn to tell The Story and bring the Good News.

3 credits | Online

Every other Monday, 6:00 – 9:00pm EDT, 8/28, 9/11, 9/25, 10/9, 10/30, 11/6, 11/20, 12/11

C/D460: Faith, Fiction, and Film: The Drama of Belief (Matthew Kuhner, Ph.D.)

Every genuine art form in its own way is a path to the inmost reality of man and of the world. It is therefore a wholly valid approach to the realm of faith, which gives human experience its ultimate meaning” (Pope St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 6). This course will explore how the art forms of fiction and film approach the realm of faith, reverencing its mystery and disclosing its richness. Beginning with a theological discussion of the relationship between Catholicism and art, the course will move to enjoy and reflect upon recent examples of fiction and film that have explored the drama of belief. Works of fiction by Flannery O’Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Georges Bernanos, Paul Claudel, and films by Karen Blixen and Terrence Malick will be explored.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00pm EDT, 9/6, 9/13, 9/27, 10/11, 10/25, 11/8, 11/29, 12/13

C217: Fundamental Moral Theology (Catherine Yanko)

This course introduces the fields of moral theology and Catholic Social Thought. Students will contemplate the purpose of moral theology and Catholic Social Thought in the life of the Church, their methods, and the problems they address. Topics will include sin and conversion, vice and virtue, methods of moral decision making, and the development and practice of Catholic Social Thought. (Formerly "Moral and Social Teachings").

3 credits | Online

Every other Tuesday, 6:00 9:00pm EDT, 8/29, 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5

C226: Liturgical and Sacramental Theology (Rev. Peter Van Lieshout, S.T.L.)

An historical, anthropological, and theological investigation of Christian worship and sacrament with special attention to the Roman Catholic sacraments of baptism and Eucharist; historical overview of liturgical practices, texts, and theology from Jewish and scriptural origins to the 20th-century reforms of the Second Vatican Council; basic principles of liturgical and sacramental theology; and groundwork for interpreting liturgical documents and ritual texts from pastoral practice, multi/inter-cultural concerns, and ecumenical considerations. (Formerly “Worship and Sacraments”).

3 credits | ROC and Online

Every other Monday, 6:00 – 9:15pm EDT, 8/28, 9/11, 9/25, 10/9, 10/23, 11/6, 11/20, 12/11

C302: Christology and Trinitarian Theology (Daniel Drain, Ph.D. [cand.])

This course treats the theology of the person and mission of Jesus Christ. While providing the biblical foundation for an understanding of Christ, the course is primarily directed to studying Christology from a historical and dogmatic perspective. The class aims to show the mutual illumination and inseparability of anthropology and Christology, as well the implications therein for Trinitarian theology, reflecting in depth on the well known statement of Gaudium et Spes 22: “(…) Only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light (…) Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” The course will thereby introduce students to an understanding of the One Triune God as a communion of persons, unfolding the historical and dogmatic dimensions of Trinitarian theology.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Thursdays, 6:00 9:00pm EDT, 9/7, 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, 11/30, 12/14

CP601: Introduction to Catholic Philosophy (Marco Stango, Ph.D.)

This course centers the student upon the discipline of philosophy as it has been developed and practiced within the Catholic intellectual tradition. The methods particular to philosophical investigation will be examined as the philosopher seeks to articulate the nature of wisdom, how it can be attained, and especially incorporated into the entirety of one’s life. The student will understand the differences between philosophy, the sciences, and theology, as well as their respective complementarities, with a focus upon the supportive and illuminative roles that philosophy plays in theological education.

3 credits | Online

Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00pm EDT, 9/7, 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7

CP614: Epistemology (Stephen Loughlin, Ph.D.)

This course will consider the nature of knowledge, whether the human mind can know things as they really are, the twofold nature of human cognition (normative and empirical/rational and sensual), the relationship between the human person’s empirical and normative knowledge, the different kinds of knowing as well as their degrees, the different approaches to truth, belief, and error, and the metaphysical underpinnings of different approaches to the aforementioned concerns.

3 credits | ROC and Online
Tuesdays, 6:00 9:00pm EDT, 8/29, 9/5, 9/12, 9/17, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5

CP631: Metaphysics (Marco Stango, Ph.D.)

This course examines the basic concerns and principles that undergird the whole of reality and guide the way by which we think of the ultimate things to which the mind can aspire: existence, essence, the categories of being, the transcendentals, the analogy of being, and the existence and creative activity of God. This course acts as a capstone study to the whole of philosophy and is preferably engaged upon at the end of one’s certificate/degree studies.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00pm EDT, 8/31, 9/14, 9/28, 10/12, 10/26, 11/9, 12/7

D214: Spiritual Formation (Lisa Lickona, S.T.L.)

This course seeks to approach the world of prayer in its unity with lived experience. Beginning with a consideration of the witness of the Son of God who “teaches us how to pray” in and through His relationship to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, we will then move to consider the lives of various saints, including Ignatius of Antioch, Anthony of the Desert, Benedict of Nursia, Bernard of Clairvaux, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis de Sales, Therese of Lisieux, Charles de Foucauld, Teresa of Calcutta, and Tagashi Nagai. The attention to each figure will include both an awareness of their place in the history of Catholic spirituality and a consideration of their contribution to the life of prayer. Asynchronous lectures will focus on particular topics in the “practicum” of prayer, including spiritual direction, prayer to Mary, lectio divina, and Ignatian meditation/contemplation.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Wednesdays, 6:00 9:00pm EDT, 9/6, 9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/21 (Tuesday), 12/6

D218: Issues in Pastoral Care (Jessica Cole, D.Min.)

This course examines a variety of issues surrounding pastoral care and ministry in the parish. We will examine the theology of pastoral ministry, as well as explore stages of faith development, ministering to Gen Z, family ministry, Eucharistic affiliation, and the current USCCB Strategic Initiatives. (Formerly: Issues in Pastoral Ministry).

3 credits | Online

Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00pm EDT, 9/6, 9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/29, 12/13

W500: Academic Research and Writing (Lisa Lickona, S.T.L.)

This course is intended for students who have never written or have been long removed from the task of writing a research paper. It will focus on research methods and techniques with an emphasis on: selecting a topic, identifying sources, as well as writing and grammar principles and style. Students will be afforded guidance and suggestions on how to compose a research document written on a scholarly level. Students will also receive helpful information for constructing theological questions and arguments.

1 credit | ROC and Online

Mondays, 6:00 – 8:00pm EDT, 9/18, 9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/16

Summer 2023 Courses

May 15th - June 30th (Session I) | July 5th - August 23rd (Session II)

Application deadline for Session I is April 28th; application deadline for Session II is June 23rd.

Add/drop deadlines are June 3rd [Session I] and July 14th [Session II].

ALB (Albany Campus) | BUF (Buffalo Campus) | ROC (Rochester Campus)

Session II

A/D325: My Beloved is Mine, and I am My Beloved's: Mystical Commentary on the Song of Songs (Matthew Kuhner, Ph.D. and Lisa Lickona, S.T.L.)

The Song of Songs has for millennia been the source of mystical reflection. As an allegory, it has illumined Israel’s relationship to God, the Church’s relationship to Christ, and the individual believer’s growth in faith, hope, and love in divine encounter. In this course, we will examine the poetics and mystical commentary of the Song with a special focus on the commentaries of Origen, Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00pm EDT, July 11th, July 18th, July 25th, August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, August 22nd

B/C418: Co-worker in the Truth: The Legacy and Thought of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (All Full-Time Faculty)

In the homily for his inauguration to the See of Peter on April 24th, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI stated the following: "My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history." To listen to and be guided by the Lord was the sustaining foundation not only of his pontificate, but of the entire thought and legacy of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Guided by his papal motto, Cooperatores in Veritatis (Coworkers in the Truth), this course aims to provide a thematic and historical overview of several essential themes in Ratzinger/Benedict's thought, including but not limited to: prayer and love, philosophy and revelation, creation, eschatology and hope, history, the nature of theology, scriptural exegesis, Christology, liturgy, and ecclesiology. Taught by the entire full-time faculty, the course will examine and unfold these themes according to the expertise of each and with deep appreciation of the impact that Ratzinger/Benedict has had upon their own formation.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Wednesdays, 6:00 -9:00pm EDT, July 5th, July 12th, July 19th, July 26th, August 2nd, August 9th, August 16th, August 23rd

C/D383: Atheism as a Pastoral Problem: Unbelief, Evil, and the Theology of the Atonement (Daniel Drain, Ph.D. [cand.])

In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, atheism is named as one of the chief problems of our age and as a specifically pastoral problem. This course aims to understand the multifaceted phenomenon of atheism in all its depth and to respond with the fullness of the Church’s vision of God, particularly in terms of Atonement in Christ. In Part One of the course, we will begin with an exploration of key figures of the 19th and 20th centuries, the so-called “masters of suspicion” (Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Freud) and will articulate precisely what is novel about modern atheism. In Part Two, we will turn to the foundational text of Judeo-Christian monotheism, the Book of Genesis. There, we will unfold the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo as a response to the surrounding pagan mythologies and will therefore seek to situate nascent Jewish faith as a more sophisticated belief system. Part Three will turn to the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky to pose once again the question of unbelief, but from the perspective of Christianity. Part Four will explore a theology of Atonement, seeking to understand the mystery of God the Father and His role in the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s redemption. Overall, the course aims to present the mystery of Christ’s redemption as the fundamental and singularly comprehensive response to the phenomenon of unbelief and the problem of evil.

3 credits | ROC and Online

Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00pm EDT, July 11th, July 18th, July 25th, August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, August 22nd

CP621: Philosophy of Nature (Erik van Versendaal, Ph.D.)

This course offers an examination of the ancient and medieval accounts of the natural world, specifically their understanding of nature, change, space, time, purpose, chance, and the principles upon which they rest. This is perhaps the most fundamental of all philosophy courses and, together with logic, establishes the vocabulary basic to the whole of the Catholic philosophical tradition.

3 credits | Online

Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00pm EDT, July 6th, July 13th, July 20th, July 27th, August 3rd, August 10th, August 17th