Course Offerings


Course Catalog

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Note that all courses can be accessed online for those who are out of state and/or outside the Rochester or Albany areas. For details on our Distance Learning Program, click below.
Distance Learning & Online Education Program

Spring 2021 Courses

January 11th - April 29th (Note: our add/drop deadline is February 5th)

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

A202: Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures (Charles Hughes Huff, Ph.D.)

A202 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, A202 will also emphasize the theology of the Old Testament, with a special focus on the People of God, and will present spiritual readings of the Old Testament from the Church Fathers to present.

Every other Tuesday, 1/12-4/20, 6-9 pm EST | ROC & Online

B/C310: History and Practice of Catholic Social Thought (Sr. Nancy Hawkins, IHM, Ph.D.)

This course examines the development of Catholic Social Teaching from an historical and theological perspective. Students will become familiar with the numerous social documents of the Church, beginning with Rerum Novarum. The content and implications of these documents will be discussed and evaluated. The life and work of Dorothy Day and other key figures in the area of Catholic social teaching will be offered as examples of how we can integrate social teaching in our ministries and spirituality.

Every other Thursday, 1/14-4/22, 6-9:30 pm EST | ROC & Online

B/C462: Twentieth-Century Catholic Literary Imagination (Heather Hughes Huff, M.A.)

Some of the best fiction of the 20th century was written by Catholic authors. In this course we will explore the work of writers like Flannery O'Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Muriel Spark, focusing on the ways faith influenced their portrayal of life in the modern era. We will explore themes of virtue and vice, the startling choice of belief in the bloodiest century in history, and the humor, hope, and challenge these works still bring to contemporary readers.

Wednesdays, 1/13-4/28, 6-9 pm EST | ROC & Online

B/D390: Hellscapes: Geographies of Punishment, Prayer, Penance, and Purgatory (Charles Hughes Huff, Ph.D.)

In this course, we will investigate the theological maps people use to understand various forms of suffering. We will begin in Sacred Scripture by looking at punishments that remove people from places, then examine the shady netherworld in the biblical Lament tradition, and then study the early images of Hell as an after-worldly place of punishment. We will see how these images of hell develop alongside practices of penance and prayer in Christianity, including the role of hell in Christ’s descent and ascent, the theology of Purgatory, Dante’s mapping out the afterlife by combining schemes from Virgil and Thomas Aquinas, and the gnostic contrast in the Mandaic afterworld journey in Diwan Abatur. The course will end with modern post-apocalyptic depictions of punishment, corruption, cities, disasters, and lament using film, literature, and music, including Cormac McCarthy’s On the Road, the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man, and Pope Francis’ pandemic-era Urbi et Orbi. Throughout the course, we will build a theology of suffering, with special attention to the role of punishment, in light of the development of Sacred Tradition.

Mondays, 1/11-4/26, 6-9 pm EST | ROC & Online

B301: The Gift of Meaning: The History of the Church (Anthony Coleman, Ph.D.)

All those in history who have really done anything with the future have had their eyes fixed upon the past” (G.K. Chesterton). This course will provide a survey of Church history, tracking the Church of God across time and space from Pentecost to our present day. The course content will privilege a theological approach to history: it will investigate the historical unfolding of the Church’s doctrines, charisms, and spiritualities, and will assess the temporal development of the institutional Church. The investigations undertaken will be accompanied by a determined effort to learn from history for the sake of the present.

Every other Thursday, 1/21-4/29, 6-9 pm EST | ALB & Online

C/D398: Catechesis and the New Evangelization: Content, Method, and Challenges (Matthew Kuhner, Ph.D.)

In Catechesi Tradende, Pope St. John Paul II contends that, “the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ…” (§5). Taking this statement as a point of departure, this course explores the nature, content, and method of catechesis. It does so in the context of the call for a New Evangelization, which proposes a renewed emphasis on the Church’s missionary nature and the mission-character of discipleship itself. After addressing the history of catechesis and its sources in Scripture and Tradition, the course will focus upon the Church’s penetrating reflection on catechesis in the 20th and 21st centuries. Attention will be given to present-day challenges, as well as recent catechetical models which attempt to address these challenges. The general aim of the course is to answer two fundamental questions: (1) “what is catechesis?” and (2) “how can catechesis bear fruit in our age?”

Every other Wednesday, 1/13-4/21, 6:30-9:30 pm EST | ROC & Online

C215: Orientation to Theological Studies (Nancy Hawkins, IHM, Ph.D.)

This course orients students to the various aspects of Catholic theological studies and the way Catholic theology functions in the faith community. Key issues such as faith, revelation, Scripture, tradition, the magisterium, and theological method are explored with an eye to how they are integrated into the entire discipline of theology. The course aims at helping to develop a framework in which to understand how one engages in theological reflection. Specific theological terms will be defined and discussed. This course will use various methods to assist students in the process of learning: lecture, class discussions, group work, use of technology and media, and oral presentations.

Every other Tuesday, 1/19-4/27, 6-9:30 pm EST | ROC & Online

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 role that philosophy plays in theological education.

Thursdays, 1/14-4/29, 6-9 pm EST | ALB & Online

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.

Wednesdays, 1/13-4/28, 6-9 pm EST | ALB & Online

D207: Canon Law and Ministerial Leadership (Rev. Peter Mottola, J.C.L.)

An introduction to Canon Law, especially as applicable to parish ministry. A particular focus will be given to the canon law of marriage. In addition to a brief summary of the history and development of Canon Law, and a brief survey of the structure of the Roman Curia, an overview will be given according to the organization of the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
I. General Norms (canons 1–203)
II. The People of God (canons 204–755)
III. The Teaching Function of the Church (canons 756–833)
IV. The Sanctifying Function of the Church (canons 834–1258)
V. The Temporal Goods of the Church (canons 1259–1310)
VI. Sanctions in the Church (canons 1311–1399)
VII. Processes (1400–1752)

The goal of this course is give students an exposure to the basic concepts of canon law and canonical thought, especially as these principles are frequently encountered in parish ministry, and most importantly, an understanding of how it is that the salvation of souls is the supreme law in the Church.

Every other Thursday, 1/21-4/29, 6-9 pm EST | ROC & Online

Fall 2020 Courses

August 20th - December 10th (Note: our add/drop deadline is September 18th)

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

C217: Moral and Social Teachings (Charles Hughes Huff, Ph.D.)

Introduction to the fields of moral theology and Catholic Social Thought: their purpose in the life of the Church; their methods, their problems. The content of the course is a thorough treatment of methodological issues rather than analysis of specific moral or social dilemmas, though specific issues and cases are used for purposes of illustration and assisting students in developing skills of application to practical situations. Among the topics to be addressed: sin and conversion, moral growth and development, sources of moral wisdom, methods of moral decision making, conscience and discernment, and the development of Catholic Social Thought.

Every other Monday, 8/31-12/7, 6-9pm EST | ROC & Online

C226: Worship and Sacraments (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 Vatican II reforms; 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.

Every other Monday, 8/24-11/30, 6-10 pm EST | ROC & Online

C228: Theology of Church and Ministry (Matthew Kuhner, Ph.D.)

Historical and theological overview of the Christian understanding of church and ministry, with the Second Vatican Council (especially Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes) as a primary point of reference. While the western and Roman Catholic context is central to the presentation, global and ecumenical considerations characterize the treatment of such topics as diversity in the early church(es)’s understanding of its mission, the development of ecclesial structures within their historical and cultural contexts, centralization to the papacy and the magisterium, the church as local/universal, the priesthood of the faithful, ecumenical dialogue, and the origin, function, and evolution of ordained and lay ministries.

Every other Wednesday, 9/2-12/9, 6:30-9:30pm EST | ROC & Online

C/D 397 - The Whole Breadth of Reason: Faith, Science, and Technology (Apolonio Latar, STL)

Are faith and science compatible? What is the appropriate way to respond to the exponential growth of technology in our time? This course is designed to provide an understanding of science and technology within the intelligence of faith. Students will learn how having a Christian philosophical foundation allows for a truer vision of science and technology in contrast to contemporary naturalistic worldviews. It will offer a framework for students to think about and relate to modern technologies and contemporary issues, in order to have “the courage to engage the whole breadth of reason” (Pope Benedict XVI, “The Regensburg Address”). Topics will include, but are not limited to: scientism, the nature of science, contemporary medicine, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence.

Tuesdays, 8/25-12/8, 6-8pm EST | Online

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, Graham Greene, and films by Karen Blixen and Xavier Beauvois will be explored.

Every other Thursday, 8/27-12/10, 6:30-9:30pm EST | BUF & Online

CP613: History of Philosophy: Modern and Contemporary (Matthew Pietropaoli, Ph.D.)

With regard to the modern era, this course will survey the main philosophers of the rationalist, empiricist, and Kantian traditions, from Descartes through the nineteenth century. This will introduce the student to the authors of the 19th and 20th century studied in the contemporary era who respond to the major themes/positions of the modern era. It is with regard to the latter that this course explores the two major schools of philosophy in the contemporary era, namely analytic philosophy, on the one hand, and phenomenology and existentialism, on the other.

Tuesdays, 8/25-12/8, 6-9pm EST | Online

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.

Tuesdays, 8/25 - 12/8, 2-5pm EST | ALB & Online

CT672: Sacred Scripture (Charles Hughes Huff, Ph.D.)

This course introduces the pre-seminarian to the study of the Sacred Scriptures and prepares the student to study the Scriptures in greater depth in the seminary. The key themes of this work will be presented, as well as those matters that touch upon Scriptures’ origin, structure, purpose, authorship, inspiration, its historical transmission, and varied translations.

Tuesdays 6-9pm EST, 8/25-12/8 | Online

D211: Discernment and Formation for Ministry (Nancy Hawkins, IHM, Ph.D.)

Within the Biblical tradition, God continually speaks to humanity, calling them to the holiness of life. Recognizing the lifelong development of Christian spiritual formation, this course guides the beginning student in the practice and art of spiritual discernment. Based on the great spiritual masters of the Catholic tradition, this course will help those attempting to discern how God calls and to what ministry within the baptized assembly one is called.

Every other Wednesday, 8/26-12/2, 6-9pm EST | BUF & Online

D214: Spiritual Formation (Nancy Hawkins, IHM, Ph.D.)

This course provides a broad introduction to the ways in which people appropriate the mystery of faith, the process entailed in that appropriation, and overview of the history of that process and the types of experience which have emerged in that history. The students can achieve reflective understanding of their own practice, develop it more consciously and be enabled to appreciate and assist others in this area of ministry.

Every other Thursday, 8/20-12/3, 6-9:30pm EST | BUF & Online

D217: Pastoral Care (Ian Buterbaugh, LCSW)

This course is designed as a beginning course in pastoral care and serves as an introduction to understanding its basic principles and methods. The course addresses the traditional and changing definitions of pastoral care and the various issues that have emerged. In the broadest sense, pastoral care includes liturgy, administration, catechesis, as well as visitation and counseling. This course will look at the varying roles for both clergy and laity, while especially focusing on interpersonal skills and effective communication skills, particularly empathy.

Tuesdays, 8/25 - 12/15, 6-8pm EST | ROC & Online