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New Certificate in Catholic Theology: Is It Right for You?

by Tamra Fromm

All academic credits count toward Sacred Heart's undergraduate degrees.

Last fall, Sacred Heart rolled out the new Certificate in Catholic Theology (CCT) program. The CCT consists of six undergraduate courses (thirteen credit hours) in theology, Sacred Scripture, liturgy and sacraments, ecclesiology, spirituality, and moral theology. Currently, thirty-eight students are enrolled in the CCT program for the Fall 2014 semester.

All courses in the CCT program are available at the main seminary campus during three semesters (Fall, Winter, Spring). In addition, the complete program is also available at two satellite locations: Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth and St. John the Baptist in Ypsilanti. One course is held each semester at the parish sites. Thus, a student could finish the complete certificate in as little as two years.

So, how do you know if this program is right for you?

First of all, do you want to enrich your understanding of the Catholic faith? Students are exposed to the basics of theology including the Nicene Creed, how to study and use Scripture in their daily life, the richness of the liturgy, and the history of the sacraments. They are introduced to the doctrinal foundations of the Church and its relationship with non-Catholics and non-Christians, learn how to integrate prayer and other devotions into their spiritual life, and discover the basis for making moral decisions and growing in virtue.

Secondly, are you seeking lay ecclesial minister certification through the Archdiocese of Detroit? The CCT fulfills the theological education component of lay ministry certification. Also, catechists who wish to become certified can complete the six courses for the CCT and thereby earn credit for sixteen of the twenty-seven foundational topics in theology and practical application of ministry which are required for catechist certification.

Thirdly, as the program is available in both English and Spanish languages, Hispanic catechists, youth ministers, and others who minister in the Hispanic community are now able to acquire an initial credential in theology. Since the inception of the Spanish language courses three years ago, seventeen Hispanic Catholics have graduated with the CCT.

Finally, are you a high school student who wishes to get a head start on earning college credit? Sacred Heart allows qualified students who have finished their junior year to enter as dual-enrolled students. Courses are also open to students under the age of eighteen who have already earned their high school diploma or GED. Courses may transfer to community colleges or universities as general education credit.

All academic credits earned in courses within the CCT count toward Sacred Heart's undergraduate degrees. Therefore, students who complete the six courses can use the CCT as a platform for future studies in another academic program, such as the Basic Diploma in Catholic Theology, an Associate of Arts in Ministry, Bachelor of Arts (AB) in Pastoral Theology or Philosophy, or even toward a portion of the pre-requisite courses required for admission to a master-level degree.

Beginning in the Fall 2015 semester, Sacred Heart plans to begin to offer the CCT program completely online. Using a Moodle platform, this new educational delivery method will enable more students from the Archdiocese of Detroit and beyond to complete the program from the convenience of their home or workplace.

Does the Certificate in Catholic Theology seem like a program for you? Call 313-883-8520 or email admissions@shms.edu to have all of your questions answered.

Tamra Fromm

Tamra Fromm is the Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.