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Are You Ready to Get "Certified"?

by Tamra Fromm

Two new certificates expand opportunities to study and teach theology, spread the faith.

This past fall, the Institute for Ministry (IFM) and the Archdiocese of Detroit's Office for Evangelization and Catechesis collaborated towards the purpose of offering an academic program that would serve as a component of the requirements for catechists and lay ecclesial ministers to achieve archdiocesan certification. This collaboration led to the creation of the new Certificate in Catholic Theology (CCT).

The CCT consists of six undergraduate courses (thirteen credit-hours) in theology, Sacred Scripture, liturgy and sacraments, ecclesiology, spirituality, and moral theology. Lay ecclesial ministers seeking to earn archdiocesan certification can earn the entire theological portion of their professional, or first, level of certification through completing the CCT.

Certificate in Catholic Theology

Catechists who wish to become certified as catechists 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 that are required for catechist certification. Topic sessions are offered at the seminary in June and during the year at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Students who complete the six courses also earn academic credit and 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.

The Certificate in Catholic Theology/Certificado en Teolog_a Cath_lica also is offered completely in Spanish for those who minister in the growing number of parish communities with Hispanic Catholics. Currently, twenty-six students are enrolled in the program with seventeen of these planning to graduate with the certificate this spring.

Creative Collaboration

Sean Calvin, associate director for ministerial certification for the archdiocese, is enthused about this new collaborative program.

As a graduate of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, I am thrilled to be working so closely with the great people in the Institute for Ministry. Together, we are working toward a common goal of forming people to serve in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.

As we move forward, Sean says, I am looking forward to the creative and innovative ways in which we can continue to offer the best programs and formation to our lay ministers, catechists, Catholic school religion teachers, and others.

Sacred Heart's rector, Msgr. Todd Lajiness, and Dr. Janet Diaz, dean of the Institute for Ministry, echo this excitement about the joint efforts between the seminary and the archdiocese toward providing courses for catechetical and ministerial certification. Indeed, collaborative work continues between the seminary, the archdiocesan Office for Catholic Schools, and a local Catholic university for a similar program geared for those who wish to be certified to teach theology in a Catholic high school.

Certificate in the New Evangelization

The new Post-Graduate Certificate in the New Evangelization is designed for those students who have already earned a master-level degree and who wish to do substantial study in the New Evangelization without enrolling in the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL). The certificate is one way that Sacred Heart fulfills its primary goal of Preparing Heralds for the New Evangelization. Both priests and lay students can apply for this certificate.

The Post-Graduate Certificate consists of three required courses (nine credits total): Theology of the New Evangelization, Evangelization and Spirituality, and Models of Evangelization. In these courses, students discover the Church's understanding of evangelization through papal encyclicals such as Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World), Novo Millennio Inuente (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), and Redemptoris Missio (On the Permanent Validity of the Church's Missionary Mandate). They learn how the Holy Spirit propels all Christians into the world and animates them to fulfill Christ's mission to bring the Good News to the whole world.

Docility to the Holy Spirit through prayer keeps a disciple both sensitive and attentive to the direction and the methods that will best draw others to Christ. Students are exposed to a variety of parish programs and apostolates, administered by both clergy and laity, as effective models of evangelization.

Within the certificate, students may choose one licentiate-level elective coursein Sacred Scripture, moral theology, and on another topic in the student's level of interestto round out their understanding and application of the new evangelization.

Continued Preparation

This new program is particularly appealing for those students, clergy and lay, who were not able to take courses in the new evangelization within their previous academic program of studies, whether because of the program's curriculum, time factors, or even the availability of classes in this subject area.

Deacon Luis Flores, who serves at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, is currently studying toward this new certificate. Deacon Flores earlier had earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), followed by a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil), and a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB) at Sacred Heart through the Angelicum. However, he enrolled in the program because he wanted to have a greater awareness of the Church's teaching on the new evangelization so he could better reach those in his own parish community.

Want to Learn More?

Are you interested in either of these two new programs, or any of the other undergraduate or graduate degrees offered at the seminary? Contact the Office of Admissions at 313-883-8769 or

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.