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Thirty-six Priests Begin Summer STL Studies

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

Sacred Heart's innovative Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) is a pastorally-focused degree for priests concentrating on the New Evangelization. Students learn to analyze contemporary social issues from a Catholic perspective and acquire real-world skills for reaching a culture that is becoming increasingly indifferent.

The STL program is the first of its kind offered in a blended format. It allows priests from across the world to earn this pontifical post-graduate degree by taking most of the courses online. They satisfy the remaining coursework through a five-week summer residency term for four summers.

Thirty-six STL priest-students have just arrived at the seminary and begun studies for the 2016 summer session, which started on July 11 and ends on August 12. That total includes priests (cohort one) who began their blended format STL studies three years agothe inaugural year of the blended formatalong with those who began last year (cohort two), and those who have enrolled just this year and are attending their first summer session (cohort three).

The thirty-six men come to the seminary from twenty-one U.S. dioceses, six international dioceses, and seven religious communities. They comprise the largest cohort of STL students of any Catholic university outside of Rome.

With such a great representation from so many different places, says Fr. Timothy Laboe, Sacred Heart's dean of studies, the intellectual dialogue in and out of the classrooms should be even more stimulating and enriching.

The summer term is academically intensethe men take four courses in two mini-sessions of two-and-one-half weeks each, for a total of five weeks of study. They will be challengedyet intellectually invigoratedduring the 2016 summer term by plunging into the coursework of Models of Evangelization: Historical and Contemporary; Theological Anthropology; Virtue Ethics and the New Evangelization; the Letters of St. Paul and the New Evangelization; and Theology of the Cross.

Sacred Heart's rector, Msgr. Todd Lajiness, calls the STL educational experience one-of-a-kind, as it combines deep theological and spiritual exploration together with practical application. The experience of students has already shown, he says, that the program nourishes the men intellectually and spiritually and so enhances the witness and leadership they provide when the return to their parishes.

The unique strength of our program, says the rector, is that priests encounter some of the best scholarship in the world regarding the New Evangelization and also interact personally with practitioners who have been and are currently in the field.' The faculty teaching this summer include Dr. Ralph Martin, Dr. Michael McCallion, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Dr. Mark Latkovic, and Fr. John McDermott, SJ.

At the same time, the summer session is an occasion of rewarding collegiality among fellow priest-students. They share meals together, celebrate Mass together, support each other in their studies, and even enjoy a barbecue as a group with Archbishop Allen Vigneron at his residence. Many of the men find time to jump in a car to catch a Tigers baseball game or explore the cultural attractions of Detroit and the surrounding area.

To learn more about the blended-format STL in the New Evangelization, visit

MOSAIC Editorial Team

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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.