Friday, December 20, 2013

From Evangelii Gaudium, for all pastoral ministers (current and future!)

76. I feel tremendous gratitude to all those who are committed to working in and for the Church. Here I do not wish to discuss at length the activities of the different pastoral workers, from bishops down to those who provide the most humble and hidden services. Rather, I would like to reflect on the challenges that all of them must face in the context of our current globalized culture. But in justice, I must say first that the contribution of the Church in today’s world is enormous. The pain and the shame we feel at the sins of some members of the Church, and at our own, must never make us forget how many Christians are giving their lives in love. They help so many people to be healed or to die in peace in makeshift hospitals. They are present to those enslaved by different addictions in the poorest places on earth. They devote themselves to the education of children and young people. They take care of the elderly who have been forgotten by everyone else. They look for ways to communicate values in hostile environments. They are dedicated in many other ways to showing an immense love for humanity inspired by the God who became man. I am grateful for the beautiful example given to me by so many Christians who joyfully sacrifice their lives and their time. This witness comforts and sustains me in my own effort to overcome selfishness and to give more fully of myself. 

--Pope Francis

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The End of Semester Cookie Hour!

...also known as an advent party, Christmas party, end of year party, and study break.

All friends of theology invited!

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
The Theology Suite (SM 223)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Alums or December grads: Youth Ministry job listing

One of our alums, Janelle K, is moving on from St. Stephen's in Anoka, MN.  They are looking for a youth ministry coordinator.  More details at the link here.

Advent resources

It barely feels like it, but indeed, it is almost advent.  Advent is very hard to observe when you have exams and research papers competing for your time.  But there are some good resources out there--bookmark these and use them as you wish.

USCCB: All things advent 2013, including some in Spanish

Creighton University's Online Ministries: Advent prayers, essays, videos, and an audio retreat

Ignatian Spirituality: Advent resources of all types, including podcasts and devotional reading

The Christian Brothers are on it as well: John Baptiste de la Salle's meditations on advent

Prepare ye the way of the Lord (a little ahead)!

Two things to remember this time of year


Monday, October 21, 2013

Want to present your research?

This is a great opportunity to present research done in Theology or any of your other courses...and this sort of thing looks especially good if you are applying to graduate schools. If you are interested, the deadline for registering and sending in an abstract for approval is Friday, Oct 25. Anyone in the department would be happy to talk to you about this conference and research papers that could be appropriate, but there is also a lot of information at the link below. Consider it!

 (This was the letter sent to faculty:)

You and your students are encouraged to register by this Friday, October 25 for this year’s Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium. The symposium takes place on Viterbo University’s campus in La Crosse, WI on Friday, November 8, 2013.  This symposium showcases the research and creative works of over 200 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines and institutions, and all interested students and faculty on your campus are encouraged to participate.

There is no cost to participate, though all attendees and presenters MUST register via the link below.  We hope that you will encourage the following groups to participate:
·         students who have completed research/creative works on or off-campus or as part of a course,
·         students who may be interested in completing research projects in the future (presenting is not a prerequisite for attendance), and/or
·         colleagues at your institution who you think might be interested in attending.

The symposium will run from 11am to 5pm (check-in occurs from 10-11am) and includes a keynote address; lunch (provided); and oral, poster, and creative works presentations by students from the tri-state area.  To ensure that all are able to participate, please remind students that there is no fee for presenting or attending.

As was the case last year, there is a single deadline and online form for both registration and abstract submission.
The online registration and abstract submission form as well as additional information about the event can be found online at

The keynote speaker for this year’s symposium will be Dr. Tim Kasser.  Tim Kasser, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.  He has written numerous scientific articles and book chapters on materialism, values, ecological sustainability, and quality of life, among other topics.  He is also the author of The High Price of Materialism (MIT Press, 2002) and Lucy in the Mind of Lennon (Oxford University Press, 2013).  Tim works extensively with a variety of activist and civil society organizations that protect children from commercialization, promote ecological sustainability, and encourage a more “inwardly rich” lifestyle than what is offered by consumerism.

If you have any questions, please email us at  Thank you in advance for encouraging your students and colleagues to attend, and I look forward to seeing you in November!

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Non-Profit Career Fair: Oct 28, Minneapolis

Many church-affiliated institutions are non-profit: charities, counseling centers, hospitals. If you are interested in working in that field, look at the following career fair in Minneapolis. Registration is due Oct 23, and more info may be found at Career Services.

Inline image 1

Last weekend for the Saint John's Bible and Sacred Waters exhibits at MMAM


If you haven't seen it yourself, try to find your way there this weekend!  Exhibits close Oct 20. Student cost: $3 (with student ID).

Want information about Theology (and other) majors?

Save the date: October 22, 4-6pm, Toner Center! Inline image 1

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Welcome! How to get connected

If you are new, please take this first step and get connected to us!

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

And PLEASE send your email to Dr Windley-Daoust to get on the weekly email list of "things going on"--on campus, nearby, job openings, internship openings, retreat possibilities, etc.

Feel free to stay on this page and explore a while.  We don't have a candy dish like the Theology Suite, but we have lots of information.

Lecture: "Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas Aquinas on the Image of God in the Communion of Persons"

Presented by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Minor:

Dr. Kevin Rickert
"Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas Aquinas on the Image of God in the Communion of Persons"
Tuesday, October 8; 7:30pm
President's Room

All are welcome, refreshments provided.

Are you a first year or transfer student? Want to learn more about Theology majors and minors?

Ok, no name tag required.

 Today, Oct 3
Saint Mary's 222
3:10pm (two sessions back to back)

We'll be happy to meet you and talk about all the possibilities!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Study Abroad Fair: Sept 26 11am-2pm

Study Abroad Fair

September 26, 2013

 11-2 in the Toner President's Room

Last Call: The Digital Church Conference, Oct 4th

Three of the best known practitioners of Catholicism meets social media for the New Evangelization are coming to Rochester for a great day of brainstorming, information, and inspiration.  If you are considering ministry, being aware of the creativity and potential of this outreach is a wonderful thing to include on your resume.

Lunch is included in the conference and we're going out to eat afterward--with (I am pretty sure) a handful of recent PYM and Theo alums!

Anyone interested in attending the Digital Church conference in Rochester on Oct 4th needs to contact Dr WD asap (end of this week, preferably) so we can arrange transportation.  You need to be registered ahead.  Registration for a select number of SMU students is $10.  Please see Dr WD for relevant registration codes.

More on the conference here.

Major and Career Fairs

Oct 2: Career Fair (at Winona State but we co-sponsor the event and run buses there and back).  Often non-profit organizations are represented at this fair, so if you want to talk to some employers that are often working with churches or sponsored by churches--but are not parishes--consider attending!  You do not need to be a senior to do this, in fact, it is a good idea to see what it is about as a sophomore or junior.  Occasionally there is information on internships there as well.

(Interested in looking at job listings: see Catholic Jobs)

Oct 3: What's my major?  Department representatives are available for discussion late afternoon Oct 3, including us!  Come and ask questions about the majors and minors, what alums do with them, possible double majors, etc.  More information to come!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"A Conversation With Sarah Hart": Sunday, Sept 29, 11:45am

This year's Spirituality for the Vineyard colloquium is a Q and A with Catholic songwriter and musician Sarah Hart. Come with your questions on songwriting, life, and ministry. We plan to have a fun hour, beginning at 11:45am in the President's Room. Bring your brunch from the Caf upstairs and bring your family (since it is family weekend) if you wish!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"10 Ways To Revitalize The Catholic Church"

Definitely worth a read: full article from the Washington Post here.

(People interested in lay ministry may be especially intrigued by #1 and #3.)

What do you think?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cross/Purpose Art Exhibit at Lillian Hogan Art Gallery (Toner Center)

Christ in the Clock, Marc Chagall
This is an amazing exhibit of modern artwork that interprets the cross of Christ at the Hogan gallery until Sept 30.  Of course, it is free: please go see it--the exhibit even includes a work by Marc Chagall, one of the foremost painters of the 20th century.

A great deal more about it here.  This traveling exhibit is sponsored by CIVA, Christians in the Visual Arts.

Sept 29th: Sarah Hart, Vineyard Colloquium presenter

Save the date!

Sunday, September 29th, late morning. (where and precisely when, we're working on it!)

Sarah Hart, Catholic songwriter, performer, and Grammy winner, is our 2013-4 Vineyard colloquium presenter.

A list of her extensive discography may be found here.

Religious Vocations Open House

This Monday, September 9th, 7:30pm, there will be a religious vocations open house at the Christian Brothers' residence.  Learn more about what is involved in discerning to enter a religious order as a brother or sister, or discerning the priesthood.  Fr. Will Thompson, Brother Frank Carr, and Sr. Mary Hanah will be present, as well as the folks from Campus Ministry. 

Refreshments, discussion, and prayer--for more information, contact Campus Ministry.  No commitments--just simple curiosity required.

"Digital Church Conference" and dinner out: Oct 4th, sign up now!

Time to commit, folks!  Want to go?

Click to enlarge.

If you want to attend this conference on social media and evangelization...through negotiations with the Diocese and Campus Ministry, the cost of attending this conference only $10 (otherwise it could be $50!).  That includes lunch and snacks.

AND...we're still working on it...we are trying to get a "networking" dinner in Rochester immediately afterward.  As in, meet our Theology and Pastoral and Youth ministry alums attending the conference!  Dinner will be basic (burgers at a Rochester restaurant) but free to those attending.

We'll figure out transportation closer to the date--we may want those with cars to offer to carpool some folks.

The $10 registration fee is open to only the first ten students who want to attend, so please contact Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust asap if interested, and she will give you the correct codes to get the special rate online. 

More information on the conference here.  Do check your class schedules and clear this with your professors in any class if you want to attend.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lots going on in Campus Ministry

Office of Campus Ministry newsletter!  Check out the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept 5, SOUL India, Activities Fair on Aug 28th, and the Religious Vocations Open House, more....

Next Vineyard Colloquium: Sept 29

The next Vineyard Colloquium presenter is Sarah Hart!

Yes, as in the woman who has won a Grammy and is a well known songwriter and performer of Catholic contemporary and liturgical music. 

The event will be after morning mass on campus and with a brunch.  Do not go home that weekend! 

Details to come.

p.s. Go to her concert that evening on campus as well!

Have you written a paper on John Paul II?

2013 Pontifical John Paul II Institute Essay Contest

“In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear . . . Christ . . . in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself.” (Gaudium et spes, 22) Write an essay commenting on the meaning of this passage from Gaudium et spes for the relationship of “continuity and fulfillment” between faith and reason, referring also to following quotation from Fides et Ratio 43, concerning the synthesis of Thomas Aquinas: “Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfillment, so faith builds upon and perfects reason. Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God. Although he made much of the supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness; indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness. Faith is in a sense an 'exercise of thought'; and human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice.”
Make sure that your essay also addresses the following questions:  What does the revelation brought about in Christ say about reason’s thirst for Truth? In what sense is the exercise of reason required in order to grasp the answer that Christ’s revelation sheds on the mystery of man? Why is philosophy still needed after Christ’s revelation?

Winner: $2000 (!)

Due date: Oct 1, 2013

See the link above for more detail.

The Digital Church Conference, 10/4/13, and our alums?

A great opportunity here--three national leaders in the junction between Church ministry/education and social media are coming to Rochester through the "Digital Church Conference." 

We know you have classes Oct 4th, so consider this carefully, talk with professors, etc.  But if you want to attend...through negotiations with the Diocese and Campus Ministry, the cost of attending this conference only $10 (otherwise it could be $50!).  That includes lunch and snacks.

AND...we're still working on it...we are trying to get a "networking" dinner in Rochester immediately afterward.  As in, meet our Theology and Pastoral and Youth ministry alums attending the conference!  Dinner will be basic (as in pizza at a Rochester restaurant) but free to those attending.

We'll figure out transportation closer to the date--we may want those with cars to offer to carpool some folks.

The $10 registration is open to only the first ten students who want to attend, so please contact Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust asap if interested.  Register through us!

More information here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Friends of Theology: Ice cream social

It's a little teeny tiny bit hot outside. 

Want some ice cream?  With toppings?

Theology Department Ice Cream Social
Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 4pm
Saint Mary's 223 (Theology Suite)

For everyone is a "friend of Theology"--majors, minors, thinking about it, may be interested, related majors, Etc.

Go Thou And See A True Piece of Art: The St. John's Illuminated Bible

Genesis 1
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (in town) is hosting an exhibit of the St. John's Bible through October 20th.  If you have not seen this, the Bible is absolutely worth the visit.  It is the first illuminated Bible done in centuries, recovering the monastic tradition of the ancient and medieval Church.

Students (with an I.D.) can gain admission in the museum for free on Tuesdays.  Otherwise, admission is $3.  While you are there, you can see a National Geographic exhibit on "Sacred Waters"--photography on the role of water in various world religions.  It is a wonderful exhibit.

(Check out the Monet and Picasso while you are there!)

More here and in the Theology Suite.

Welcome back!

We hear the ice arena is cool.  The Suite is pretty tolerable too.  Come say hello and welcome back to SMU!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Want a magazine free for the academic year?

Free Commonweal Subscriptions 
for Students Are Now Available!

Once again this fall, we are looking for undergraduate and graduate students you feel would benefit from reading Commonweal. Thanks to the generous donors to our College Subscription Program, all you have to do is send us their names, and we'll do the rest. They'll receive a free subscription to Commonweal lasting the entire academic year, no strings attached.

You can tell any or all of your students to sign up individually at:

Consider yourself told!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Possible retreats this summer

Doesn't a retreat sound good right now?  You have options, lots of options....

At Broom Tree (Irene, SD, near Sioux Falls)
Ignatian 3 day silent retreats:
  • one for women: August 15-18
  • one for men: July 11-14
At Demontreville (Lake Elmo, MN).  Long weekend Ignatian silent retreats.  Demontreville serves men only.  Contact them for available dates this summer.

Pacem in Terris retreat hermitages are also in the Cities.

Arc Retreat Center is 50 miles north of the Twin Cities (this is an ecumenical retreat house).

A link to eight Catholic retreat centers in the Chicago area.

A link to multiple retreat houses in the Milwaukee area.

Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center has directed retreats throughout the summer in the North Woods of Wisconsin.

There are some summer retreats (hiking retreats, iconography, etc.) available at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in LaCrosse.

There are also Catholic retreat houses in Iowa, contact them for information.  Not to mention New Mellaray Abbey's guesthouse.

More a conference than a retreat, but Steubenville Youth Conferences are widely known--this summer, the closest one to Winona is in Rochester (Steubenville North).  

And this list in not exhaustive!


All these retreat houses are different in approach and expectations, so ask questions or talk to people who know some of the options (I know some of these places but not all).  Summer can be a great time to make an extended retreat, so do consider it!

Summer Events: Life Teen's Leadership Conference

June 24-18, 2013 at Benedictine College in Kansas. ($475 registration, which is good for room, board, and what you are getting for a week!)  Register now if interested, or call for more info (number at bottom of webpage).

From the website:

LTLC. Inspiring tomorrow’s Church leaders. Today.

At the heart of the Life Teen Leadership Conference is a generation of teens rising up and taking their faith seriously. They no longer want a “feel good” faith; they crave depth and substance. These teens are changing their parishes, their schools, and their families. Because we see this movement happening, our response is the Life Teen Leadership Conference.
We’ve crafted a unique take on leadership training. Yes, we believe in empowering this new generation with practical leadership skills. But not without first teaching them how to serve both God and His people. Plus we recognize that young leaders are only as strong as the community that surrounds them. That’s why we give youth ministers and priests ample time to be with their youth group. The combination of these three elements transforms teens into the leaders that God is calling them to be.

Last call for Catholics on Call

Young adult conference 2013, August 6-10; Chicago, IL

Applications must be postmarked May 6th!  They can also be done online.

Find the application and more information here.  Campus Ministry has offered to help with some of the expenses (which are very low to begin with), but you need to contact Dean Steven McGlaun asap.

Friday, April 26, 2013

End of year "friends of theology" gathering!

More information to come!

Wednesday, May 1
The Theology suite (SM 223d)
Snacks and relaxation
...and a toast to our graduating seniors!

The Works of Mercy in SMU graphic design

SMU senior and graphic arts major Caroline Stringer has crafted a number of digital art pieces based on the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy.  They are being shown in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries on the Winona campus as part of the senior art show.  I encourage you to go see these art pieces in person--you may even consider buying one!  Her email may be found here, and her website here (but not live until May 3, 2013).

"The Spiritual Works of Mercy."  It is even more impressive close up; there is a lot of detail in this.

This is a photo mosaic of a number of individual stand alone pieces, most representing the corporal works of mercy in Matthew 25.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Celebration of Scholarship: Theology presentations

April 12, 2013.  See you there!

Saint Mary’s Hall Room 202

1. Brune, Lorelle. “Solidarity in the Social Theology of Pope John Paul II”
Project focuses on the development of solidarity as a principle in Catholic social thought, specifically through the theology of Pope John Paul II.

2. Pysh, Matthew. “Deacons and Sacraments”
Presentation discusses the role of deacons in the Early Church, Vatican II, and new theologies forming for deacons today, especially in terms of sacraments.

Saint Mary’s Hall Room 202

1. McNamara, Catherine. “The Historical Development and Function of a Roman Catholic Cardinal”
Paper focuses on how the role of Cardinal developed through time and addresses the importance of the Cardinal in the hierarchy within the institutional structure of the Church.

2. Boris, Michelle. “Sacred Secrets: The Seal of Confession in Ecclesial and Civil Law"
A theological exploration of ecclesial and civil law jurisprudence pertaining to the sacramental seal of Confession in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Also, one of our Theology minors is presenting in Philosophy:

Saint Mary’s Hall Room 134

1. Cooling, Hannah. “Freedom for the Human Person”
Argument: If man is working always for his betterment, found in objective good, then he will be more free the closer to objective perfection he gets.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Octave!

Christ Rescues Man from the Jaws of Death

And welcome back to SMU!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Cardinal Bergoglio thought of Street Theology: the work and vision of Catholic Charities

Remember to come to hear Bob Tereba's Vineyard colloquium at 12:15pm today (3/25) in the President's Room!

From the future Pope Francis' 2008 Passion Sunday homily:

Today, here in Buenos Aires, like in Jerusalem on that day, the street made way for Jesus. The street received Him properly. The crowd stood, begged for blessings, blessings for their families, blessings for their businesses, their houses, their autos…  Blessing, what does that [really] mean? [It means] that Jesus “speak well” of something, that He approach! That He enter families, hearts, homes, autos, businesses…Jesus out in the street, interacting with the crowd…There. His desire is, just as the gates of the city were opened to Him, the same is done with the doors to our hearts. Every Holy Week He asks the same thing: “Open your heart to Me. I’m not here to mortify you! I’m not here to boss you around! I’m not here to take anything from you…I’m here to give you everything. I want to make you happy.” That’s what He’s telling us. If we slam the doors to our hearts in His face, He suffers. Although He is used to it, He suffers. And we lose the opportunity to become happy.

We say that today the Church has spilled out into the street, to imitate that Palm Sunday, but also to affirm that today, in a special way and by extension, the place for Christ is out in the street. The Gospels tell us He would go to the temple, that He would go to the synagogue, but they also tell us he was on the roads, in the cities, in the streets. Today the place for Christ is the street; the place for the Christian is the street. The Lord wants us like Him: with an open heart, roaming the streets of Buenos Aires. He wants us walking the streets of Buenos Aires and carrying His message! Like Him, on the road and on the street. He doesn’t want us hoarding His word just for ourselves, locked inside our own hearts, our own house, or in the temple, instead that we spill His word on the street. He wants us walking out on the street.

More at

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Introducing Pope Francis

Habemus Papam!

Exciting times....A profile of our new Pope from Sandro Magister, who is seen as the preeminent Vatican reporter in Rome:

 ROME, March 13, 2013 - By electing as pope at the fourth scrutiny the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the conclave has made a move as surprising as it is brilliant.

Surprising for those - almost everyone - who had not noticed, during the preceding days, the effective appearance of his name in the conversations among the cardinals. His relatively advanced age, 76 years and three months, led him to be classified more among the great electors than among the possible elect.

In the conclave of 2005 the opposite had happened for him. Bergoglio was one of the most decisive supporters of the appointment of Joseph Ratzinger as pope. And instead he found himself voted for, against his own will, precisely by those who wanted to block the appointment of Benedict XVI.

The fact remains that both one and the other became pope. Bergoglio with the unprecedented name of Francis.

A name that reflects his humble life. Having become archbishop of Buenos Aires 1998, he left empty the sumptuous episcopal residence next to the cathedral. He went to live in an apartment a short distance away, together with another elderly bishop. In the evening he was the one who saw to the cooking. He rarely rode in cars, getting around by bus in the cassock of an ordinary priest. [...]
More here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Prayer for the Conclave...and the chimney-cam

From the USCCB:

Prayer for the Election of a New Pope

O God, eternal shepherd, who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

And finally, the new evangelization brings us some interesting developments, including...the Chimney cam:

"Street Theology: The Work and Vision of Catholic Charities"

The Vineyard Colloquium speaker for Spring 2013 is Robert Tereba, Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Winona.  

Robert Tereba has served as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona since January, 2000.  Prior to that, he worked for Catholic Charities in Springfield, Illinois for 17 years.  He served as Controller and later as Associate Director.  He has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois Champaign and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Illinois Springfield.  For one year he studied for the priesthood in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.

Robert and his wife, Delia, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in April of this year.  They met at Catholic Charities in Springfield where they both worked.  They have two teenage sons, Michael and Joseph.    

Robert brings 30 years experience of working with Catholic Charities, has enormous enthusiasm for the work, and we are pleased to have him as a Colloquium speaker.

"Street Theology: The Work and Vision of Catholic Charities"
Monday, March 25th
President's Room

Light lunch provided, but rsvp to Dr. Windley-Daoust ( ) or call x1995. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Save the date!

The Spring 2013 Vineyard Colloquium speaker is Robert Tereba, Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Winona.  If you ever thought (or never thought!) of ministry as occurring outside parish life, you need to be at this talk!

Monday, March 25th
Light lunch provided

More information to come.

Job posting: Full time in Faith formation/Youth ministry

Faith Formation/Youth Ministry work at St. Albert the Great Church in Minneapolis. More information in the Theology Suite. 

Website of the parish: .

The Vatican flipbook

The times, they are a-changin'.  An online flipbook tribute to the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, with links to his writings. 

If they had consulted me, though, I would have said "Drop the comic sans font.  Please."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Congrats "friend of Theology" and IHM seminarian Tim Smith for being a winner in the Kabara Elevator Pitch competition!

Summer Discernment Conference/Retreat. Perhaps for free?

One of the pieces encouraged in this program is participate in a discernment retreat.  This is one of your best options, right here: The Catholics on Call Summer Young Adult Conference 2013.  The dates are August 6-10, and it is in Chicago, at the Catholic Theological Union.  Participants rave about this experience and how it helps them think and pray through what God may be calling them to within the Church.  This is not just for people thinking about the priesthood and religious life (although that works too!).  And you get to meet young people from all over the country in the same boat.

If you are interested, talk to Dean of Campus Ministry Steven McGlaun about possible scholarship funding.  You may need to get yourself there, but the registration fee that covers room and board may be covered through OCM, assuming not everyone in the department decides to attend at once.

The application for the summer program is due May 6th, but they are taking applications now.  If you are interested, please don't delay.  And let us know you want to attend!

Much more here.

Want To Be Taken Seriously? Become A Better Writer.

image by -
Want To Be Taken Seriously?  Become A Better Writer.

From the article:

The number of poorly written emails, resumes and blog posts I come across each month is both staggering and saddening. Grammar is off. There are tons of misspellings. Language is much wordier or more complex than necessary. Some things I read literally make no sense at all to me.
Writing is a lost art, and many professionals don’t realize how essential a job skill it is. Even if you’re not a writer by trade, every time you click "Publish" on a blog, "Post" on a LinkedIn update, or "Send" on an email, you are putting your writing out into the world.
Your writing is a reflection of your thinking. Clear, succinct, convincing writing will differentiate you as a great thinker and a valuable asset to your team.
If you want to be thought of as a smart thinker, you must become a better writer. If you want to be taken seriously by your manager, colleagues, potential employers, clients and prospects, you must become a better writer.
It's not just you who must become a better writer- it’s all of us. I'll be the first to admit, I too have had to learn to become a better writer. So here are five ways that I've become a better writer over the last several years....
Although this article is written for people working in business, it holds true for anyone looking for a job.  These days, almost everything you write is accessible online.  Correct the grammar and the typos, and spend some time cultivating a solid writing style. We don't just grade the papers "like English professors" because we get a kick out of correcting grammar.  We are trying to help you present your insights and arguments in their best light.  And that, in the end, is a reflection on yourself.

The rest of the article is here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

History in the making....

As every knows by now, Pope Benedict XVI resigned (technically "abdicated the Petrine ministry") this week, due to his felt inability to do the work of the ministry in declining health.  There has been some good news coverage and some truly awful (as in inaccurate) news coverage of that rare event and how things will proceed from here.

One of the best articles on "what happens now?" comes from John Allen, a longtime religion beat reporter: Conclave 101 .

If you want a review of the bad reporting--from the perspective of a group of veteran religion beat reporters who try to keep journalists (including themselves) honest--you can check out this post at Get Religion.

May we live in interesting times, indeed!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Take the tour!

...of the website, that is.

At the top of the website, just above the posts, you can see tabs indicating different stand alone pages on each of the elements of the program.  We just summarized all those, but if you want to remind yourself what this is about, check those pages.

On the right, you see the various ways to get updates from the website: Email, Twitter, a facebook page.  Email is the most certain way you will see the posts.

You also see the link to how to do a concept map, as illustrated in the last post.  We're working on a new program for it, but the instructions still work, as well as the video link.  If you have questions, ask Dr WD or someone else in the department.

Keep scrolling down the right sidebar.  There are tags, to find the posts you'd like to read, long term volunteer opportunities, Catholic news websites, even the lectionary readings for the day (we're one stop shopping!).

Now, looking at the left sidebar, there is a link to the official department website, pictures of you all (and us) in action, job listings, and a link to an eight week online retreat you can start anytime (if interested).

If there is anything else you would find helpful, please contact us and let us know!

Next post: Great!  I understand it, mostly.  Now what?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The National Standards Concept Map

(Click to enlarge)

Do you ever feel busy? It's likely because you are! Our majors tend to be extremely involved in service and church related activities. This concept map gives you the opportunity to place that formative involvement within one of the four formation branches established by the National Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministry. Not only is this a useful visual aid to show another person (such as, ahem, an employer) what you have done to discern and prepare for lay ministry work, it is also useful to see what you still need to attend to in some matter.

We have a template of this concept map (thank you, Laurie Ziliak!) available through a Blackboard group. If you want access, let us know. The template requires a free computer program called Xmind...but we are looking into making the template available in simpler formats (although admittedly, if you like these things, Xmind has many bells and whistles). The image above is a sample PYM major concept map, created from our National Standards template. It was created through an easy to use website called Text2MindMap. (And this "filled in Joe Student sample" is found here: .)

If you want see a video created on the why and how of creating a concept map such as this as part of your preparation for lay ministry, click here.  It's not the best quality and the first half minute is boring, but I said, I'm a theologian, not an I.T. person....But this concept map could be a great addition to your senior portfolio.  We ask you to consider it.

Next post: Take the tour!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The last two foundational elements: small groups and spiritual direction, and retreat

The last two elements--once again, activities you are likely engaged in--makes up the co-curricular suggestions that move you toward compliance with the national standards.

Clarifying: Small Groups and Spiritual Direction

Leaves and small group theology discussion
(Meeting in the plaza not recommended in January.)

Part of the Christian life, and your reality as a college student, involves discernment: discernment of a state in life (called to marriage, called to a celibate life for God), and discernment in vocation.  No one can discern for you.  But there are helps available to help you listen for God's voice.  We suggest engaging in one of these practices for one academic year.

1. Spiritual direction: "We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship." (William A. Barry, SJ and William J. Connolly, SJ).  Usually directors and directees meet once a month for conversation and prayer.  There are a number of people trained and available for spiritual direction in the Winona area.  Please contact Campus Ministry for names and suggestions on initiating this relationship.

2. Small groups.  Discernment to the vocation of lay ministry is made easier--and more enjoyable--through community support.  To that end, we're encouraging students to consider participating in a small group for one academic year.  This is your chance to ask the questions with others about how the process is going (classes, paper, internships, volunteering, praying, discerning) in a confidential environment shared by friends.  If there is enough interest, we could help you start a small group.  Please contact Dr WD for more information.

Discerning: Retreat

The last element of the program is to participate in one discernment retreat for majors and interested minors, usually offered in January. Students may attend their junior or senior year (or both years). A time away can help a person recognize and name their vocation, and return to classes with new questions and fresh vigor.

This website is also a good source of online prayer resources and retreats.  One of the ongoing we hear from students in the graduate program in Pastoral Ministries is that even working in a parish, maintaining a consistent prayer life is hard.  They also say it is utterly necessary.  Anything you can do to establish that habit now is time well-spent (prayer is always time well-spent!).

Available discernment retreats are often mentioned through posts here.

Next up: the national standards concept map!  (More fun than it sounds like.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

The first three formational elements: Encounter your world, the Vineyard colloquia, Praxis for ministry

We have the practice of  this program broken down into five categories, all of which you likely engage in--at least to some degree--already.  If you engage in these five elements, you will be reasonably prepared to meet the National Standards and the wings of formation on the National Standards concept map template.  This post addresses the first three categories of co-curricular engagement.

Seeing: Encounter Your World

One element of the Spirituality for the Vineyard program involves attending to and learning from the vulnerable in our human family, as well as reaching out and recognizing we are part of a universal church with many cultures, concerns, and manifestations.  The Church tells us that our engagement with the world--and our attention to most in need--is our mission.

The Church's social doctrine “is itself a valid instrument of evangelizationand is born of the always new meeting of the Gospel message and social life. Understood in this way, this social doctrine is a distinctive way for the Church to carry out her ministry of the Word and her prophetic role. ...This is not a marginal interest or activity, or one that is tacked on to the Church's mission, rather it is at the very heart of the Church's ministry of service: with her social doctrine the Church “proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself”[90]. This is a ministry that stems not only from proclamation but also from witness.  (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #67)

We ask students to participate in one extended cross-cultural service experience.  That could mean a variety of things:

  • Go on a Spring Break or May SOUL (Serving Others United in Love) trip through campus ministry.  If you're new to SMU, SOUL trips are week long (or longer) trips of small groups from SMU, including staff, who immerse themselves in a community service project.  Some sites are international (Guatemala, the Phillipines, Jamaica), but most are in country (for example, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, New Orleans hurricane relief, working with L'Arche in Iowa, and the Kansas City Catholic Worker, among others).
  • HECUA study abroad student in Ecuador
  • Do a developing world study abroad.  There are many options, including quite a few connected with the Lasallian consortium for study abroadHECUA is another program SMU is affiliated with that has impressive programs in the developing world, and a "Metro Urban Studies term" in the Twin Cities.  There are also summer programs available.
  • Do an extended volunteering year in Winona, but in an area that puts you a different space than what is typical for you: weekly volunteering at the local Catholic Worker (Winona or LaCrosse), Big Brothers/Big Sisters, tutoring at the Red Wing Correctional Facility, etc.

Learning: The Vineyard Colloquia

Rich Curran: Spirituality for the Vineyard workshop #3
Rich Curran, Mar 2010: "All the questions you have about youth ministry, answered"
A colloquium is an informal, yet academic, conversation between scholars (that's you) on a given topic.  The Vineyard Colloquia give students a chance to hear from local and national scholars and practitioners in lay ecclesial ministry.  What is it really like out there?  How did you get to where you are?  How do I discern this?  Are there spiritual practices I should be cultivating now?  Come, listen, ask questions, and learn.

The Spring 2013 speaker?  We soon as details are nailed down, we will announce it!  Coming soon....

Exploring: Praxis for Ministry

Outreach Jeopardy
Lisa and Jake leading a confirmation class.
Yet another element of the program is the expectation that students will be exploring a variety of Christian ministries.  You may have your heart set on one particular ministry, but college is a great opportunity to explore options...and you could always go back to that "one particular ministry" confirmed that this is indeed your passion!

The simplest way to complete this element if you are a Pastoral and Youth Ministry major or a Religious Education major is to complete the requirement one semester internship at a local parish or church affiliated organization.  There are also other volunteer ministries--through SMU and in the local churches and dioceses--that students may count toward this element.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hello, And We're Still Here

First, a great big "whoops."

Late last semester, our rss feed became corrupted (unclear how) and people stopped receiving emails of these posts on the blogsite.  We figured it out on this end in late January...and it took a while to figure out how to fix this very I.T. problem, especially given that your friendly blog administrator is a theologian, not a super techie.

However, the problem is fixed.  We're on a new feed and we have a new email delivery system.  If you are not receiving emails of these posts as of Feb 1, please sign up for the new Mail Chimp email delivery system in the box at upper right.  You can opt out at any time through a handy "unsubscribe" button on each email.  If there are bugs in the system, we will work them out through the next week.  Of course, you can also see the posts through visiting a lot, connecting through Twitter or facebook (see right sidebar)...but please, sign up for the email list.

So!  Where were we?  We were in the middle of the great big Spirituality for the Vineyard reboot!  What is it, why will it help me, and how do I plug in?  You can begin to explore this voluntary co-curricular program right here...and the "how to" posts will begin again starting Monday, Feb 4th.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What are the National Standards?

Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers logo

As lay ministry has become a much more common phenomenon in the United States (although present throughout Church History in some degree!), there have recently evolved the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. You can see the standards book in our suite (Saint Mary's 223), but there is a short overview here as well, which includes this:

Core Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers
These standards are for all lay ecclesial ministers, including coordinators of youth ministry/youth ministry leaders.

1.Personal and Spiritual Maturity: A lay ecclesial minister demonstrates personal and spiritual maturity in ministry with the people of God.
2.Lay Ecclesial Ministry Identity: A lay ecclesial minister identifies the call to formal and public ministry as a vocation rooted in baptism.
3.Roman Catholic Theology: A lay ecclesial minister integrates knowledge of Roman Catholic faith within ministry.
4.Pastoral Praxis: A lay ecclesial minister engages in pastoral activity that promotes evangelization, faith formation, community, and pastoral care with sensitivity to diverse situations.
5.Professional Practice: A lay ecclesial minister provides effective leadership, administration, and service, in the spirit of collaboration.
This "Spirituality for the Vineyard" program is aimed at helping you self-evaluate your place in the first set of standards (personal and spiritual maturity), and inform the second the fourth group as well.  Much of the third and fifth sections are covered in class study and field work. 

Although not all parishes or dioceses attend closely to the national standards, some do.  And all of them would look favorably on a prospective worker who has taken their formation seriously, and is able to express their formation in the terms set by the National Standards.  Although we think a self-evaluation in light of the National Standards is valuable to do in itself, there is no question: in an increasingly tight job market, being able to show employers that you are called and ready to do this work is an asset.  The point of this program is to make a simplified presentation of the National Standards, making it easy to do and easy to show. 

The next two days, we'll cover what you do to measure up to the National Standards--and you probably already do a lot of it already.