Friday, December 5, 2014

Blessed Advent to all!

There's a lot going on, liturgically and academically.  Find some quiet.

End of semester gathering for all "friends of Theology"!

Cookies and Cocoa!  (and goody bags to make finals more pleasant while supplies last!)
December 11th, Study Day
Theology Suite
Bring your friends and enjoy!

Dr. Beal's book is published!

Mystery of the Church, People of God: Yves Congar's Total Ecclesiology as a Path to Vatican II, from Catholic University of America Press.

Now you have your Christmas reading....

Our department congratulates Dr. Beal!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Save the date: Vineyard Colloquium Oct 15 at 12:15pm with Chris Rogers

Save the date!  It's time for our annual Vineyard Colloquium.  We are delighted to have Mr. Chris Rogers, the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of LaCrosse, coming to speak to the on the ground realities and potential for youth ministry today.  Mr. Rogers is also a new adjunct professor in our theology department.

The 2014 Vineyard Colloquium 
Chris Rogers, Director of Youth Ministry, Diocese of LaCrosse 
Oct. 15, 2014
Free pizza and drinks!
Room TBA

Theology, Pastoral and Youth Ministry, and Educational Studies (Religious Ed) majors are expected to attend.  Clear your calendar!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Medieval and Renaissance Studies panel

"The Scholastic-Humanist Debate," and a really long subtitle that must be seen to be believed.  History, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology are involved....
Sept 22, 2014
Salvi Hall
Refreshments served.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wondering what to do with the Theology/Pastoral and Youth Ministry/Religious Ed degree? helps you see what may be possible.  Bookmark it and refer to it--even if you are not a senior.

(There are also the five most recently posted jobs on the left sidebar of this blog.)

Statistics made interesting: CARA stats on ministry issues

CARA header

CARA stands for Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, located at Georgetown University.  They do phenomenal work pulling together and interpreting statistics on a variety of issues important to ministry (ordained and lay ministry) and parish life.  Occasionally we highlight blog posts here.  But you may want to check out their blog on a regular basis.  It is called 1964, and you can also get notices via twitter at caracatholic .

1964: The CARA blog

A few posts of particular interest: Who is getting paid at your parish? (good for everyone)

The Catholic Teenager: a few mysteries solved (interesting for future youth ministers)

Do Catholic Schools Matter?  (focus on elementary and high schools, good for Religious Ed majors)

Poke around in the CARA blog and on their main website.  There is amazing information in there, and it gives you a strong sense of the Catholic Church in America--not just your own experience of it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Your Summer Project: work on part of your portfolio

Summertime and the living is easy.
Well, that's exciting!

Perhaps not.  But this is an exercise worth doing and not as hard as it sounds.  Drum roll please....


Sorry, am I screaming with the all caps?  I can't help it.  This is important.

We (the department, with the initial prodding and matchless help of Laurie Ziliak) have created various templates to help you create something that describes or shows how you are proceeding in your education and formation toward certification toward Lay Ecclesial Ministry.  We offer three options:

1. create a concept map, like this one
2. do our (beta mode!) checklist
3. write a narrative that incorporates these standards

There is no standard form for a portfolio, although there are basics that need to be in one: a resume, perhaps a list of people to call for general recommendations (perhaps an employer, an internship director, a pastor, and/or an professor), and evidence that you have done good work preparing to be a lay minister/teacher.  It can be paper or online, although there is probably value in doing both.

Career services can help you craft a good resume and polish interviewing skills.  We can advise on securing recommendations and how to do that.  We want to help you with the evidence piece of the portfolio.  How you present this material is up to you.

You are not expected to complete the National Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers by the time you graduate.  However, it would be good to show that you are well on your way, and that you understand that working on these standards is the bread and butter of lay ministry.  Churches want to hire people who are personable, experienced, qualified, and have a good understanding of the work in terms of vocation.  These standards help you articulate that.  You may end up working in a diocese that wants you to get certified through these standards.  Almost any place will be impressed that you are attending to them.  So go do it!

But how?  Personally, I think the checklist is the easiest place to start.  It provides the four sections of the National Standards (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation), and the particular items that you should be attending to in some fashion.  HOW you attend to these items is for you to describe and defend.  This checklist is a pilot project for us, and the items to check out are not meant to be exhaustive.  Some items were included as possibilities that you may not think qualify, at least according to your experience--so don't check them.  But the checklist gives you a good sense of how this works, and frankly, can be printed off and included in your portfolio.

Some people love their visuals, and the concept map is one way to provide that.  There are many online options to creating a concept map.  The one I used for the sample is Text2Mindmap .  There are also possibilities in XMind, Lucidchart, Mindmeister...the choice is yours.  Just choose one that will print in a way that fits on a standard piece of paper, if you wish to have a paper portfolio; and make sure any online version is easily accessible for church secretaries dealing with a slow dial up computer.

Then there is the narrative option.  Think about what you have done and write a relatively short ( five page?) defense of how you have attempted to meet the National Standards.  Especially if you are a good writer, this may be the way to go.  You can also easily print it out or post it online for easy access.


WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO WORK ON THIS OVER THE SUMMER.  Oops, shouting again.  But it's true--this is worthwhile and you will need to do this before it's all over at SMU.  The earlier you start, the more you can "correct" gaps and weaknesses in your portfolio.

The Theology faculty is happy to talk to you about this at any time.

Happy summer!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friends of Theology! End of Year Theology Gathering

Thursday, May 1
In the Theology suite
Snacks, Refreshments, Celebration provided

We'll take the time to honor our graduating senior major, Charlie Keyes.

Mark your calendar and come be with us!

Catholics on (Last?) Call

August 5-9, 2014

Catholics on Call 

Young Adult Discernment Retreat

Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL

From the website:
This is what participants say about the conference:

“It was an amazing experience, one that I cannot fully express the enormous impact on my life and my relationship with God.”

“It gave me time to intentionally reflect, in community with others, on God's will for my life--where I've been, where I'm going.”

“Catholics on Call allowed me, for the first time, to be open to God's call in my life and not be afraid of what that could mean.”

Register soon!  This is only $100 for everything for a week, and we have had two alums attend and say great things about the experience.  Contact them (or Dr WD) for more information.

Collegeville Conference for Music, Liturgy, and the Arts

Collegeville Conference on Music, Liturgy and the Arts-CCMLA

CCMLA 2014

2014 Conference highlights:

  • Keynotes and breakouts by Steve Warner, Chris de Silva, Alan Hommerding, Rita Ferrone, Johan van Parys, and Walter Tambor.
  • Workshops on cantoring, organ and keyboards, choral directing, and Gregorian chant. 
  • Choral reading sessions with GIA, WLP, and Liturgical Press
  • Conference Eucharist with musicians from the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN

Student conference registration fee: $199 (includes free housing and meals, sponsored by Saint John's School of Theology/Seminary.There is also a possibility to be a student intern (you participate for free!).  More here.
Apply online by April 30.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Celebration of Scholarship: April 11, 2014

Come and support the research of some of our upperclass students in Theology and Pastoral Ministry!

Saint Mary’s Hall
Room 202
1. Ashley Walz: “‘Ordain a Lady?’ An Analysis of the Ordination of Women”
This presentation takes a critical approach to discussing the history, differing viewpoints and arguments made in the discussion of female ordination.
2. Charles Keyes: “Iconography in the Time of Iconoclasm”
Iconoclasm acted as a major controversy in the 8th and 9th centuries. This presentation considers its causes and effects.
3. Ashley Cermak: “The Theology of the Body in the Liturgy of the Eucharist: a Key to Active Participation in the Mass”
This paper examines John Paul II's Theology of the Body to better understand the hermeneutic of the gift and spousal implications of the eucharistic liturgy.

Save the date! Theology End of Year Gathering....

Thursday, May 1 (study day)
Time to be announced
Snacks will, without question, be provided

Discerning your life in the Church this summer? Go to "Catholics on Call"!

Young Adult Conference 2014
Aug 5-9, 2014
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL 
$100 registration (that's everything except travel!)
Application deadline: May 5

Kelsi Watters and alum John Uhal have done this conference and speak very highly of it.  Please consider learning more about it and applying to attend.  If the $100 is holding you back, talk to CoC or perhaps Campus Ministry for financial help.  The cost is frankly a real bargain given what you are getting.

See more here:

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Ukraine: The Political, Historical, and Religious Background of a Revolution"

Presentations on understanding the current challenges in Ukraine, and Q & A with Drs. David Lynch (Political Science), Erich Lippman (History), and Susan Windley-Daoust (Theology).

Thursday, March 20
President's Room

Sponsored by the Peace and Justice club, refreshments provided.

2014 Aquinas Lecture: Dr. John Knasas, "Fides et Ratio: Or, My Life in Thomism"


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"I'm in a mind-mapping state of mind"

(My apologies to Billy Joel)

In these last few days before break, you may want to set up a meeting with your advisor to discuss the National Standards for Lay and Ecclesial Ministry--either for the end of this week or just after break.  Creating a mind-map, or working with the Google docs form (in beta!), is an optional but important part of your own self-assessment as a student discerning lay ministry in the Church.  A completed mind map can be a useful introduction of yourself within a portfolio as well, electronic or not.

This option has been introduced in Th 209 and Th 460, but if you are interested, please feel free to fool around with the options and make an appointment with your Theology department advisor.

Youth Ministry position: Cold Spring, MN

Greetings from Cold Spring!
We are writing to inform you that we have a Youth Ministry position that will open in our parish on March 1.  Please share the following information with anyone in your school or Youth Ministry program that would be interested in applying for the position.  You can learn more about our parish at  

Our mission statement is: 
We, the Church of Saint Boniface, as a Roman Catholic parish in the Diocese of Saint Cloud that has been served by Benedictine monks and Sisters since its founding in 1878, participate in the mission of the Church given by the Lord Jesus to proclaim His Gospel and make disciples of all nations, to welcome these new disciples in a praying and hospitable community, and to provide on-going formation in discipleship of Jesus Christ.

We are grateful for any assistance you can give us in letting qualified candidates know about this position.  Please give any one who is interested in the position the following instructions:
Please open the attached “Saint Boniface Employment Application.pdf” file and job description, and print the file.  
Send in the completed application along with a copy of your resume and letter of intent to the address provided at the top of the form.  
The position will remain open until filled.

Father Matthew, OSB

Fr. Matthew Luft, OSB
Church of Saint Boniface
501 Main Street
Cold Spring, MN 56320-2325
         In omnibus glorificetur Deus.  (1 Peter 4.11)

And the winner of the SMU Elevator Pitch competition is...

PYM major Kelsi Watters!

Congrats to Kelsi for crafting and delivering the best one minute pitch to convince an "elevator rider" to support her cause.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Congrats to PYM Major Ashley Walz

Ashley and her student colleagues in Psychology were accepted by the American Psychological Association (APA) to present their research at their National Conference in Washington, D.C.  The title of the project is "The Body is a Temple: Does One's Relationship With God Affect One's Body Image?"

The conference will take place this summer, August 7th-10th, 2014.

Ashley is presenting in the Health Psychology Division, rather than the Student Research Division, which is an additional honor!

Congrats, Ashley!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Faith and Sustainability Discussion, Feb 26th

Sustainability Forum:

Blending Faith & The Environment

Come Join a Discussion About How Our Lasallian Catholic Heritage Can Foster Environmental Stewardship

Wednesday, February 26th    
Watters Hall-Damien Commons @ 7:00 p.m.

Youth Ministry Internship and Year Long Volunteering Opportunity

Please pass along the following job opportunities to your students who want to spread the Gospel and inspire thousands in faith.
Youth Ministry Internships
Gain vital youth ministry skills by learning to: implement a comprehensive youth ministry program; engage youth and adults to call them into the ministry; plan, organize, and execute programming; present spiritual programs and retreats in dynamic ways; successfully collaborate with a parish staff; facilitate meetings and small groups effectively; disciple youth and young adults into the mission of Jesus.  You will receive the youth ministry skills and experience to get a job.
Catholic Youth Evangelizers
SPIRITUS is a dynamic group of young adults called to evangelize thousands of Catholic youth each years through retreats and parish youth ministry.  We are seeking passionate Catholics, 20-29 Years of age, who have a love for their faith and want to ignite the faith of others!  SPIRITUS team members live in community and travel to schools and parishes throughout Wisconsin, inspiring students in grades 3-12 through retreats, spiritual programs, bible studies, and parish-based youth and young adult ministry.
Both positions receive: God’s grace to evangelize His youth; a community of friends to live and work with; training in evangelization and youth ministry; housing, food, health insurance, $150 monthly allowance, spiritual direction, weekly formation classes, time off for holidays, $2000 stipend upon completion of program, and an awesome year of serving that will change your life forever.
God bless you in your ministry!
Andrea Gratton
Retreat Coordinator and SPIRITUS Recruiter

(920) 722-8918 ext. 6

Monday, February 10, 2014

Youth and Young Adult Ministry Position: Pax Christi Church, Rochester MN

Another job opening sent to us!

Pax Christi Catholic Church, in Rochester, MN, is seeking a Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministry with the intent to form disciples of Jesus Christ, and His Church, through a unified vision for ministry to young people, from early adolescence through young adulthood. Responsibilities include assisting in the coordination of 6th-12th grade faith formation, leadership development, and young adult ministry, as well as preparing students for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Candidates should posses a passion for leading others towards Christ, strong organizational and communication skills, and the ability to work collaboratively in a team environment. Ideally candidates would have a minimum of 1-2 years of volunteer experience in youth and/or campus/young adult ministry and, preferably, a bachelor’s degree in religious/pastoral studies, education, or a related field. This full-time position will include evening and weekend hours. All inquiries can be directed to Mark Oldenburg at 507-282-8542 ext. 104. Send resume and cover letter to by March 17th, 2014.

Youth Ministry position: Stevens Point, WI

They reached out to us....

More information and application here.

Reminder: Essay Contest, win $500 and scholarship money

Journal of Theology
Saint John’s School of Theology∙Seminary 

Call for Submissions

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2014 edition of Obsculta, the theological journal published by Saint John’s School of Theology∙Seminary. 
·         Essays may be on any topic of theology as long there is a connection or comparison to Christianity.
·         Papers should follow the Turabian style with end notes.
·         Papers are to be submitted in electronic format, either as a Word document or a PDF file, to
·         Please also include for each submission:
o   The title and author name.
o   A single declarative sentence summarizing the highlights of your paper.
o   An abstract of 300 words or less.
o   Three key words that categorize relevant topics in your paper (i.e. for key word search).
o   A list of scriptural references used in the work, organized sequentially as found in the Catholic Bible.
·         Must be submitted by the deadline of March 1, 2014.
We look forward to hearing from you!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 The 2014 Editors at Obsculta
Saint John's School of Theology
Collegeville, Minnesota

Samples of past journals can be found in our institutional repository:

St. John's School of Theology website:

Submit entries to:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Elevator Pitch competition--Feb 6. Win money, practice "selling" an event

We want you to try this! If you are a PYM major, you will be doing public speaking about events and fundraisers on a regular basis. Get some practice and possibly win a cash prize! Dr. Beal is willing to be a sounding board for practice runs, and give tips. Sign up with Teresa Speck by Feb 4. More info.