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New Online Master of Arts in Theology Option Offered for Deacon Candidates  

deacon formationx320The Center for Diaconal Formation of Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology proudly announces its new remote delivery option for deacon candidates outside the Northern New Jersey area, the online Master of Arts in Theology.

Consistent with its existing in-person graduate degree, the 12 course, 36-credit curriculum is designed to integrate students’ intellectual formation while preparing them for the ministry of a deacon to deliver an integrated and holistic formational experience in collaboration with the sending diocese. In addition to the degree component, another four courses (12 credits) are available to qualify for a Certificate in Diaconal Studies.

Deacon candidates are called from all walks of life, dedicating their time to carry out the ministry of word, liturgy and charity after completing their formation. Both the existing in-person and new online M.A. in Theology delivery options prepare deacon candidates to take on leadership roles as ordained ministers in their local parishes, diocese institutions and the Universal Church, while nourishing intellectual growth in areas including Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Church History, Spirituality, Homiletics and Canon Law.

"Established in 2010, the Center for Diaconal Formation prepares students to be heralds of the Gospel through our robust, thoughtful in-person graduate-level program for the permanent diaconate. Our new remote, distance-education option provides us with the additional flexibility to deliver instruction in a variety of ways and tailor it to the needs of each sending diocese beyond our local geography," said Andrew Saunders, M.A., Director.

Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, the online delivery option enables the Center to offer high-quality intellectual formation to dioceses across the United States as well as internationally.

"One of the hallmarks of our new program is that we're able to partner with our sending dioceses. We support the academic component of the deacon candidates' formation by working hand in hand with each diocese to help them in the other pillars—human, spiritual and pastoral," commented Reverend Monsignor Joseph Reilly, S.T.L., Ph.D., Rector/Dean of ICSST. "This way, the parts are not separated, but rather integrated together in that online setting."

Further, both the online and existing in-person degree offer an intellectual formation experience that addresses the norms established in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Using those intellectual norms, we're able to teach our students to assimilate, communicate and be able to explain the faith in various venues and circumstances to the different people they encounter in their ministry of word, liturgy, and charity," noted Saunders. "At the same time, the remote option allows us to be flexible and tailor the way we remotely deliver this intellectual formation through collaboration with each diocese."

The program is cohort based, with its inaugural class anticipated to begin in Fall 2024. To participate in the program, permanent diaconate candidates must receive the approval of their bishop.

For more information about the new Master of Arts in Theology, please contact Deacon Andrew Saunders or visit the program page.

Immaculate Conception Seminary is a House of Formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood and the School of Theology of Seton Hall University. Forming priests for God's people has remained the Seminary's constant focus, and the Seminary faculty—well-educated authors and scholars in their own fields—devote their time and energy to preparing these men for priesthood amidst the challenges of the 21st century. The School also focuses on the education of lay men and women in theology, permanent deacons, religious who are not studying for ordination, and already-ordained priests—not only providing for them academically, but also for their personal, pastoral, and spiritual formation.

Categories: Faith and Service