Preparation for leadership in the Catholic Church today must embrace the collaborative environment in which ministers serve. The MDiv program at Notre Dame is ideally suited to prepare students for collaborative leadership.
Seminarians and lay people share and enrich each other’s formation by studying, praying, and conversing together. The wide variety of experiences fostered by field education and other Notre Dame resources, as well as the variety of backgrounds among the students, incorporates many different perspectives into the collaborative mix, helping to make students creative, flexible, dynamic thinkers and doers.
Through our educational initiatives, students will be prepared to take up the challenge to preach God's word, to lead in worship and service, and to nurture the faith of others.
Faculty, ministry supervisors, and spiritual mentors assist students to learn how to work with people of various ages, religious traditions, and cultural heritages. Students acquire both the theology and the experience needed to exercise leadership in contemporary ecclesial ministry.
Notre Dame is a crossroads for people and programs touching church life, as it attracts representative figures from dioceses around the country and religious organizations with a worldwide presence.
Our students come from all over North America, and our Notre Dame faculty members come from many parts of the globe. In the Master of Divinity Program, you are part of a diverse group where both lay ministry students and Holy Cross seminarians, both novices and ministry veterans, both single and married students work and learn together.
Our program especially invites increased participation by members of historically underrepresented groups, as well as students somewhat older than traditional graduate school age. Not only does the Department of Theology recognize that the Catholic Church in the United States deserves a more diverse group of ministers to reflect and serve the mosaic of its membership; the Department increasingly reflects that mosaic itself.
Latinos, the Church, and Notre Dame
At a time when the Catholic Church in the United States is experiencing a huge influx of people and energy from the Latino community, Notre Dame is vitally involved in this experience. The University has historically close ties to Latin America and increasingly strong commitments to studies of, by, and for U.S. Latinos.
A few points:
- Notre Dame’s Department of Theology has effectively built a dynamic community of leading theologians studying the Latino Church in North America and the Catholic Church in Latin America. This community comprises authors of seminal works on these subjects, such as Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez and Rev. Virgilio Elizondo. The community is also enriched by a next generation of scholars who are coupling the theology to empirical research and pastoral practice, as well as graduate students preparing to embrace the demographic trends.
- One-third of the Latino Catholic Ph.D. students in theology in the United States are studying at Notre Dame. The Theology Department’s goal is not just to attract Latino students and faculty, but to create a community of learners that supports Latino theological education and research.
- The Department has long trained theologians for the nation’s more than 200 Catholic colleges, as well as leading Protestant and secular institutions, and now this success story is being repeated among a new cohort of Latino graduates.
- The Institute for Latino Studies supports the University’s theological work in various ways. ILS scholar Edwin Hernandez is widely recognized for his groundbreaking research on Latin theological education. The Institute is the home of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture, which is active and influential on a nationwide basis under the direction of Rev. Daniel Groody, CSC.
- The University hosted a national conference of La Red (the national network of Latino youth and young adults) in summer 2006 and a major conference on Our Lady of Guadalupe in November 2006. In recent years, Notre Dame has hosted a number of national Hispanic Catholic groups, such as the National Institute of Hispanic Liturgy and the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry, and has convened major conferences on the Option for the Poor in Christian Theology and on Theology and Migration.
- Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC), directed by Rev. Robert Pelton, C.S.C., at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, co-sponsors a variety of events, including an annual conference memorializing El Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980.