Monday, March 19, 2012

The Institute of St. Lawrence of Rome

As I reported in my last post, I have recently been to Rome for meetings at the Vatican.  A new graduate studies institute is being created, with the formal approval of the Holy See, which will focus on all matters related to diakonia and the renewed diaconate in the Catholic Church.  The Institute of St. Lawrence has been founded by three deacon-professors: Deacon Dr. Enzo Petrolino of Italy, Deacon Rob Mascini of the Netherlands, and myself.

The new Institute will be headquartered at the Lateran University in Rome, with courses being taught at several of the other so-called "Pontifical" universities as well, such as the Biblicum, the Angelicum, the Augustinianum (or Patristicum), and so on.  The courses will all be taught for graduate credit, and are not designed for those in formation for ordination, unless those candidates already have significant theological background and are pursuing either a Master's or Doctorate.  In short, any person who is eligible for graduate education in Theology is welcome.  The goals of the Institute are quite simple: to provide an opportunity for advanced research on the diaconate, and to create an archive of such research to support future scholarship.

Students will be able to proceed in one of two ways.  They may either take all of the courses offered over a three-year summer program and obtain a Master's degree in diaconal study from the Lateran, or they may take courses to be applied to an existing program at another accredited institution.  For example, if one of our graduate students at Santa Clara University wishes to take a couple of the courses and apply those credits to their program here at Santa Clara, that will be perfectly fine.  All of the Institute's courses are fully accredited.

Each course will consist of significant work (background reading, research) prior to coming to Rome for a one week intensive seminar; normally, there will be lectures in the mornings, with afternoons free for research, group study, and other activities related to the course.  Then, after students leave Rome, they prepare a major research paper or project.  We intend to offer three of these one-week sessions each summer for a three year cycle.  So, if a student simply wants one of the three courses, that's fine; if they wish to do all three (!) then in theory they could stay for the whole three weeks.

The Institute will be launched in June 2013 when we begin our first courses.  Once the dates and other course information is finalized in a month or so, I will be publishing the information extensively through the USCCB, Deacon Digest, and a variety of other sources.

This is an exciting project and I ask for your prayers for its success.

Oh, and while I was walking down the street one day in Rome, this white golf cart pulled up. . . .

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