Readiness for Ministry Program
Bachelor of Sacred Theology
Master of Arts
Master of Arts in Ecclesial Ministry
Master of Divinity
Permanent Diaconate
Dual Degree Program
Continuing Education
The Master of Arts in Ecclesial Ministry program is open to candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay students seeking to do diocesan or parish level ministry in the Church. This is a three-year program. The curriculum consists of three major areas: Systematic Theology, Sacred Scripture, and Pastoral Studies. The primary purpose of degrees that the [ATS] Commission designates as M.A. in (area of specialized ministry) “is to equip persons for competent leadership in some form of specialized ministry in congregations and other settings.” -- The Association of Theological Schools Bulletin 50, Part 1, 2012, G-45, B.1.1.
  • Students will appropriate the doctrinal heritage of the Roman Catholic Church and acquire the capacity to communicate this heritage through academic courses in systematic theology, Sacred Scripture, and pastoral studies;
  • Students will develop pastoral and leadership skills required by the diverse contexts and cultural dimensions of Roman Catholic parish ministry by acquiring the academic and professional competency needed to begin ecclesial ministry;
  • Students will demonstrate the capacity to integrate their theological training with the pastoral field work appropriate to their future ministry goals;
  • Candidates for the permanent diaconate will acquire the competency requisite to preaching homilies which are biblically grounded, doctrinally sound, pastorally focused and rhetorically effective;
  • Students will develop a commitment to life-long learning, rooted in the Word of God and integrated with their spiritual lives.
Admission Requirements
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and indication of aptitude for advanced study;
  • A minimum of 18 credits in Judeo-Christian theology. For permanent diaconate candidates without these credits, admission into the program may be contingent upon a score of 85% or above on an entrance exam that tests the applicant’s basic knowledge of Catholic doctrine.
  • For permanent diaconate candidates, a diocesan letter of sponsorship;
  • A personal interview with the Academic Dean if requested.
Degree Requirements Please click this link for degree requirements for this program.
Field Work
  • For permanent diaconate candidates, oversight for the field work placements will be the responsibility of an assigned diocesan official. 
  • For lay students, field work placements will be the responsibility of Saint Vincent Seminary’s Director of Pastoral Formation.
  • Students doing field work in the area of secondary education will need to do this during the course of a normal academic year and not during the summer.
Integration Seminar To complete this degree students will meet together to discuss and evaluate their field work experience. This course will ask each student to produce a 7500 word paper displaying their command of Catholic pastoral theology and its application to the pastoral need they have identified in their field assignment and the solution or program they have prepared and implemented in EM 760 Field Work II. This work should reflect an understanding of the theological principles guiding the Catholic faith tradition, and how these are experienced in the practical order of a person’s and a community’s life of faith. The student is expected to articulate his role as an ordained deacon or lay minister in this description. A bibliography of theological and pastoral sources with appropriate citations in the text is expected to support the presentation.


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