Pastoral Formation expresses itself most clearly in welstructured, sequential and evaluated field education experiences. For the graduate students, a minimal of 10 academic credits of Theological Field Education are required for the Master of Divinity Degree. The program offers a variety of ministry experiences. Students in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry are required to complete 3 units of Field Education and participate in theological reflection sessions.
In the spring semester of each of the two years, pre-theology students engage in a variety of approved and supervised pastoral field experiences that will promote a spirit of selfless service and an awareness of situations in society, especially the condition of vulnerable populations, minorities, the underprivileged and the homeless. Students come together to reflect upon their experiences in the light of sacred scripture and in a manner that fosters personal transformation.
First and Second Year Field Education
The first and second year courses are one semester and consist of both weekly theological reflection/lecture classroom meetings and field experience. All courses are credit/non-credit, with no academic grade.
The pastoral formation program should provide seminarians with a broad exposure to supervised pastoral service, with primary emphasis on parish ministry. (PPF #246) Ordinarily, students spend ten months in a parish setting under the immediate supervision of the pastor-mentor. In rare cases the internship is five months. Students are given an orientation for this period and participate in a mid-term debriefing as well as a weeklong final debriefing session. Each student receives a manual with guidelines that clearly delineate the norms for the Internship. Pastor-mentors also receive this manual at the time of their formation/orientation for supervision. Learning Agreements and Evaluations and a comprehensive Portfolio assignment form part of this component. The ten-month internship awards seven units; the five-month internship awards five units.
Students are required to spend quality time in a major hospital under the supervision of a pastoral care team/hospital chaplain. Summer Clinical Pastoral Education programs are a beneficial option and can be arranged with the support of the Field Education Office. Hospital ministry experience is usually during the summer after third year theology. Two units are awarded for the three-week intensive program requiring a Learning Agreement, written reflections, and an Evaluation.