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Elective Courses

Elective courses are available in several areas of theology and pastoral ministries. Use the links below to jump to course titles and descriptions in your area of interest.


Lifelong Faith Formation Course Electives
LLFF 220 - Foundations and Process of Catechesis

An exploration and reflection on the nature, goal, and process of catechesis. This course examines twentieth century catechetical renewal and the catechetical model that emerged from this renewal. An elective course; formerly CATE 211; 4 units.

LLFF 221 - RCIA: The Catechumenate Process

This course will study the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and appropriate catechesis for this Rite. The course will include study of the lectionary, the symbolic actions and the prayer texts which are fundamental to the Rite and catechesis for the Rite. An elective course; formerly PLIT 262; 4 units.

LLFF 222 - Catechesis & Culture

An examination of specific issues involving culture, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, socio-economic status, age, and language in catechesis. Students will define an "inculturated catechesis" and the principles that should inform such ministry. Fieldwork will be included. An elective course; formerly PMIN 212; 4 units.

LLFF 223 - Liturgical Catechesis

A study of the revised rituals of the sacraments and the catechesis that accompanies these rites. Special emphasis will be given to the Lectionary, the Prayer texts, and the symbolic action of each rite in order to consider ways of developing a catechesis which will open up the meaning of the rites. An elective course; formerly CATE 216; 4 units.

LLFF 224 - Transformative Catechesis

This course explores the prophetic dimension of catechesis and its ability to transform individuals, the parish community and the larger society. By examining current catechetical methods within the context of transformative catehesis, students (catechists) will be helped to realign their approach to catechesis and thus revitalize their teaching and their communities. An elective course; formerly CATE 217; 4 units.

LLFF 240 - Adult Faith Formation

A study of the nature, goal, and process of adult faith formation. This course will consider adult experiences, motivation, and catechetical approaches. An elective course; formerly CATE 212; 4 units.

Latina/o Ministry Elective Courses
LATM 221 - History and Mission in Latina/o Perspective

This course explores the colonial and postcolonial history of the Americas, and the role of the Catholic Church in this history. It examines the dynamics of the colonial encounter and the ambivalence of identity in the borderlands (the nepantla) that the colonial encounter creates. The course probes pastoral issues related to the creation of cultural borders, from immigration to detention to family separation, and considers the Christian imperatives of reconciliation and justice in light of these cultural realities; 4 units.

LATM 223 - Latin@x Youth and Young Adult Ministry

This course explores the particular issues and challenges of youth and young adult ministry in the Latin@x church, including the tensions between the individualism of U.S. culture and the importance of la familia, the challenges of migration and citizenship status for youth and their families, the difficulties of forming a cultural identity from a place between cultures, and questions over sexual issues and identities. A required course in the Latina/o Ministry emphasis (an elective for other students); 4 units.

LATM 224 - Pastoral Care in Latina/o Contexts

This course explores the psychological and cultural elements that contribute to Latina/o identity, as well as the social and psychological pressures faced by members of this community and the pastoral interventions they call forth. An elective course; 4 units.

LATM 225 - Catechesis in the Parish and the Home

This course introduces the foundations and practice of catechesis and the particular shape these take in response to the religious practices and social dynamics of the Latina/o Catholic community. Emphasis is placed on the importance of involving the entire family in faith formation. An elective course; 4 units.

LATM 226 - Developing Competency for Cooperative Leadership

This course explores the challenges and opportunities of an intercultural parish. It trains the lay minister in cultural differences, such as in spiritual practice, stewardship, and leadership styles. It offers strategies developing pastoral de conjunto (communion in mission). An elective course; 4 units.

LATM 227 - Guadalupe & Marian Spirituality

This course traces the place of Mary in the Christian tradition, beginning in the Gospels, with an emphasis on the development of Marian devotion in Medieval Spain and the evolution of Marian spirituality in the figure of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The continuing transformation and role of Guadalupe in evangelization, popular devotion, and social justice movements will be explored. An elective course; 4 units.

LATM 229 - The Bible & Migration

This course examines the phenomenon of migration in the historical contexts of the biblical books and the ethical mandates in the covenant to care for the vulnerable. The course then analyzes the contemporary phenomenon of migration within the United States, focusing on the circumstances behind and policies toward migrants from Latin America. It examines the ways the Bible and biblical ethics inform the imagination and practices of migrants and the activism for justice on this issue. An elective course; formerly PMIN 217; 4 units.

LATM 230 - La Biblia en el Barrio: La Interpretación Bíblica Hispana

This course explores the Bible from a Hispanic context. Using the challenges of the Hispanic community as a hermeneutical lens, we will read the Bible through the community's struggles against poverty, racial discrimination, unemployment, domestic violence, immigration, and deportation. An elective course; formerly PMIN 217; 4 units.

LATM 240 - Feminist/Mujerista Theology

This course examines the lived experience and faith of Hispanic/Latina women as well as the critical perspectives of feminista/mujerista theologians. An elective course; 4 units.

LATM 250 - La Visión Esperanzadora del Papa Francisco

This course will explore Pope Francis' vision for humanity as he has expressed this in writing and in interviews. We will examine the roots of his vision, especially Latin American influences, and consider his views in relation to current debates about such issues as poverty, immigration, and the environment. An elective course; formerly PMIN 213; 4 units.

Liturgical Music Elective Courses
LITM 220 - Introduction to Liturgical Music

Exploration of the nature of liturgy and the relationship of music to liturgy. The course also explores music for the Eucharist, the Sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. An elective course; formerly LITM 250; 4 units.

LITM 221 - Music for the Liturgical Year

Focuses on the music for Eucharist and the liturgical year as well as musical forms in the liturgy and in particular rites: funeral, wedding, baptism, and the RCIA. Includes a consideration of various church traditions. An elective course; formerly LITM 200 and LITM 251; 4 units.

LITM 222 - Musicianship for Liturgical Musicians

This course provides a review of harmony and theory for the liturgical musician. Designed to meet the individual needs of each student. An elective course; formerly LITM 252; 4 units.

LITM 223 - Choral Conducting Techniques

Examines the techniques of choral conducting as well as the choral training necessary for developing a well-balanced choir. Focuses on solving vocal problems encountered in both small ensembles and large choirs. An elective course; formerly LITM 253; 4 units.

LITM 224 - Sacred Music Literature

A comprehensive survey of sacred and liturgical choral/organ literature from 600 A.D. to the present. Includes Gregorian chant, music from various historical periods, and contemporary music. An elective course; formerly LITM 254; 4 units.

Pastoral Liturgy Elective Courses
PLIT 220 - Foundations of Pastoral Liturgy

In this course, students explore the theological foundations for the reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council—history, biblical roots, liturgical development—with particular attention to the impact on contemporary parish life in the multicultural Church. Focus includes principles for preparation and evaluation of parish liturgies; music, architecture, the meaning of full, conscious, unresolved issues and the challenges ahead will be discussed, especially the need for genuine inculturation and a more performative sacramental theology. An elective course; formerly PLIT 222; 4 units.

PLIT 221 - The Eucharist

An introduction to the theology and celebration of the Eucharist. The course includes New Testament beginnings, a brief historical overview, and pastoral and catechetical questions concerning contemporary celebration of the Eucharist. An elective course; formerly PLIT 232; 4 units.

PLIT 222 - Liturgy and Inculturation

This course explores the inter-relationship between liturgy, inculturation, and the many sociocultural identities and worship practices that mark our everyday lives. The first part sets the context by exploring foundational aspects of liturgy and culture. The second part examines liturgical inculturation and places it in conversation with official and non-official worship practices. The third part offers suggestions for pastoral settings, including the planning and preparing of liturgies in culturally diverse contexts and the development of intercultural competence skills. Finally, particular ethnic cultural worship practices (African, African American, Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic, and Vietnamese) will be highlighted at different times throughout the quarter. An elective course; formerly PLIT 265; 4 units.

PLIT 235 - Sacraments of Healing

A consideration of liturgical prayer in relation of the contemporary experience of sickness and dying. The course will examine the theological, historical, and pastoral aspects of ministry to the sick and dying based on Pastoral Care of the Sick. An elective course; formerly CATE 233; 4 units.

PLIT 276 - Preaching and Presiding at Prayer

A praxis-oriented course in which student will learn the theology and the history of lay liturgical ministry by creating various liturgical events. The course also explores the process and practice of preaching, workshopping the preparatory study, writing, revising and delivering of the homily so that the student receives a practical experience of preaching. An elective course; formerly PLIT 217; 4 units.

Pastoral Ministries Elective Courses
PMIN 220 - The Wounded Healer

With his classic image of the "wounded healer," Henri Nouwen reminds us that imperfect people do effective ministry. Drawing on the insights of developmental psychology, The Spiritual Exercises, and contemporary theologies of ministry, this course examines the psychological and spiritual formation of the pastoral person. Students discover within their own human imperfection the deepest wellsprings of pastoral identity and ministerial effectiveness. They will also experience a model of theological reflection on ministry. An elective course; formerly PMIN 280; 4 units.

PMIN 221 - Pastoral Leadership

This course explores best practices in ministerial and organizational leadership in parish communities. Informed by the USCCB document, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, the class examines techniques and obstacles to fruitful collaboration between ordained and lay ministers, the importance of transparency, and the gospel values that inform and shape pastoral leadership. An elective course; formerly PMIN 219; 4 units.

PMIN 222 - Skills for Ministers

Ministry is a relational process which requires effective interpersonal communication. This course provides ministering persons an opportunity to explore, deepen, and expand their personal communication skills through experiential exercises, class feedback, and reflective self-examination. Topics explored include listening and attending skills, learning to ask questions, paraphrasing and encouraging, confronting and empathic listening. Basic principles and techniques of conflict resolution and use of small groups in ministry are also explored. An elective course; formerly PMIN 250; 4 units.

PMIN 223 - Ethics in Pastoral Ministry

This course addresses ethical conduct in ministry with emphasis on moral decision-making and servant leadership. The course focuses on the formation of conscience as it relates to the self, the profession, and the church. It examines toxic leadership and theoretical foundations of ethical behavior in an organization. It is also practical, providing the skills and resources needed to deal with various issues in ministry. The course introduces methods of discernment and application designed to help the student identify their personal mission and align professional conduct with that mission. An elective course; formerly PMIN 215; 4 units.

PMIN 224 - Ministry for Peace and Justice

An introduction to the Catholic Church's social teachings and a consideration of the relationship of those teachings to U.S. and global moral issues. An elective course; formerly PMIN 220; 4 units.

PMIN 230 - Introduction to Canon Law

This course introduces the nature, history, and function of Church law. It surveys the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law in the areas of general norms, the rights and obligations of the Christian faithful, Church structures, the teaching and sanctifying offices of the Church, temporal goods, sanctions and procedural law. An elective course; formerly CATE 275; 4 units.

PMIN 231 - Canon Law for Pastoral Ministers

Pastoral ministers will be introduced to the nature, history, and function of Church law. The course surveys the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law in the areas of general norms, the rights and obligations of the Christian faithful, Church structures, the teaching and sanctifying offices the Church, temporal goods, sanctions and procedural law. An elective course; formerly CATE 220; 4 units.

PMIN 236 - Creation, Science, and EcoTheology

Pastoral ministers will be introduced to the nature, history, and function of Church law. The course surveys the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law in the areas of general norms, the rights and obligations of the Christian faithful, Church structures, the teaching and sanctifying offices the Church, temporal goods, sanctions and procedural law. An elective course; 4 units.

PMIN 240 - Women in Ministry

It has been said that women perform 80% of the ministry work in the Catholic Church, even while they are excluded from ordained ministries. This course explores women's ministry roles from Jesus' movement to the present, examining the place that women have and might occupy in service of the people of God. An elective course; formerly CATE 226; 4 units.

PMIN 250 - Intergenerational Ministry

Taking the family as its inspiration and primary locus, this course explores the value of conducting pastoral ministry in ways that allow multiple generations to interact together. An elective course; formerly SPIR 249; 4 units.

PMIN 254 - Ministry to the Religious Other

This course invites participants to understand more deeply and increase their skill in working with people who are "other" than themselves—whether in terms of religious tradition, spiritual experience, different styles of holding faith, or different generational cultures (with their attendant spiritualities). This class presents assumptions and perspectives necessary to engage in interfaith/intergenerational spiritual accompaniment and ministry, and asks participants to explore and expand their ability to practice analogous empathic connection in order to connect their own religious and spiritual experiences to the spiritual experiences of the "other." Students will clarify populations with which they are able to work effectively and with integrity. An elective course; formerly PMIN 249; 4 units.

PMIN 260 - Ministry and Social Media

Social media is any kind of communication that is electronic and interactive. For example, this includes websites, blogs, discussion forums, Facebook, YouTube, Second Life, Twitter, as well as simple announcement-type media such as a parish websites. This course provides a brief overview of how media has historically been used for Christian ministry purposes. It explores the ways that social media is now being used for ministry, along with the theology and spirituality of social media and ministry. It trains the student to create a sample ministry using social medial. An elective course; formerly SPIR 253; 4 units.

PMIN 261 - Pastoral Aesthetics

Aesthetics—the study of the beautiful—is a productive lens through which to examine many pastoral issues. It is revelatory of Divine Mystery when words fail; it can transform us, as it can penetrate and open a heart, it can inspire new horizons in the minister and those receiving ministry. This course explores, examines, and applies the beautiful in three main movements: (1) the minister’s own encounter with the beautiful, (2) a theoretical but concrete understanding of the meanings and functions of the beautiful, and (3) pastoral applications of the beautiful in a given ministry. An elective course; formerly PMIN 211; 4 units.

PMIN 270 - Inter-Religious Dialogue

This course explores the major theological issues involved in inter-religious dialogue, and the implications of these issues for world events in the 21st century. An elective course; formerly SPIR 276; 4 units.

Restorative Justice and Chaplaincy Elective Courses
RJUS 235 - Ministry to the Sick and Dying

The course will consider liturgical prayer in relation of the contemporary experience of sickness and dying, with a particular focus on the ministry of chaplains. It will examine the theological, historical, and pastoral aspects of ministry to the sick and dying based on Pastoral Care of the Sick. An elective course; formerly PLIT 233; 4 units.

Spirituality Elective Courses
SPIR 220 - Spirituality and Ministry

This course examines the nature and development of ministry in the Church with special attention given to forms of adult ministry. An elective course; formerly SPIR 244; 4 units.

SPIR 221 - History of Christian Spirituality

This course is a study of major traditions and issues in Christian spirituality. It analyzes various spiritualities in terms of their historical context, suppositions, strengths, and weaknesses. An elective course; formerly SPIR 240; 4 units.

SPIR 222 - Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment

This course offers an in-depth study of the elements and dynamics of Ignatian spirituality through the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, including his spiritual exercises, autobiography, spiritual journal, and letters. Special emphasis is placed on his rules on discernment as a resource for communal and individual Christian decision-making. An elective course; formerly SPIR 242; 4 units.

SPIR 223 - Psychological Issues in Spirituality

This course explores the relationship of psychology to spirituality, emphasizing how the insights of psychology may be used in spirituality. An elective course; formerly SPIR 243; 4 units.

SPIR 224 - Prayer and Prayer Methods

This course offers an experiential and theological exploration of prayer and meditation methods within the Christian tradition, with an emphasis upon noticing and articulating one's religious experience as a foundation for personal and communal theological reflection. An elective course; formerly SPIR 248; 4 units.

SPIR 230 - Liturgical Spirituality

An introduction to the historical, theological, and cultural issues underlying the liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Christian churches. An elective course; 4 units.

SPIR 235 - The Art of Spiritual Direction

A practical course for those who want to explore what spiritual direction is and how it is done. Students should be willing to learn more about themselves both spiritually and psychologically and to explore the leading of God in their lives. Topics addressed will include prayer, discernment, listening, God's healing, transference and countertransference, and the differences between spiritual direction and psychotherapy. An elective course; formerly SPIR 260; 4 units.

SPIR 241 - Karl Rahner: Spiritual Writings

Drawing upon some of Rahner's popular works, retreat conferences, homilies, and more accessible theological essays, this course explores the relationship between Rahner's approach to Ignatian spirituality and ask how this approach can inform daily Christian life and ministry. An elective course; formerly SPIR 232; 4 units.

SPIR 260 - Spirituality in the Digital Age

This course focuses on expressions of Christian spirituality that utilize technologies or take place entirely within digital spaces. It probes the challenges to traditional structures and authorities that these technologies pose, while also exploring the new forms of spiritual expression, activism and commitment that are possible online. An elective course; formerly SPIR 252; 4 units.

SPIR 264 - Mystics, Prophets & Social Justice

Holy people throughout history have lived their lives in both deep relationship with the Divine and radical commitment in the world. In this course we will explore understandings of mysticism and prophecy and then consider the witness of women and men whose work for social justice grew out of their faith commitment. One or two different witnesses will be highlighted each week; figures include, among others: Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, John Woolman, Sojourner Truth, Walter Rauschenbush, Abraham Heschel, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Thomas Merton, Howard Thurman, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Archbishop Oscar Romero. Students will locally or nationally and will interview someone who works with that organization. An elective course; formerly PMIN 209 and PMIN 274; 4 units.

SPIR 248 - Prayer and Prayer Methods

An experiential and theological exploration of prayer and meditation methods within the Christian tradition, with an emphasis upon noticing and articulating one's religious experience as a foundation for personal and communal theological reflection. (Elective, 4 Units)

SPIR 280 - Spirituality and Health

The medical professions are paying more attention to the latest findings linking spiritual factors with health-related processes and outcomes. Through scripture, mystical tests, and ancient Christian practices, this course explores resources in Christianity that promote the cultivation of peace and well-being. A focus is placed on stories of healing in prophetic and wisdom literature and the New Testament, contemporary implications of Julian of Norwich's image of God, Teresa of Avila's four degrees of prayer, as well as devotions such as rosary beads, the hours, and chant. An elective course; formerly SPIR 285; 4 units.

SPIR 290 - Contemporary Issues in Spirituality

his course explores the ways traditional spiritual concepts and language need to be translated if they are to speak to our contemporary human experience. An elective course; formerly SPIR 246; 4 units.

Theology Course Electives
THEO 232 - The Psalms

The Psalter is a central resource for the liturgical prayer of the Church. This course studies the literary forms, historical contexts, and affective power of these poems and explores the settings within which they are are and might be used in the Church. An elective course; formerly PMIN 289; 4 units.

THEO 234 - The Quest for the Historical Jesus

This course examines the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Working with the available literary and archaeological evidence and criteria of historicity, we will explore the aspects of the gospel tradition that are most likely to be historically accurate. We will examine the factors that led the evangelists to reshape the received tradition for their own pastoral contexts. The archaeological record tells us little about Jesus directly, but reveals a great deal about the world in which he lived. This will allow us to build a picture of his society that will help us to place him in it and to understand what people believed about him, and why. An elective course; formerly PMIN 209; 4 units.

THEO 236 - Johannine Writings

This course focuses on the Gospel and Letters of John, emphasizing their unique view of Christ and Christian spirituality in comparison with the Synoptic Gospels. Special attention is given to the figure of the Beloved Disciple as the ideal believer. An elective course; formerly PMIN 217; 4 units.

THEO 237 - Pauline Writings

A study of the writings in the Pauline and deutero-Pauline collection, with special attention to the social context and pastoral issues that Paul and his followers faced in the early Christian church. An elective course; formerly PMIN 215; 4 units.

THEO 240 - Feminist Theologies

An exploration of the contributions of feminist theology on three levels: pastoral, academic, and popular. North American and Third World theologians will be examined in order to see both the global impact of feminist theologies and their liberating visions in the contexts of race, culture, and ethnicity. Special emphasis will be placed on the utilization of feminist theology in contemporary pastoral settings. An elective course; formerly PMIN 285; 4 units.

THEO 244 - Vatican II

No one doubts the significance of the Second Vatican Council for Catholic Christianity; knowledge of the history, theology, and consequences is essential for ministry. This course examines the central documents in detail in order to understand the theological positions adopted at the Council with special reference to current issues facing the Church. An elective course; formerly PMIN 208; 4 units.

THEO 245 - Future Church

Vatican II marked the opening of the third phase in the Catholic Church's self-understanding where the relationship between the Local Church and the Universal Church was re-configured. This course focuses on teachings that developed and changed as well as teachings that were retrieved from the first millennium in the life of the Church. There will be particular emphasis upon the four Constitutions since they provide the scaffold for Church life, especially at the parish and diocesan level. An elective course; formerly CATE 215; 4 units.

THEO 250 - Theology of Suffering

In pastoral practice suffering in its manifold forms presents challenges to Christian faith and practice. This course explores theological dimensions of the problem (e.g., how deeply God can be said to be involved in suffering in light of revelation), how suffering can help inform an integral spirituality, and how ministers of the Gospel can best encounter people who are in the midst of physical, psychological or spiritual suffering. An elective course; formerly PMIN 268; 4 units.

THEO 252 - Liberation Theology

Liberation and freedom are words that fill the contemporary theological, political, and social space. How do liberation theologies impact the quest for justice both as foundational Christian aspiration as well as a worldwide political quest? What does the search for justice have to do with pastoral ministries? An elective course; formerly PMIN 218; 4 units.

THEO 255 - Creation, Science and Ecological Theology

The field of ecological theology, or ecotheology, reflects critically on the Christian faith in light of the reality of ecological degradation and contemporary scientific insights into the "nature of nature" and the universe we inhabit. Following Pope Francis's observation that "an ecological approach always becomes a social approach," the discipline also attends to the intersection of ecological and social concerns, including racism, sexism, poverty, and other "obstructions of justice." Applied to the life of the church, ecotheology asks what Catholic Christians can do for the good of the world we share with what Charles Darwin described as "endless forms most beautiful": palms and squirrels, rivers and mountains, which Psalm 148 describes as praising God by simply being what they are. In this way, ecological theology offers a unique perspective on the intersection of theoretical, theological, pastoral, and ministerial concerns, seeking new ways of understanding God's will to life, flourishing, and the "splendid universal communion" of all God's creatures (Laudato Si'). An elective course; formerly PMIN 236; 4 units.

THEO 270 - Healthcare Ethics

Decisions about healthcare—either personal or professional—are shaped by ethics. This course explores the new genetics, cell, tissue and organ transplantation, death and dying, justice and access to healthcare. An elective course; formerly PMIN 226; 4 units.

Youth and Young Adult Ministries Electives
YMIN 230 - Theology, Sex & Relationships

This course is a study of the official method and anthropology employed in Catholic sexual ethics with review of magisterial documents regarding certain question in sexual ethics, fostering a theological and pastoral approach to sexual ethics for the contemporary church. The course will facilitate self-insight about the place of sexuality in one's own life. An elective course; formerly PMIN 286; 4 units.