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Courses Description – The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego

Diocesan Institute Courses Description

C100 Basic Elements of Catholicism (20 hrs) Survey of Catholic practice and belief, illustrated in the lives of American saints and using as text the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults.

C110 Catechism of the Catholic Church (15 hrs) A survey of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an introduction to foundational elements of Catholicism. How to navigate the Catechism and use it fruitfully as a resource.

C120 Local Church (15 hrs) Introduction to the people, history, parish/diocesan structures and ministries of the Diocese of San Diego, in the vision of the local Church found in the diocesan General Plan for Multicultural Collaborative Ministry.

C130 Church History: the Early Church to Charlemagne (15 hrs) Christian life and church structures from the founding of Christ’s community to the dawn of the Holy Roman Empire. Focus will include major events, persons, movements and trends.

C140 Church History: Middle Ages to the Reformation (15 hrs) Christian life and Church structures from the Middle Ages to the Reformation. Monasticism, the Crusades, the schisms of East and West, the papal crises and other events leading to the Reformation and the Council of Trent will be explored.

C150 Church History: Trent to the Modern Era (15 hrs) Christian life and Church structures from Trent to World War II. Trent, the Counter Reform, spiritual movements, the rise of science and the missionary activities and events up to Pius XII and World War II will be explored.

C200 Introduction to Morality (30 hrs) Based on the Christian anthropology of Vatican II, focusing on conversion in Christ; conscience, freedom, and moral values of the individual in relation to the Church and society; realities of sin and grace; the natural law, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes as guides to Christian living.

C205 Catholic Approach to Scripture (10 hrs) Introduction to the entire collection of books we recognize as God’s Word in light of recent Church documents, to encourage familiarity with the Bible for today’s Catholic.

C210 Introduction to Old Testament (30 hrs) God’s revelation and relationship with humanity recorded in the Old Testament. The faith tradition will be reflected upon by use of the Bible, together with a study of the history and culture of ancient Israel and her neighbors.

C220 Introduction to New Testament (30 hrs) Introduction to the structure and themes of the New Testament. The New Testament witness in the context of its historical and cultural influences includes God’s self-revelation in the person of Jesus Christ, His mission and titles; the Kingdom of God; the Gospel moral code; the Holy Spirit and the Church in the biblical era.

G100 Fundamental Theology (15 hrs) Divine Revelation in relation to Tradition and Scripture, plus the Catholic understanding of inspiration, the inerrancy of the Bible and the canon of books considered the Word of God. The act of faith in response to Revelation is examined, and the role of both faith and Revelation for theology, and in relation to science are explored. Prerequisite: C110 Recommended: C210 or C220

G120 Introduction to Spirituality (30 hrs) The foundations of Christian spirituality and methods of prayer. Survey of major Christian spiritual traditions, including Church Fathers, monastic and mendicant spirituality, the devotio moderna, lay spirituality, Marian devotion and current Catholic spiritual movements and trends. Prerequisite: C110.

G130 Christology (30 hrs) Jesus’ Person and redemptive relationship to humanity, from Old Testament hope of a Messiah; Jesus as Son of man and Son of God, with focus on the consciousness of Christ and Christ as head of the Church. The development of doctrines and devotions through the ages will be explored. Prerequisite: C220 Recommended: G100.

G140 Ecclesiology (30 hrs) The theology of the Church presented by Vatican II, drawing on the Church’s awareness of itself as it developed through the centuries. The Church as Mystical Body of Christ, as the People of God, the seed of the Kingdom and as a hierarchical communion of disciples will be the primary models. Prerequisite: G130

G150 Introduction to Liturgy and Sacraments (30 hrs) The liturgical aspect of the Church’s mission, with focus on Vatican II’s renewal of the Church year, major rites, and roles of liturgical ministers. The link of sacraments to the sacramentality of Christ and of the Church, as “mysteries” and sources of grace. Prerequisite: G140

G160 Catholic Social Teaching (30 hrs) Exploration of human persons as images of God, including stewardship of creation, the value of human work and family life. Use of material resources to fulfill the gospel mandate toward the poor and afflicted, and the criteria for justice and peace in society’s activities and structures will be examined. Prerequisite: C200

G200 Pastoral Focus for Cultural Diversity (15 hrs) Emphasis on the incarnational aspect of faith, of church life and ministry, to build awareness of a sensitivity to the variety of cultures, spiritualities and forms of religiosity to be found in the Church. Cultural expressions of the Catholic faith to be found locally in the Diocese of San Diego will be identified and explored. Prerequisite: C120 Recommended: G140

G400 Introduction to Church Government (30 hrs) The Canon Law of the Church as more than merely human regulations, but rather a “holy discipline” for the orderly and efficient accomplishment of the Church’s three-fold mission. Emphasis given to diocesan and parish structures and administration, the complementary roles of clergy and laity, and canons on the sacraments. Prerequisite: G140


S100 Faith Growth: Childhood and Early Adolescence (15 hrs) Personal psychological growth and its implications for the development of faith and morality in the child and early adolescent. Applications to catechesis and general ministry to these age groups will be highlighted.

S110 Family Systems (15 hrs) Survey of psychological profiles of family life, modes of communication, and the family’s role in education.

S120 Catechetics (15 hrs) The vocation of the catechist, history and theology of catechetics, its current methods and directions will be explored. Guidelines for decision-making regarding content, methods, and curriculum for various forms of catechesis will be outlined. Prerequisite: C110 Recommended: S100 or S105

S140 Facilitating Scripture Study (15 hrs) Practical considerations on how to organize and conduct Bible-studies, evaluation of existing programs, the place of a Bible-study in adolescent and adult faith education.

S150 Adult Religious Education (15 hrs) Study of adult learning styles and the process of faith growth in adults. Development and practical implementation of parish programs of religious education for adults.

S160 Lectionary-based Catechesis (15 hrs) A pastoral-theological method for hearing and teaching the Word. An approach for conversing with the Scriptures within the context of the catechumenate and classroom catechesis.


S200 Sacraments of Initiation (15 hrs) Exploration of the theology, history and practice of the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – with emphasis on the theology behind the renewal of the rites. Prerequisite: G150

S215 Sacraments of Healing and Vocation (15 hrs) Exploration of the theology and history of the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick, as signs of reconciliation and healing within the Christian community; and of the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders as calls to ways of life that reflect God’s care for His community, within the universal call to holiness. Prerequisite: G150

S230 Ecumenism (15 hrs) An overview of the different Christian faiths, their differences and common ground with Catholicism; the status of communion between churches and principles for dialogue. Prerequisite: G100

S235 The Eastern Catholic Churches (15 hrs) The apostolic roots and history of the Eastern Churches who are in union with Rome. The unique spiritual, liturgical and canonical characteristics that form their identities as local Churches within the communion which constitutes the universal Catholic Church.

S240 The Four Last Things (15 hrs) Biblical foundations and Catholic doctrinal development of the four last things: heaven, hell, judgement, and death, and resurrection.

S250 Introduction to Vatican II (15 hrs) Historical and theological context of Vatican II, an overview of its documents and their continuing implementation in the life of the Church.

S260 Doctrine and Role of Angels (10 hrs) The biblical witness to the character and role of angels, and the Church’s doctrinal understanding of their nature and mission in relation to Christ and the Church.

S265 Theology of the Body (15 hrs) The human body as a means of encounter, love and unity with God and others; and a means of self-knowledge. Christ’s redemption of the body within virginity and marriage, especially as presented in the thought of John Paul II.

S270 Theology of Marriage (15 hrs) The bond of Christian marriage, as expressed in canon law and the liturgical practice of the Church, embraces the personal, social and sacred aspects of the covenant between husband and wife. Prerequisite: C110

S280 Our Triune God (15 hrs) The mystery of the one God in three Persons, and the providence of the Father and the missions toward us of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as presented in Part One of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

S285 The Spirit of God, Lord of Life (15 hrs) Biblical, patristic and theological insights into the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit, and his role in developing the Christian life in individuals and in the Church. Recommended Preparation: S289 Our Triune God

S290 Christian Anthropology (15hrs) The Christian understanding of the human person and the basis for human dignity; the relationship between body and soul; and the social character of human beings, all as affected by sin and elevated by the grace of Christ.

S295 Mary, Mother of God and of the Church(15 hrs) Vatican II added the title “Mother of the Church” to the classic understanding of Mary as Mother of God. Biblical teaching and Catholic doctrine about Mary, along with classic Marian devotions and approved Marian apparitions, will be examined.


S300 Pentateuch (15 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and development of specific themes: creation, covenant, sin, exodus, liberation.

S310 Prophets (15 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and developments of specific themes: covenant, sin, social justice, messianc hope.

S320 Wisdom Writings (15 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and development of specific themes: virtue, suffering and death, wisdom, covenant and law.

S330 Psalms and Wisdom Writings (15 hrs) An introduction to the Psalms for contemporary prayer life. The themes of trust and hope, piety and wisdom, petition and praise to God will be highlighted.

S340 Apocalyptic Literature (15 hrs) Exploration of the apocalyptic writing of the Old and New Testaments, its literary genre and the historical contexts of its use in God’s Word.

S345 Acts and the World of the New Testament (15 hrs) Expressions of faith, the growth of the community, and the life of first century Christians, presented in the Acts of the Apostles and the context the Roman Empire at its height.

S350 Synoptic Gospels (30 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and development of specific themes as they are developed in each of the gospels: the person of Christ, discipleship, faith and conversion, miracles, parables, the Holy Spirit, sacraments and the Church.

S351 Gospel of Mark (15 hrs) Structure and exploration of themes of Mark’s gospel, including Jesus as the Son of God made man, discipleship, the cross and the Kingdom of God and eschatology.

S352 Gospel of Luke (15 hrs) Structure and exploration of themes of Luke’s gospel, including Jesus as the Savior of the world, the Holy Spirit, women and the poor, the Eucharist and prayer.

S353 Gospel of Matthew (15 hrs) Structure and exploration of themes of Matthew’s gospel, including Jesus as the Son of God made man, discipleship, the cross and the Kingdom of God and eschatology.

S360 John’s Gospel and Letters (15 hrs) The structure and specific themes of John: the person of Christ; truth, love, and the Eucharist; conversion, discipleship and the Holy Spirit; the glory of the cross.

S370 Pauline Writings (15 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and development of specific themes: justification and faith, Holy Spirit, law, Church, apostleship.

S380 Hebrews and the Catholic Epistles (15 hrs) Exegesis of selected passages and development of specific themes: the person of Christ, faith, and the life of the Church.

Moral Theology

S400 Sin and Reconciliation (10 hrs) Exploration of human alienation due to sin, whether original, personal or social. Practical steps of reconciliation with God, self and others offered by Christ through the rites of the Church and the pastoral outreach of its members.

S410 Conscience and its Formation (10 hrs) Biblical and systematic foundations of the Church’s teaching on conscience.

S420 Sexual Ethics (15 hrs) Principles of sexual morality in biblical and Church teaching, with special emphasis on natural law. Contemporary issues of abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and artificial reproduction will be covered. Prerequisite: C200

S430 Biomedical Ethics (15 hrs) Principles of morality for scientific and medical research and procedures: based on the dignity and integrity of the human person, theology of the body, and the theology of suffering in biblical and Church teaching. Prerequisite: C200

S440 Christians in Society (15 hrs) Exploration of the themes and emphases of Christians in society, in relation to the principles of Catholic social teaching as drawn up by the USCCB.

S450 Contemporary Social Issues (15 hrs) Examination of current social issues as they affect the lives of Catholics and parish ministry.

Canon Law

S510 Parish and Diocesan Structures (12 hrs) The code of Canon Law as the legal expression of Vatican II’s ecclesiology of communion, reflected in ecclesial organization at the diocesan and parish level.

S520 Marriage Canons (30 hrs) A detailed study of the canons on marriage with a view to their pastoral implications.

S521 Consent and Special Issues in Marriage & Nullity Procedures (15 hrs) Detailed exploration of consent required for valid marriage, and issues such as canonical form, dispensations, and interfaith marriage. The diocesan tribunal’s requirements and processes for dealing with annulments. Prerequisite: S520

S540 Rights and Duties of the Laity (15 hrs) The Code of Canon Law as the legal expression of Vatican II’s ecclesiology of communion, and in particular the role of the laity.

S550 Canon Law for Diaconate Ministry (15 hrs) Explanation of those canons in the 1983 Code of Canon Law that particularly pertain to diaconate ministry.

Church History

S600 History of Catholicism in the United States (15 hrs) A history of the Church in the United States from its immigrant beginnings to its present situation.

S610 Church Fathers(15 hrs) An introduction to the history, theology and spirituality of the Fathers of the Church: saintly pioneers and teachers of the Christian Faith from the first to the eighth century.


S700 Liturgical Time: the Year & Hours (15 hrs) The sanctification of time through liturgical cycle and the hourly prayers of the Church, emphasizing the use of Scripture and the psalms. Recommended Preparation: G150

S705 Introduction to the RCIA (15 hrs) Exploration of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults with general overview, specific methods of implementation, rites and rituals and practical applications for parish leaders, especially RCIA/CIC Coordinators, Teams and Sponsors.

S710 Eucharist & Sunday (15hrs) The biblical and liturgical meaning of Sunday; and the Eucharist, sacrament of the Paschal Mystery, as source and summit of the Christian life. Recommended Preparation: G150

S715 The New Roman Missal (10 hrs) An overview of the history of the Roman Missalwith special attention given to the English language translation and the implementation of the third edition (2011).

S720 Art & Environment (10 hrs) Historically and culturally diverse expressions of faith and worship in art and architecture, principles and applications. Recommended Preparation: G150

S730 Liturgical Music (15 hrs) Principles for the critique and selection of music appropriate for liturgical celebrations. Recommended Preparation: G150

S740 Planning of Liturgical Celebrations (15 hrs) The planning of liturgical celebrations: Sunday Eucharist, Christian Initiation rites, weddings, funerals, and other sacramental celebrations. Recommended Preparation: G150

S745 Forming Liturgical Ministers (15 hrs) Designing and implementing formation programs for lectors, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, ushers, greeters, altar servers, cantors. Recommended Preparation: G150

S760 Celebrating with Children (15 hrs) Study of the Directory for Masses with Children, with principles for planning liturgies and prayer services for children. Prerequisite: S120

S770 The Order of Christian Funerals (10 hrs) Study of the Order of Christian Funerals, with suggestions for planning funeral liturgies for various circumstances. Recommended Preparation: G150

S775 Bereavement Ministry (15 hrs) Parish response to the bereaved includes awareness of human feelings and needs in time of death and loss, familiarity with liturgical practice and planning regarding funerals and memorials, and organization of a parish bereavement team.

Catholic Spirituality

S800 Spirituality (15 hrs) Survey of major spiritual movements in the history of the Church, with exposure to spiritual writers of each era.

S801 History of Spirituality: 1st to 8th Centuries (Apostolic Era to Early Middle Ages) (15 hrs) Spirituality of the apologists, of the Fathers of the Church and of classical monasticism.

S802 History of Spirituality: 8th to 15th Centuries (15 hrs) Major figures and movements in spirituality in the high Middle Ages and pre-Reformation period, including popular piety.

S803 History of Spirituality: 16th-17th Century (15 hrs) Catholic and Protestant spiritualities of the Reformation period, especially Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits.

S804 Mendicant Spirituality (15 hrs) Spirituality of the medieval mendicant orders, especially Franciscans and Dominicans.

S805 Biblical Spirituality (15 hrs) Spirituality modeled by figures of the Old and New Testament, emphasizing qualities of humility, confidence in God, compassion for the poor and joyful hope.

S806 Monastic Spirituality (15 hrs) The spiritual model developed by monastic communities of men and women, centering on prayer, asceticism, community life and hospitality, from the late Roman Empire to the French Revolution.

S807 Ignatian Spirituality (15 hrs) An introduction to the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, including prayers and methods found in his classic, The Spiritual Exercises:Ignatian Contemplation, the Examen, and discernment.

S810 Dynamics of Conversion (15 hrs) Initial and ongoing conversion; sin and God’s mercy, St. Paul’s old/new man; grace, humility, truth; sin against the Holy Spirit.

S820 Prayer in the Catholic Tradition (15 hrs) Methods and difficulties in prayer, various kinds of prayer (vocal, mental, etc.), and the problem of “unanswered” prayer.

S825 Art and Theology of Icons (15 hrs) An introduction to the doctrinal, liturgical and spiritual role of icons in the Christian life, as well as the spiritual and artistic work of the iconographer. Seasonally appropriate icons and their meaning will be explored.

S826 Using Icons in the Spiritual Life of the Church (15 hrs) How icons are used to live the call to holiness: to focus catechesis, to create environments for liturgical celebrations, and to enhance personal meditation and prayer, both at church and at home. Traditional use of icons among Eastern Catholics will be the starting point.

S827 Christian Signs and Symbols (15 hrs) An exploration of the use of signs and symbolism in religion and art, with a survey of common signs and symbols drawn from Christian art and worship.

S830 Spirituality of Family Life (15 hrs) Marriage as the foundation of family spirituality. How the family continues the mission of Christ the Prophet, Priest and King.

S840 Theology of Suffering (15 hrs) Suffering in the Bible and theology, Christ’s redemptive suffering in its impact on spirituality.

S850 Christian Mysticism (15 hrs) History and theology of mysticism, with reading of key Catholic mystical writers.

S851 Spanish Mystics of the 16th Century (15 hrs) Spirituality of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, plus minor spiritual authors.

S852 Women Mystics through the Ages (15 hrs) Lives of women mystics, including Catherine of Sienna, Catherine of Genoa, Hildegard of Bingen, and Julian of Norwich.

S860 Spiritual Direction (15 hrs) History and theology of spiritual direction, and qualities and skills of a director.


S900 Christian Philosophy (15 hrs) Philosophical underpinnings of the Catholic Faith. For example: God’s existence, the character truth and human search for meaning.

S910 Faith and Science (15hrs) The relationship between faith and reason as shown in the modern sciences of psychology, biology, physics, cosmology and their methods will be examined.

Pastoral Administration & Structures

S1020 Pastoral Care & Counseling (15 hrs) Principles of pastoral care and parish ministry, with cultivation of effective listening skills, conflict management and communal decision-making strategies.

S1045 Pastoral Governance(15 hrs) Overview of how the General Diocesan Plan applies to diocesan administrative policies, especially regarding deacons. Reviews chain of command and lines of communication in the parish and the diocese, the role of the parish council and parish staff, budgeting, requisitions, sacramental record-keeping and financial record-keeping in the parish.

S1070 Parish Social Ministry(15 hrs) The place of social ministry in the mission of the parish, models for its organization and methods for developing active parish social ministry. Prerequisite: G160

S1080 Understanding and Serving the Needs of the Aging (15 hrs) Principles and challenges of ministry to the aging; practical considerations for developing a successful parish ministry for and with seniors.