Two new Catholic Social Teaching (CST) programs, supported by an $879,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., recently began enrolling students. In the Fall I term, the first cohort of students began taking classes in a new AA degree program in Theology with a concentration in Catholic Social Teaching designed especially for Hispanic Catholics, who will make up the majority of the U.S. Catholic population by 2030.
All courses in the affordable online AA degree program are taught in Spanish to ensure wider access to higher education for students who may not be fluent in English or prefer to learn in their first language. Upon earning the degree, students will be prepared to serve as lay ecclesial ministers in Catholic parishes and pursue further academic study. There is great need in the Hispanic community to develop well-educated leaders for the Church of the 21st century.
A graduate certificate program in CST, with classes taught in English but with options for reading and writing in Spanish, is also now enrolling students. In the Fall II term, graduate certificate students can enroll in CST 510. Social Doctrine of the Church: 1891-1965
. Classes begin October 23rd.
The graduate program was developed by Rev. Avelino González-Ferrér, a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, and is targeted to ecclesial ministers who seek to deepen their understanding of CST to better serve their faith communities. Many Catholic pastoral leaders feel insufficiently knowledgeable when faced with the challenges of immigration, racism, poverty, and family breakdown. The curriculum draws upon the Church’s broad and deep intellectual tradition to provide the wisdom and insights needed to address these issues within local parishes. There are also plans to develop a hybrid seminar-travel experience in Rome through which students can earn academic credit.
“CST is essential to the new evangelization and provides a lens through which to view the issues of our time more clearly,” says Bishop Robert Barron, the 2021 recipient of CDU’s Founders Award. He added that Catholic social teaching is “not just for us, it’s for the whole world. We need to propagate it, we need to teach it. We need to announce it from the rooftops.”