June 7, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The CUA School of Theology and Religious Studies has quadrupled its enrollment of students pursing Doctor of Ministry degrees, by restructuring its Doctor of Ministry degree program as a flexible summer offering that allows students to attend courses in summer without giving up their jobs or active ministries.
The 36-credit program, which runs for the first time from May 22 to June 10, provides for students to take two classes per summer over the course of four years and requires six credits of coursework to be done in online classes held between the summer sessions. The new Doctor of Ministry program drew 21 students this summer. In the last few years, the more traditional program — which required two years of full-time coursework at the university from late August to early May — averaged an annual enrollment of between four and six students each year.
“The program’s off to a flying start, we’re very enthused,” said Rev. Francis Moloney, S.D.B., dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies. “These students are from all over the United States — San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Boston, St. Paul — and some come from our local area as well. We’re hoping this program will build on its current success and continue to grow in coming years.”
All the students in the program have master’s degrees and will return to CUA to study each summer until they’ve concluded their coursework, a thesis and faculty evaluations. The program has particular appeal to priests and lay ministers who live far from Washington, D.C., or cannot break away from their ministry or regular employment to pursue graduate work
Rev. Charles Gravenstine, CUA’s associate supervisor of pastoral studies and director of the Doctor of Ministry program, said flexible programs will become increasingly popular as the Catholic Church tries to meet the growing needs for clergy by increasing lay ministers while keeping as many ordained priests in ministry as possible.
“We really wanted to make this degree more available to people doing active ministry – both ordained and lay people,” said Gravenstine, who has been co-teaching this summer’s courses with Rev. Frank Danella, O.S.F.S., associate dean for the seminary and ministry programs. “Fewer lay people could afford this program in terms of the investment of money and time off from work, and fewer religious were being released from their ministry.”
Gravenstine said the new program has attracted a diverse student group.
This summer’s enrollment includes 14 men and 7 women; of those, 13 men are ordained – 12 Catholic priests and one Lutheran minister. The 14th male student is the chancellor of his diocese. Of the eight laypeople, most are functioning as pastoral ministers; one is a director of religious education and another is administering a grant for the Lilly Foundation that related to the development of lay ministry.
“I came here because of the reputation of the school – I wanted to learn more about becoming an excellent lay ecclesial minister,” said Rose Marden, a pastoral associate at St. Helena Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas.
Her classmate, Rev. Reginald LaFleur of the Commonwealth of Dominica, came to CUA’s summer program because it will allow him to more quickly return to his ministry.
“This will save me from doing two years of full-time studies,” LaFleur said. “This works out very well for me.”
MEDIA: For more information about the Doctor of Ministry program or to arrange interviews
before the summer course ends June 10, contact Chris Harrison or Katie Lee in the
Office of Public Affairs by calling 202-319-5600 or e-mailing:
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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.