PT 301 Practicing Theology: For Life Abundant

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Module Level

8 [2.5 credits]

Related Department

Centre for Mission & Ministries

Time Allowance

Lectures: 12 Hours Learning journal: 6 Hours Essay: 8 Hours / Private Study: 24 Hours


Theological Reflection: 35% / Essay: 65% Students must pass all components of assessment in order to pass the module.

Module Aims

‘The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation, for God’s promise of abundant life is received and realized in and through relationships with others.’[1]

‘It is in relationships, in our communion with each other, rather than in isolation from others that we will find fulfilment. We will reflect God’s life if we live in this spirit of communion and collaboration and if our relationships are characterised by equality, mutuality and reciprocity. The vocation of the Church is to be a communion, a living source of Trinitarian relationships.’[2]

This module will enable students to understand pastoral ministry in the context of ecclesiology. It will assist them to recognise and understand the interconnection of relationships in the communion of the Church, essential to fruitful, collaborative ministry in contemporary settings. The module provides an opportunity to develop skills in pastoral and theological reflection in service of healthy collaborative ministry practice.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • Ministry as ecclesiology
  • Relationships in a wounded Church.
  • Identity in ministry.
  • Being Church and doing ministry.
  • Reflexive practice for life abundant.
  • Ministry and the Spirituality of Communion
  • Ministry, Baptism and Eucharist.

[1] Dorothy C. Bass and Craig Dykstra, For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry (Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 357.

[2] Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, The Sign We Give: Report from the Working Party on Collaborative Ministry (1995), p.20.

Learning Outcomes

  • On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:
  • • Describe the ecclesiologies which underpin ministry.
  • • Critically reflect on ministerial identity and relationships.
  • • Critically reflect on ministerial experience in the light of theology and other disciplines.
  • • Articulate the implications of collaborative ministry and ‘pastoral ministry in a missionary key,’ in Church life and ministry context.


  • Indicative Bibliography
  • Fiddes, P (2000) Participating in God: A Pastoral Theology of the Trinity, London: DLT.
  • Richard R. Gaillardetz and Edward P. Hahnenberg (eds.), A Church with Open Doors: Catholic Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2015).
  • Bradford E. Hinze, Prophetic Obedience: Ecclesiology for a Dialogical Church (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016).
  • Loughlin Sofield & Carroll Juliano, Collaboration: Uniting our Gifts in Ministry (Notre Dame: Ave Maria, 2000).
  • Susan K. Wood (ed.), Ordering the Baptismal Priesthood: Theologies of Lay and Ordained Ministry (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2003).
  • James Woodward and Stephen Pattison (eds), The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2000)
  • James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, David Lonsdale (eds). Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology (London, UK: SCM, 2010)
  • Article:
  • Martin McAlindon ((2014) ‘Living Baptismally,’ Practical Theology, 7:4, 268-279.
  • Church Documents:
  • Second Vatican Council: Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (1964).
  • Second Vatican Council: Apostolicam Actuositatem: Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (1965).
  • Second Vatican Council: Presbyterorum Ordinis: Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (1965).
  • Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
  • John Paul II, Christifideles Laici: Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (1988).
  • John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Formation of Priests in the Circumstances of the Present Day (1992).
  • Congregation for the Clergy, The Gift of the Priestly Vocation: Ratio Fundamentalis Sacerdotalis (2016).
  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, The Sign We Give (1995).
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry (2005).
  • Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace: Lay Pastoral Ministers in the Church in Australia (2018).
  • Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Responsibility in Ministry: A Statement of Commitment (1996).
  • A Selection of other Reading:
  • Conway, E. (ed.). 2013. Priesthood Today: Ministry in a Changing World. Dublin: Veritas.
  • Cozzens, D. 2000. The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest’s Crisis of Soul. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.
  • Kevin Egan, Remaining a Catholic after the Murphy Report, (Dublin: Columba, 2011).
  • Christopher Fallon, Who Do we Think We Are? How Catholic Priests Understand Themselves Today. (London: Bloomsbury, 2015).
  • Edward P. Hahnenberg, Ministries: A Relational Approach (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003).
  • Mary McAleese, et al Five Years to Save the Irish Church (Dublin: Columba, 2018).
  • Enda McDonagh, Faith in Fragments (Dublin, Columba, 1996).
  • Ladislas Orsy, Receiving the Council: Theological and Canonical Insights and Debates (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2009).
  • Kenan B. Osborne, Orders and Ministry: Leadership in the World Church (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2006).
  • Milltown Studies No. 67 Summer 2011.
  • Journals:
  • Doctrine and Life
  • Practical Theology
  • The Furrow