PT 434: Theology and Pastoral Ministry

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Module Level

7/8/9: Dip/H.Dip / MTh

Time Allowance

Year Long, 30Hours, 1hr30mins PW (Dip/HDip); Year Long, 40 Hours, 2hours PW (MTh).



Module Aims

This module introduces students to the theological foundations of Christian discipleship and ministry, and enables them to explore key features of pastoral practice in varying contexts (ecclesial and secular). It draws out the pastoral and ministerial implications of major theological themes including the Incarnation, Revelation, Trinity, Christology, and Sacramentality. It further introduces students to the basic concepts of contextual theology, including methodological issues, providing a brief overview of Bevans’ classic models of contextual theology.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • What is Pastoral or Practical Theology?
  • What is Pastoral Care and Counselling?
  • The Art of Accompaniment.
  • Theology of Ministry: mission, discipleship, ministry, characteristics of ministry, sources of ministry, vocation, leadership, service.
  • The Practice of Ministry.
  • What makes Chaplaincy ‘Chaplaincy’? The identity and Integrity of Chaplaincy as a ‘Genre of Ministry’.
  • The relationship between Chaplaincy and Church-based Ministry.
  • Theology for Ministry: Theological Anthropology, Trinity, Christology, Sacramentality, Communion.
  • Contextual Theology: Bevan’s six models.

Learning Outcomes

  • On successful completion of this module, the student
  • • Have a good knowledge of the theological foundations of discipleship and ministry (ordained, religious, and lay).
  • • Be familiar with key teachings of the Second Vatican Council on the baptismal priesthood, the Church’s mission in the world, the apostolate of the laity, and the ministry of Bishops/clergy.
  • • Have an understanding of the different practices of ministry: teaching, preaching, leading worship/prayer, pastoral care, social ministry, and administration.
  • • Be able to articulate the relationship between chaplaincy and church-based ministries.
  • • Be able to articulate the pastoral implications of major theological themes.
  • • Be able to identify and articulate the theology that underlines and guides his/her approach to pastoral ministry and his/her developing understanding of own ministerial identity.
  • • Appreciate the complex interaction of received tradition/Christian identity and contextual reality/cultural identity.
  • • Differentiate between different models or ways of theologizing, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, and distinguish the presuppositions of theologians who employ such models.


  • Bevans, Stephen B. An Introduction to the Theology in Global Perspective. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2009.
  • ---. Models of Contextual Theology. 2nd. ed. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2002.
  • Cahalan, Kathleen A. ‘Pastoral Theology or Practical Theology? Limits and Possibilities.’ In Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology, eds. James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, and David Lonsdale, 99-116. London, UK: SCM Press, 2010.
  • Cahalan, Kathleen A. Introducing the Practice of Ministry. Collegeville, Minnesota: 2010.
  • Cahoy, William J., ed. In the Name of the Church: Vocation and Authorization of Lay Ecclesial Ministry. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2012.
  • Fox, Zeni. New Ecclesial Ministry: Lay Professionals Serving the Church. Franklin, Wisconsin: Sheed & Ward, 2002.
  • Gaillardetz, Richard R. and Catherine E. Clifford. Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2012.
  • Gerkin, Charles V. An Introduction to Pastoral Care. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1997.
  • Green, Laurie. Let’s Do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology, rev. ed. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.
  • Gula, Richard M. Just Ministry: Professional Ethics for Pastoral Ministers. Mahwah, New Jersey, 2010.
  • Hahnenberg, Edward P. ‘Learning from Experience: Attention to Anomalies in a Theology of Ministry.’ In A Church with Open Doors: Catholic Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium, edited by Richard R. Gaillardetz and Edward P. Hahnenberg, 159-180. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2015.
  • Hahnenberg, Edward P. Ministries: A Relational Approach. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Lartey, Emmanuel Y. Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2006.
  • Lakeland, Paul. The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church. New York: Continuum, 2004.
  • Lavin, Margaret. Theology for Ministry. Ontario, Canada: Novalis, 2004.
  • Lyall, David. Integrity of Pastoral Care. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge SPCK, 2001.
  • Lynch, Gordon. ‘The Relationship between Pastoral Counselling and Pastoral Theology.’ In The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology, edited by James Woodward and Stephen Pattison, 223-232. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
  • McClure, Barbara. ‘Pastoral Care.’ In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, edited by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, 269-278. Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
  • Osborne, Kenan B. Ministry: Lay Ministry in the Roman Catholic Church: Its History and Theology. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1993.
  • ---. Orders and Ministry: Leadership in the World Church. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2006.
  • Swinton, John and Ewan Kelly. ‘Contextual Issues: Health and Healing.’ In A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: Understanding Spiritual Care in Public Places, edited by Christopher Swift, Mark Cobb, Andrew Todd, 175-185. Surrey, England: Ashgate: 2015.
  • Van der Ven, Johannes A. Ecclesiology in Context. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996.
  • Wood, Susan K. ed. Ordering the Baptismal Priesthood: Theologies of Lay and Ordained Ministry. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2003.
  • Teaching of Church Leadership:
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Grouping Parishes for Mission: An Exploration of Key Issues. Dublin: Veritas, 2011.
  • Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Living Communion: Vision and Practice for Parish Pastoral Councils in Ireland Today. Dublin: Veritas, 2011.
  • Congregation for the Clergy. The Gift of the Priestly Vocation: Ratio Fundamentalis Sacerdotalis (2016).
  • Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace: Lay Pastoral Ministers in the Church in Australia (2018).