Commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Co-workers in the Vineyard

December 17, 2015

In the last issue of Divinity Digest, we noted that this month marks the tenth anniversary of Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, a statement by the Catholic bishops of the United States on the proper formation of lay ecclesial ministers. Co-Workers addressed the need for holistic development in the areas of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation for lay men and women, as well as members of religious orders, who are active in a variety of ministries that further the mission of the Church in the world.  

Here at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, we have several degree programs that facilitate the formation of the laity as envisioned by Co-Workers in the Vineyard. Most explicitly, the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry (MAPM) degree program includes required elements that engage students well beyond the classroom to promote formation in each of the areas listed above. In fact, the most recent revision of the MAPM curriculum in 2008 used Co-Workers as a blueprint to ensure that graduates would be equipped with the skills and attributes necessary for effective ministry in the complex world of the 21st century. Spiritual direction, guided retreats, pastoral placements, and capstone projects completed in a variety of real-world ministerial contexts complement rigorous academic coursework and enrich the preparation of MAPM students for fulfilling careers as lay ecclesial ministers. 

Other lay degree programs, including the Master of Arts in Religious Education (MARE) and the Master of Arts in Theology (MAT), are likewise attentive to the need for graduate-level training that includes not only a sound theological education, but personal formation as well. The MARE shares many close affinities with the MAPM degree program, and hence, provides religious educators in schools and parishes with the practical skills and spiritual nourishment needed to transmit the faith effectively to the next generation of believers. Although often described as a research-oriented degree, the MAT is frequently pursued by individuals who land teaching positions in high schools or colleges, or who assume ministry related positions at local parishes, non-profit organizations, diocesan tribunals, etc. In each of these contexts, graduates draw upon the formation they received through their participation in the special days of recollection for lay students, the prayer and liturgical life of the community, and the overall focus of the School of Divinity to prepare individuals for service and leadership in the Church and society. 

The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity is both a graduate school of theology and a professional school of ministry. All of its degree programs nurture and guide students in a multitude of ways to support the growth and development of the whole person. As a community of learners and disciples of Christ, the students, faculty, staff, and administration of the School of Divinity seek to respond faithfully and unequivocally to God's call to be "co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord."

To receive program and course information, please contact our Admissions Counselor, Amy Burback.