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Religious Education Certificate Course Schedule

​​​​​Each course of study is 10 hours in duration (2 hours per week for 5 weeks).  This time reflects the amount of study time, not the amount of time required online.  Online work usually requires reading teacher notes,  comments and discussions,  and participating in the overall process of online education at whatever time is convenient for you during each week. Students who successfully complete each course will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) from the School of Continuing Education, Providence College. 

Core Schedule 2017-2​018 


October 30 - Dec 3, 2017           REL  001  Catechesis:Theory and Practice                       Sarah Thomas Tracy
January 15 - Feb 8, 2018           REL 200  Sacraments: Rites, Roots and Rituals             Fr. John Unsworth
March 12 - April 15, 2018          REL 300  Catholic Christian Morality                               Ed Sirois
July 9 - August  12, 2018           REL 400  Prayer in the Catholic Tradition                       Fr. John Ludwig


Required​ Courses 

REL 001 Catechesi​​s: Theory and Practice    

How do we successfully pass on our Catholic Christian faith to future generations?  This course explores the theory and practice of catechesis.  Students examine some of the meanings and implications of theology as knowledge about God, belief as personal acceptance of theological truths, and religion as action emanating from those beliefs.  The focus throughout is on ways to inspire the young to internalize the Christian faith. 

Text: Maureen Gallagher, The Art of Catechesis: What You Need To Be, Know and Do, NJ: Paulist Press, 1998, ISBN: 080913778X 

REL 100 Und​​​erstanding the Christian Creed    

The course examines the central doctrines of Christianity as expressed in the Nicene Creed.  The meaning and implications of the four essential elements of Catholic Christian faith are explored.  These include: the divinity of Jesus and thus God as Trinity; the resurrection of Jesus and our hope of an afterlife; conversion away from the values of the world toward the values of God's kingdom; and membership and participation in the Christian community, the Church. 

Text: Brian Singer-Towns, Janet Claussen, Clare van Brandwijk, The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Winona, MN: St. Mary's Press, 2003, ISBN: 0884897591 

REL 200 Sacraments: ​​Rites, Roots and Rituals  

This course explores sacramentality, the Catholic attitude toward material reality as a means to experience God's presence, as well as the meaning of sacrament.  Students also learn about the history, evolution, and meaning of each of the Church's seven sacraments and explore the use of sacramentals in Catholic devotion. 

Text: Kurt Stasiak, Sacramental Theology: Means of Grace, Ways of Life, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2001, ISBN: 0829417214 

REL 280 Religious Literacy for Catholic Educators (Abrahamic Religions)

It goes without saying that we live in a global community, that we are so inter-related that events even in remote parts of the world can have a direct and immediate social, political and economic impact everywhere.  The need for mutual understanding and respect between cultures
has never been greater, and is perhaps a necessity for the survival of our race.  That mutual understanding and respect includes, as the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate* stressed, inter-religious dialogue, and the Council fathers made clear such dialogue is the responsibility of all Catholics, not bishops and Vatican officials alone.  After a quick look at that document, this five week program will focus on the three major religious traditions that trace their origins to Abraham, the “father of many.” After a brief introduction, ten days will be devoted to each of the three – Judaism, Christianity (we’ll focus on a non-Catholic tradition), and Islam.​ *”In Our Times: Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions”

Text:  Nancy Clemmons SNJM, Exploring the Religions of Our World, Notre Dame, IN, Ave Maria Press (2008).  (ISBN 978-1594711251)

REL 290 Religious Literacy for Catholic Educators (Asian Religions)

It goes without saying that we live in a global community, that we are so inter-related that events even in remote parts of the world can have a direct and immediate social, political and economic impact everywhere.  The need for mutual understanding and respect between cultures has never been greater, and is perhaps a necessity for the survival of our race.  That mutual understanding and respect includes, as the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate* stressed, inter-religious dialogue, and the Council fathers made clear such dialogue is the responsibility of all Catholics, not bishops and Vatican officials alone.  After a quick look at that document, this five week course and will focus on three major religious traditions with their roots in Asia.  After a brief introduction, ten days will be devoted to each of the three – Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism/Daoism. *”In Our Times: Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions”

Text:  Nancy Clemmons SNJM, Exploring the Religions of Our World, Notre Dame, IN, Ave Maria Press (2008).  (ISBN 978-1594711251)​

*​The same text book will be used for both courses, and the courses may be taken in any order.


REL 300 Catholic Chri​​stian Morality  

What makes an act or omission moral or immoral?  Why act morally?  What does it mean to be fully human and fully alive?  Should morality focus more on the rightness and wrongness of specific acts, or on the development of individual conscience and character?  What is natural law?  What are some of the key principles of Catholic moral teaching?  These and other fundamental questions and issues of morality are examined in this course. 

Text: Russell B. Connors, Christian Morality: In the Breath of God, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2001, ISBN: 0829417222 

REL 400 P​​rayer in the Catholic Tradition

The adjective catholic means "universal, extensive, and wide-ranging."  The Roman Catholic Church is a community of believers that embraces rich spiritual traditions and diverse forms of prayer.  This course surveys the major expressions of Catholic Christian spirituality and some of the many forms and styles of personal and communal prayer and devotions that are part of the Church's ongoing tradition. 

Text: Prayer by Joyce Rupp, RCL Benziger, Orbis Books 2007. ISBN-978-1-57075-712-9 

Elective ​Courses 

REL 210 An Introdu​​​ction to the Bible    

A survey of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, this course offer students an overview of the bible and the variety of literary forms it contains.  Issues such as the importance of context, the various translations, and the many ways scripture is used in the life of the Church are examined. 

Text: Margaret Nutting Ralph, Scripture: Nourished by the Word, Chicago: Loyola University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0829417206 

REL 220 ​​Who Do We Say He Is?  

What does the Church teach about the person and ministry of Jesus Christ?  This course surveys this central element of Christian faith, our profession of faith that Jesus, the savior, is the Son of God. 

Text: Matthias Neuman, Christology: True God and True Man, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2001, ISBN: 0829417192 

REL 230 The Moth​​​er of God in Catholic Tradition  

The role of Mary as presented in the New Testament and in the tradition of the Church is examined in this course.  Students will appreciate her part in the history of salvation, in Church teaching, and in the prayer life of Christians. 

Text: James P. Campbell, Mary and the Saints: Companions on the Journey, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2001, ISBN: 0829417257 

REL 240 What Does it Mean To ​​Be Church?

This course explores the various models of the Church that are found in sacred scripture and in the Catholic tradition.  Special emphasis will be placed on the Second Vatican Council's understanding of the meaning and mission of the Church. 

Text: Morris Pelzel, Ecclesiology: The Church as Communion and Mission, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2001, ISBN 0829417265 

REL 250 Catholic Social​ Teaching

How does the Church understand her mission in the world today?  How do we continue the work of Jesus in the concrete circumstances, the real world, we find ourselves in?  This course surveys the major elements of what the U.S. Bishops recently called one of the Church's best kept secrets - Catholic social teaching. (It is recommended but not required that students first complete the  Morality course before electing this course)

Required text: Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching by Kenneth Himes, 2001: Paulist Press, ISBN 080914042X 

Optional text: A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching by Kevin McKenna, 2002: Ave Maria Press, ISBN 0877939799 

Leadership Cou​​rses 

REL 410 Supervising Relig​​​ious Instruction  

What can the educational leader do to help teachers improve religious instruction? This course provides strategies and context for effectively appraising the quality of religious instruction in the classroom. The educational leader will learn to identify and evaluate both general teaching behaviors and those specific to religious education. 

Text: Thomas H. Groome, Ed.D., General Editor Michael J. Corso, Ph.D., Managing Editor Empowering Catechetical Leaders, Washington DC: National Catholic Educational Association 1999, ISBN: 1558332197 

REL 420 Evaluating the Religious​​​ Education Program and the School Climate  

What makes a school truly and identifiably Catholic? This course examines the major standards that reinforce the Catholic character of a school. Special emphasis is placed on the evaluation of the religious education curriculum. Educational leaders also learn effective methods for evaluating religion textbooks and religious series. 

Text: Architects of Catholic Culture: Designing and Building Catholic Culture in Catholic Schools by Timothy Cook. (NCEA Monograph Series, NCEA, Washington DC)