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Secretariat for Evangelization
Black Catholics

M.A.A.C. Certificate Program

Religious Studies Division
in cooperation with the
Office for Black Catholics
an undergraduate program leading to a
Certificate in Pastoral Ministry
to African-American Catholics

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, in cooperation with the Office for Black Catholics, Secretariat for Catholic Life and Formation, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, offers an undergraduate certificate program especially designed for those engaged in and/or preparing for involvement in pastoral service to parish communities of largely African-American Catholic membership. The program is also open to all interested persons, regardless of religious or ethnic background.

The goals of the certificate program are:

1) to foster a greater knowledge and a deeper appreciation of the Catholic Church, its theological traditions and its pastoral mission;

2) to enrich the faith life and theological understanding of those who offer pastoral service to parish communities;

3) to develop a familiarity with and an appreciation for the rich history and cultural contributions of African-American Catholics in the United States;

4) to provide practical and supervised training in various pastoral skills needed for ministry to communities of largely African-American membership, particularly in an urban setting;

5) to foster the development of pastoral leadership among African-American Catholics for the enrichment of the Church.

The certificate program consists in a series of undergraduate level academic courses and a supervised pastoral practicum, leading to the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry to African-American Catholics, to be awarded after the successful completion of the prescribed twenty-four (24) credits through the Religious Studies Division of the Seminary.

The curriculum includes four parts: a) four core courses (12 credits) in Catholic theology; b) two specialized courses (6 credits) in the history and faith life of African-American Catholics; c) one elective course (3 credits); and d) one practicum course (3 credits).

The core courses prescribed for the certificate program include:

RS 100 series Sacred Scripture Course
RS 241: Theology of the Church
RS 295: Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillars I & III
RS 296: Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillars II & IV

The specialized courses required for a concentration in ministry to African-American Catholics are:

RS 245: The History of Black Catholics in the United States
RS 420: Pastoral Issues in African-American Communities

The elective course may be chosen from among the undergraduate courses offered in the Religious Studies Division. Each candidate is encouraged to enroll in an elective course which is associated with that area of specialization chosen for the candidate' s practicum course.

The curriculum concludes with a practicum course (3 credits) entitled RS 421: Service Project in Ministry to African-American Catholics. Each candidate will select a specific area of focus from among the following: 1) evangelization; 2) religious education; 3) family life ministry; 4) youth ministry; and 5) liturgy and spirituality. In order to qualify for enrollment in the practicum course, a candidate must have completed all other course requirements for the certificate.

A maximum of six undergraduate credits in equivalent courses from other accredited programs in Religious Studies or Black Catholic Studies may be accepted towards the certificate. Courses taken more than six years before the request is made or in which a grade of a least A C @ has not been attained will not be accepted in transfer. Requests to transfer credits should be directed to the Academic Dean of the Religious Studies Division.

The certificate program may be completed in three years, pending the availability of the required courses and a supervised practicum in any three year period; the program should normally be completed within a four-year period. Credits accumulated from courses taken more than six years past are not accepted toward the awarding of the certificate.

Applicants for the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry to African-American Catholics should have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Those seeking admission to the certificate program should:

1) complete an application form and return it to the Religious Studies Office.

2) submit to the Religious Studies Office with the formal application a personal statement indicating his/her purpose in seeking admission into the certificate program.

3) ensure that an official copy of his/her high school and/or college transcript is sent directly to the Religious Studies Office.

4) ensure that a letter of recommendation from the pastor of the applicant = s home parish or parish of service, and/or from another parish staff person familiar with his/her personal background and experience in pastoral service is sent directly to the Religious Studies Office. Non-Catholic applicants may submit a letter of recommendation from the minister and/or staff person of their own church community.

The MAAC program is to be staffed by a MAAC administrator, a position that is accountable to both the Director, Office for Black Catholics and the Academic Dean, Religious Studies Division, in a number of specified areas. Primary areas of responsibility consist of assisting those interested in enrollment in the program; facilitating the application process; marketing and promoting the program in African American parishes of the Archdiocese; and making available to pastors and others, materials related to the program.

The primary intent of the MAAC Program is to provide an academic setting to form and develop students for leadership for the African-American parishes of the Archdiocese. This education program may be funded through tuition reimbursement by the Martin de Porres Foundation. There is an expectation of those funded that successful completion of the certificate program will lead to active participation and involvement in an individual = s parish. However, this pastoral service is not a requirement of the certificate program but rather an expectation of the Foundation and/or sponsoring pastors.

For more information and for a certificate application form, contact
the Religious Studies Office at (610) 785-6578 or
the Office for Black Catholics at (215) 587-3387.