UNIVERSITY of NOTRE DAME

INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LIFE

Echo Parish Catechetical Leadership

Echo Parish Catechetical Leadership is a two-year service-learning program that offers participants the opportunity to earn an M.A. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, to serve the Church in parish catechetical ministry, and to live in an intentional faith community while engaging in integrative spiritual formation.

 

Echo Benefits

  • Competitive Stipend ($12,000/Year)
  • Full-Tuition Scholarship for Master’s Degree in Theology from ND
  • Housing and Utilities at No Cost
  • Educational Allowances
  • Rent-Free Housing During Summers at ND
  • Full Meal Plan During Summers at ND
  • Medical Insurance, If Needed

 

M.A. in Theology
Apprentices spend two summers at Notre Dame taking courses in six areas of theology (biblical, historical, liturgical, moral, spiritual, and systematic) for the 42-credit hour Master’s Degree in Theology with a concentration in catechesis from the University’s Department of Theology. Participants engage in on-line courses during the academic year and return to campus in the third summer to take comprehensive exams. Courses in catechetical theology have been designed specifically for Echo parish apprentices. Additional courses in pastoral theology engage participants in theological reflection and integration, and prepare them in specific areas of ministry including but not limited to youth and young adult ministry and family ministry.

Two-Plus-Year Curricular Sketch

Year One

Summer: 14 academic credit maximum

  • Intro to Catechetical Theo (3 credits)
  • Christian Doctrine for Catechists (3 credits)
  • Pastoral Theology (2 credits)
  • Two additional courses (6 credits) in Biblical Studies, History of Christianity, Liturgical Studies, Moral Theology, Systematic Theology, or Studies in Spirituality

Fall & Spring: 6 academic credits

  • Two on-line courses during the year (3 credits each) offered through the Department of Theology

Winter: 2 academic credits

  • Pastoral Theology Workshop

Year Two

Summer: 15 academic credit maximum

  • Four courses (12 credits) in Biblical Studies, History of Christianity, Liturgical Studies, Moral Theology, Systematic Theology, or Studies in Spirituality
  • Theological Integration (3 credits)
  • Comprehensive Review (credit applied after completion of exam)

Fall: 3 academic credits

  • One on-line course during the fall semester offered through the Department of Theology

Winter: 2 academic credits

  • Pastoral Theology Workshop

End of Year Two of Ministry

Third Summer: 1 academic credit

  • Apprentices and theology teachers return to campus in July for M.A. written and oral comprehensive exams.

 

Service to the Church
Echo partners with dioceses around the country who, in turn, identify partner parishes interested in receiving a parish apprentice. Echo does not currently place parish apprentices and theology teachers within the same living community.

Echo parish catechetical apprentices engage in leadership in a variety of parish catechetical ministries, including but not limited to RCIA, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Adult Faith Formation, and Social Justice Ministry. Parish apprentices are matched with a mentor who is a catechetical leader on staff at their assigned parish to help guide their ministry experience and assess their professional development.

 

Integrative Formation
In addition to their graduate study in theology and service in parishes or schools, Echo parish apprentices engage in communal, human, and spiritual formation that complements and integrates their study, service, and life of faith. This comprehensive approach helps Echo apprentices become skilled, theologically-informed leaders as well as authentic and inspiring witnesses of the faith to those they serve.

Communal Formation
Apprentices live together in an intentional faith community, pray together three times weekly, gather for a weekly community night that includes dinner, faith-sharing, and a community activity, meet monthly with an Echo Formation Assistant (EFA), attend a Day of Reflection with the EFA each fall and with the diocesan leader each spring, and develop a community covenant outlining their shared commitments for the year.

Human Formation
Echo offers participants several human formation workshops throughout their time in Echo, including understanding family systems, sexuality, human development, communication, conflict resolution, and healthy professional and personal boundaries, among others.

Spiritual Formation
In order to lead others in faith formation, ministers must continually engage in their own ongoing spiritual formation. Spiritual formation in Echo includes the development of an annual Formation Covenant outlining the participant’s commitment to personal and communal prayer, required monthly spiritual direction, full engagement in parish life (whether placed at a parish or a school), and participation in a series of program retreats designed and directed by Echo staff.