In a major that studies Pastoral Ministry it is important to learn from those who has studied Pastoral Ministry and also possesses concrete experience as a practioner. Lisa M. Gulino has twenty years of Diocesan experience in Evangelization, catechesis and pastoral planning. In addition, she has several years of experience in parish leadership, campus ministry, and academia. This experience affords students opportunities to grapple with the important questions, concerns, and topics necessary to form pastoral leaders for the Church of the 21st century who are engaged in the new evangelization.
Diocesan Leadership experience has included fostering collaborative ministry with Clergy and Lay Pastoral Leaders to vision and implement evangelizing catechesis; she has worked to foster a culture of life-long faith formation; and she has instructed leaders to help parishes form intentional disciples. Lisa and the adjunct staff teaching in this program have knowledge of the best practices in the field of pastoral ministry and are rooted in theological formation. Students learn the necessary skills for the Church leader of today and the future.
Evangelization, Catechesis, Rite of Christian Initiation, Leadership Development, and strategic planning for parishes. Writing Guidelines and procedure manuals to help parishes and dioceses create pro-active strategic plans and formative programs to foster the mission of the Church. Create assessment tools and surveys which assist parishes to discover and discern practical, effective means to help form intentional disciples, practices.
What makes a theology degree at Brescia unique?
Brescia University’s Bachelor of Arts in Theology with an Emphasis in Pastoral Studies is for students who are interested in ministry as a volunteer, or as a full- or part-time career option. Our online Bachelor of Arts in Theology program forms lay ecclesial ministers in accordance with the directives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These national standards identify competencies in four main areas: Human, Spiritual, Intellectual, and Pastoral. What makes the experience at Brescia unique is the rich heritage we have in the Ursuline tradition of personal and social transformation through education, with its attention to individual needs and circumstances and its deep appreciation of education as holistic, touching body, mind, and spirit.
How will my degree from Brescia prepare me for Lay Ecclesial Ministry?
Students will be prepared on two levels. First, Brescia offers a liberal arts education that shapes the whole person and is characterized by the search for knowledge and career preparation. Liberal arts introduces the student to the joy of learning for its own sake, as a participation in the Truth and Beauty that is God. The liberal arts open the doors of the humanities, the natural and social sciences, as well as the social sciences to the student, providing important building blocks for young women and men. Second, within the Theology and Pastoral Ministry coursework, the specific requirements for human and spiritual formation, professional development, and pastoral praxis are addressed and the student will make progress in developing the required portfolio for the common components of certification.
What can I do with my degree?
Allow me to say that this is a very exciting time to be studying theology and preparing to serve and participate in the mission of the Church. Since the Second Vatican Council opportunities for lay ecclesial ministers have continued to unfold and expand, and the last four popes have reminded, invited, and supported formation of the laity as co-collaborators in the vineyard of the Lord. Recently Pope Francis spoke to this commitment: “We need well-formed lay people, animated by a sincere and clear faith, whose life has been touched by the personal and merciful love of Christ Jesus” (Francis, 17 June 2016). He continued, “(The laity) also need to be able to go out and play a major role in the life and mission of the church….We need laypeople with a vision of the future” (Francis). Positions within the church would include but certainly not be limited to the following:
- Coordinator of Religious Education
- Parish Youth Minister
- Campus Minister
- High School Theology Teacher
- Parish Young Adult Minister
- Parish Pastoral Associate
- Coordinator of Evangelization
- Director of Life Long Formation
- Director of RCIA
- Coordinator for Faith and Justice
- Adolescent Pastoral Care Worker
- Diocesan Ministry
- Not-for-profit Agencies/Organizations
What type of classes would I take?
The classes in the major would begin by building a strong theological foundation, especially by looking at the sources of theology through such classes as: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Catholic Faith: An Introduction to Theology. After the foundation is established, the student would go on to study such topics as Catholic Moral Tradition and Contemporary Issues, the Sacraments of the Catholic Community, Faith and Justice: The Gospel and Social Values, and Spirituality and Vocation.
Once the student is firmly rooted in the primary sources of theology and has studied the systems of theology through study and theological reflection, the study of Pastoral Theology is undertaken. This field is primarily concerned with the basic principles, theories, and practices of caring and counseling in ministry. History and methods are examined to learn about how the faith is handed on from one generation to the next. Formation in Servant Leadership and strategic planning prepares future Lay Ecclesial Ministers. Graduates of this program will have the knowledge and skills necessary to be agents of the new evangelization, effective leaders in faith formation, and strategic pastoral planners within diocesan ministries, parish life and Catholic schools.
What was the educational path you took to become a professor of theology at Brescia?
It seems to me I have been a volunteer in ministry for as long as I can remember. However, the more I served within the Church (even within a volunteer capacity), the more I knew I needed to support and strengthen my service with theological foundations. So I returned to school and received a BA in Theology. I was hired by the Diocese of Fall River as the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Evangelization. While honing my pastoral ministry skills, I knew I need to return to school and work on my Masters in Religious Studies. After many years in the Diocese I left to pursue my Doctorate in Ministry at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C.. Upon finishing my course work I accepted the position in the Diocese of Providence as Director of Faith Formation and Evangelization overseeing a Secretariat which included the majority of parish ministries. My journey has allowed me to wear many different hats in ministry: Campus Ministry, parish Director of Faith Formation, and Diocesan Director. This position at Brescia affords me the opportunity to share my years of experience in evangelization, catechesis, and pastoral planning with the up-and-coming leaders in the Church. It pleases me to help students study theology (“faith seeking understanding”), to review best practices in the field of ministry, and then to consider practical applications to parish and diocesan life, Catholic schools and other organizations. It is a joy to journey with the online community as each student expands their horizons in intellectual pursuits, spiritual and personal growth, and professional gifts that build up both the Church and world.