Master of Pastoral Theology Program offers professional, personal growth

By Barb Arland-Fye

Cheryl Wagner and her husband, deacon candidate John Wagner, are graduates of the first class of the Master of Pastoral Theology program, a collaboration between St. Ambrose University and the Davenport Diocese. A new class begins in August.

DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University and the Davenport Diocese are forming the second class of the Master of Pastoral Theology program to help prepare aspiring deacon candidates and other individuals for ministry.
A growing number of paid positions in the Church — education, health care, parish administration, for example — require or will require advanced degrees, observes IlaMae Hanisch, who coordinates adult and family formation and lay ministry for the Davenport Diocese. The diocese’s Ministry Formation Program (MFP) feeds into the Master of Pastoral Theology Program and has some St. Ambrose professors as instructors. Students expand their theological and pastoral knowledge in the MFP program, but do not earn a degree. Individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply for the four-year Master of Pastoral Theology (MPTh) program, which begins its second “cohort,” or class, in August.
Earlier this month, eight students graduated from the first four-year cohort, earning their Master of Pastoral Theology degree. Several of their classmates are completing final projects and plan to graduate later this year. Among the 25-plus classmates of the first cohort were 12 deacon candidates who will be ordained permanent deacons for the Davenport Diocese in July, and their wives.

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