Elective Unit (Min. No. 8)

2nd semester Wednesday evening


This unit will invite students to a consideration of issues and concerns in the theology and practice of ministry in contemporary Christian pastoral contexts. It will address the origins of Christian ministry in the Scriptures and the historical developments that have formed and informed the contemporary practice and theology of mission and ministry in both Catholic and ecumenical contexts. Ministry shapes the church but the church shapes ministry so we will examine the role that ecclesiology plays in the theology and practice of ministry. Lay and ordained ministry will be examined in the context of pastoral leadership and the necessity for a ministerial spirituality to sustain and develop the future shape of ecclesial ministry.



Undergraduate degree in theology or three foundational units in a postgraduate award



Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Describe and analyse the development of Christian ministry over the centuries
  2. Identify the different roles of lay and ordained ministry
  3. Analyse the relevant issues in contemporary pastoral leadership
  4. Articulate a spirituality that will sustain those in ministry
  5. Assess the importance of ecclesiology in developing a theology of ministry



2000 word presentation paper and 1000 word class feedback (50%); 3000 word essay (50%)


BIBLIOGRAPHY   * = set texts recommended for purchase

Barrett, David.  Ministry in the New Testament. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993.

Bernier, Paul. Ministry in the Church: a Historical and Pastoral Approach. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1992.

Brett, Gregory. The Theological Notion of The Human Person: A Conversation between the Theology of Karl Rahner and the Philosophy of John Macmurray. Bern: Peter Lang, 2013.

Gail Gaillardetz, Richard R. Ecclesiology for a Global Church: a People Called and Sent. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008.

Garrido, Ann M. Redeeming Administration: 12 Spiritual Habits for Catholic Leaders in Parishes, Schools, Religious Communities, and Other Institutions. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2013.

Gula, Richard. Just Ministry: Professional Ethics for Pastoral Ministers. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2010.

Hoge, Dean R., and Jacqueline Wegner. Evolving Visions of the Priesthood: Changes from Vatican II to the Turn of the New Century. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2003.

O’Meara, Thomas. Theology of Ministry. Revised Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1999.

Pickard, Stephen. Theological Foundations for Collaborative Ministry (Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology). London: Ashgate, 2009.

Osborne, Kenan B. Ministry: Lay Ministry in the Roman Catholic Church: Its History and Theology. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2003.

Power, David Noel. Mission, Ministry, Order: Reading the Tradition in the Present Context. New York: Continuum, 2008.

Sofield, Loughlan, and Carroll Juliano. Principled Ministry: A Guidebook for Catholic Church Leaders. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2011.

World Council of Churches. Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (Faith and Order Paper no. 111. The Lima Text). Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982.


Lecturer:           MICHAEL A. KELLY CSsR