MOSAIC Fall 2016 - Page 36

S acred Heart’s innovative Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) is a pastorally-focused degree for priests concentrating on what has come to be known as the “New Evangelization.” Students learn to analyze contemporary social issues from a Catholic perspective and acquire real-world skills for reaching a culture that is becoming increasingly indifferent, if not hostile, to religious faith. Time for personal and communal prayer is an important part of the summer residency program. Priest-students form a strong community of support during the strenuous five-weeks of study. The STL is the first of its kind offered in a “blended” format. It allows priests from across the world to earn this pontifical post-graduate degree by taking most of the courses online. Priests satisfy the remaining coursework through a five-week summer residency term for four summers. Thirty-six STL students arrived at the seminary and began studies for the 2016 summer session on July 11, with the session ending on August 12. That total included priests (cohort one) who began their STL studies three years ago—the inaugural year of the blended format—along with those who began last year (cohort two), and those who have enrolled just this year and are attending their first summer session (cohort three). The thirty-six men came to the seminary from twenty-one U.S. dioceses, six international dioceses, and seven religious communities. They comprised the largest collection of STL students of any Catholic university outside of Rome. “With such a great representation from so many different places,” says Fr. Timothy Laboe, Sacred Heart’s dean of studies, “the intellectual dialogue in and out of the classrooms this summer has been particularly stimulating and enriching.” One-of-a-Kind Experience The STL summer term is academically intense—the men take four courses in two mini-sessions of two-and-one-half weeks 34 Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Fall 2016