Why did you decide to get a Masters in Theology? Why did you choose Newman to complete your degree?
I chose to earn a Masters in Theology for the only appropriate reason I can imagine: because I knew God was calling me to. My family and I chose Newman University through prayerful discernment while being attentive of God’s sign, .i.e., the Lord called us to Newman, the fruit of which was the blessing of the St. Maria de Mattias Endowment Scholarship.—Justin Steele
When we quit learning we die! This was an opportunity to deepen my faith and take my understanding of Catholicism to a new level while enjoying the challenge of learning new ideas. Given my work schedule this was not an endeavor I would have started in a traditional university setting. Newman’s use of online classes for the entire master’s program made all the difference.—Pat Hanrahan
I’ve received so much more from the program than I ever thought I would. My teaching is so much more in depth and I learned, through the program, how to interconnect many of the teachings of the Church with biblical stories. Students enjoy my classes more and they leave comprehending scripture and Church History at a higher level. I’ve had many students return telling me that they impressed their high school religion teacher by knowing something that everyone else didn’t.—Jessica Loney
Having finished your degree, was it what you expected?
It was more than expected. The computer modules worked far better than I thought and in fact were very beneficial as one could review them over and over if needed. –Pat Hanrahan
It was essentially what I expected. Although it involved an extensive amount of reading, writing, and interaction with my fellow theology students, when it was over, I was happy to have reached my goal but sad that the program was ending. Of course, my master’s degree enabled me to begin self-education at a much higher level that would have been possible without the degree.—Chris Riggs
What specifically about the program did you find the most enjoyable? What was your favorite class or subject in the program?
I really enjoyed the discussions on blackboard and our once-a-class weekends. I found having an exchange of ideas with other students to further my understanding of our reading assignments. I enjoyed the classes on moral theology, the Eucharist, and the Church.—Jackie Arnold
It’s hard to beat the opportunity to visit Rome, but every class was special in its own way. You never knew whether you’d be watching scenes from “Gran Torino” during an online presentation, debating the morality of a complex situation, or writing song lyrics with your fellow students. The material was always relevant, and it was exciting and entertaining to see what was coming next.—Susan Corcoran
I especially enjoyed the writing aspects of the program, that is, the on-line threaded discussions that were based on a different topic each week, and the various papers we wrote for each class. The threaded discussions provided many opportunities to explore, discuss and sometimes debate the theological perspectives of our classmates, and the papers I wrote provided opportunities to delve into areas of interest that I had not previously explored in any depth. The net result from both of these aspects of the program was the opportunity to do a lot of creative thinking and to learn many new things along the way.
I cannot name a favorite class or subject because I have a strong interest in just about everything that we covered in the program.—Dick Landkamer
How has the degree changed your understanding of Catholicism?
One of the most profound ways I feel the program influenced my understanding is that it taught me not to be afraid to question various aspects of the faith or to examine other beliefs in relation to Catholicism. On my own, I would never have picked up something written by the Gnostics or the New Atheists but it is important to understand their position so I can more effectively defend the Catholic faith against them when necessary. Truth will always stand up to scrutiny! Another important matter that we spent quite a bit of time discussing was how there is room for many different viewpoints to fit into the Catholic faith. The doctrines of the Church often do not tell us specifically what we must believe so much as they set boundaries that allow for a range of ideas. So often people accuse Catholicism of being just a series of rules, and I think this more inclusive understanding is something that really needs to be spread, especially now as the New Evangelization movement gains momentum and we continue to work toward unity amongst all people.—Susan Corcoran
Would you recommend this degree to others?
Absolutely yes, and I have recommended it to many people. I would recommend it to a wide range of interested learners because it offers the opportunity for a wide range of experiences. This program, like so many things, gives back to you to the degree that you invest in it. I put a ton of time and effort into my studies, and was greatly rewarded. I was at a time in my life where I was able to make that commitment of time and energy. But for those who cannot make that investment, this program is still workable for them as well. One example of this is the option of either the MTS degree or the MA degree, which has several other major requirements and takes an additional semester to complete.—Dusty Gates
If you want to gain quality in your spiritual life, learn the foundations of Christianity and Catholicism and gain new friendships in your cohort then yes by all means enroll.—Pat Hanrahan
Absolutely! In fact, I have already been approached by other members of my parish who have expressed an interest in it.—Susan Corcoran
I have recommended this degree to others, and will continue to do so. I think that an important element of the New Evangelization is for Catholics to become much more knowledgeable about their faith. This degree is one way that people can deepen their knowledge of the faith, and it is also a way in which they can gain the ability and confidence needed to teach the faith to others.—Dick Landkamer
How are you using your degree today?
I would like to think that I am primarily using my degree in my vocation as a father and husband. Whenever we learn more about our faith and make progress in our spiritual lives, we are able to, and called to, share those fruits with our families. I believe my prayer during and after this program has helped me live out my vocation more in accordance with God’s will, and made me more able to pass on that faith to my family in my words, deeds, and example. Secondarily, I have had many opportunities to use this degree in my professional ministry as I have worked for the Diocese of Wichita in several educational positions over the past years, currently serving as the Assistant Program Director and Director of Adult Education at the Spiritual Life Center. –Dusty Gates
I am using my Masters in Theology degree today as a full-time Youth Minister and Coordinator of Religious Education for grades 7-12 at a parish in Medford, WI. I am also using my degree as an Executive Director of a religious publishing house Light Of Christ Press that I founded to publish my theological books and of others.—Justin Steele
I teach at St. Mary Catholic School and I am in charge of teaching 6th grade Catholic Doctrine and 8th grade Church History along with instructing Kindergarten and 2ndgrade music. I interweave what I have learned into all of these subjects. Outside of the school, I direct the St. Mary Adult Choir and select music for the choir to sing that corresponds with the Sunday scriptures. Someday, I hope to find a position as a music liturgist and lead a church in all of their music planning and singing groups along with advising families on selecting music for weddings, funerals, and other occasions. –Jessica Loney
I teach various classes for adults through the Spiritual Life Center and the diocesan speaker’s bureau, also the Regan Institute and staff retreats for schools. I hope to start adjunct teaching at some local colleges. I also use it daily with my family and in my work as a catechist at our parish.—Jackie Arnold
My motive was never to use the degree for any professional use. I use my degree each time I hear a scripture read. This degree has trained me to listen differently and hear the real meaning the words convey.—Pat Hanrahan