Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

A Commitment of the Evangelical Catholic Church for Academic Formation

Est. 2006





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Saint John the Evangelist Seminary


LST 504: Marriage and Holy Orders 
Course Syllabus


Instructor TBA


Course Description:

In the Catholic tradition, marriage and holy orders have been treated together as “sacraments of vocation,” while recent theological reflection and church teaching have emphasized how both flow from the call of baptism. This course introduces students to the history, liturgical celebration, and current issues surrounding the sacraments of marriage and holy orders. It presents marriage within the broader context of Christian commitment and holy orders within the context of Christian ministry and discipleship. Questions concerning church (What is the role of community in our relating to God?), sacrament (What are these realities imbued with the hidden presence of God?), and vocation (Who am I in God's plan for me?) are raised throughout the course. 


(1) To introduce students to the Catholic tradition of theological reflection on and the liturgical celebration of the sacraments of marriage and holy orders. 
(2) To explore together in a constructive way the theological categories of sacrament, vocation, baptism, relationship, and ministry. 
(3) To improve students’ ability to think critically and communicate clearly. 




The Rule of St. Benedict in English, ed.

Joan D. Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily (1990).

Michael G. Lawler, Marriage and Sacrament: A Theology of Christian Marriage (1993).

Thomas F. O’Meara, Theology of Ministry (1999).



Class Tools:

        Students are expected to utilize Skype for all classes.

 Short written assignments

        Short written responses to the readings will occasionally be assigned.


        Non-cumulative exams will be given RBA

 Compare and Contrast Project

        Details TBA

Research Paper

        One 6-8 page research paper.  Proposal due date to be determined once class has begun.



 Part I: Introduction


1.  Introduction


2.  Doing Theology


3.  Introduction to the Sacraments of Vocation I

                             • Rule of St. Benedict

• Chittister, 208-212


 4.  Introduction to the Sacraments of Vocation II

                             • Chittister, 1-38, 133-146


5.  God: The Starting Point



Part II: Marriage and Relationships



1.  Marriage: Starting Point

                                    • Chittister, 39-66


2.  Marriage as Sacrament I

                                     • Lawler, 1-17


3.  Marriage as Sacrament II

                                     • Lawler, 18-35


4.  Marriage in the Bible                                        ***Compare and Contrast Project Due***

                                     • Lawler, 36-51

                                     • “Song of Solomon” Available online


5.  Marriage in the Tradition

                                      • Lawler, 52-74


6.  The Rite of Marriage I          

                                      • Handouts provided by instructor.


7.  The Experience of Marriage


8.  Marriage and Sexuality

• Paul VI, Humanae Vitae [CP 49-62]

• Richard McCormick, “Humanae Vitae 25 Years Later” [CP 63-70]



9.  Issues: Divorce and Remarriage I

               • Lawler, 75-97

                                       Bring jurisdictional Canon Law of Marriage to class.


10.  Issues: Divorce and Remarriage II                                       ***Research Proposal Due***

                                     • Lawler, 98-118


11.  Marriage as Vocation                                                                  


(Mid-Term Course Evaluation)



Part III: Holy Orders and Ministry



1.  Ministry: Starting Point

                                      • Chittister, 108-132


2.  Ministry in the Church Today

                                      • O’Meara, 5-21


3.  What Is Ministry?

                                       • O’Meara, 139-151


4.  Ministry in the Bible                                                                               ***Research Paper Due***

                                       • O’Meara, 35-62

                                       • Mark 1:1-5:4


5.  Ministry in the Tradition I

                                               • O’Meara, 80-138


6.  The Rite of Ordination



7.  Experience in Ministry


8.  Issues: Clerical Culture I

                                        •Opening the Doors to the Table -The Inclusification of the Priesthood

                                        •Priesthood within the Autocephaleous Catholic movement                               


9.  Issues: Clerical Culture II

                                    • O’Meara, 239-249

                                    • The Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal and Plague of Player Priests within the ACM


10. Ministry as Vocation

                                                 • O’Meara, 199-210


Exam 2