Pastores dabo vobis

MaryMatha Major Seminary Thrissur

Theology Course Scheme

The syllabus of the Theology Programme unfolds an in-depth study of all the major areas of theological scholarship. The nature of the courses requires a serious academic pursuit from the students. In line with the unique vision of the Seminary, the subjects are dealt with a pastoral orientation. They guide the students to theologically respond to the concrete ecclesial and social realities. This pastoral and practical thrust of the theology curriculum demands from the students a personal involvement in the affairs of the Church and society and from the professors, a personal attention of each student and his context and aptitude. Through a concerted pastoral and academic pursuit, the programme hopes to arrive at not only a vision of the ultimate truths, but more importantly, an adequate vision of the Christian identity in India in general and Kerala particular. The programme aims at helping the seminarians to intellectually and personally grow into a priestly identity that responds to the challenges of the third millennium.

Programme Requirements

The Seminary envisages four year theology programme that spreads over eight semesters. The programme requirements are divided into basic courses, subsidiary courses and special requirements. The final semester is meant for pastoral courses and the comprehensive written and oral examinations. The students have to obtain a total of 140 credits in the entire theology programme.

The basic courses are covered in six semesters. They are offered in the following theological disciplines: 1) Sacred Scripture (SS), 2) Systematic Theology (ST), 3) Moral Theology (MT), 4) Church History and Patrology (CP), 5) Pastoral and Spiritual Theology (PS), 6) Sacred Liturgy (SL) and 7) Canon Law (CL). The students have to obtain 32 credits per year from the basic courses in the first three years and 8 credits in the final year. Of the 16 credits to be obtained from the subsidiary courses, the students are to take an optional course (OP) per semester in the first three years. 4 credits are to be obtained from the biblical languages. The remaining 6 credits of the subsidiary courses are to be obtained from the pastoral courses (PC) in the final semester. One Credit is from the course offered from the Leuven Professor.

Apart from the basic and subsidiary courses, the students have to fulfil the following special requirements (SR).

In the first year, the students have to review a classic work in theology in about 1000 words. The book review is intended to initiate the students to read and critically evaluate theological works and thereby inculcate a theological mind in them. A review merits one credit in the section of special requirements.

In the first three years, the students are offered a seminar in one of the theological disciplines. A different area of the theology is to be chosen each year. The student's presentation of a seminar topic is to be developed into a scientifically written assignment in about 2000 words, which has to be submitted for evaluation within 15 days after presentation. The participation in the seminar and the paper merit two credits in the first two years and three credits in the third year.

Research papers form an important part of the special requirements. In the first year, the student is initiated into scientific research methodology through a one credit course. In the second year, the students have to write an yearly paper on a theological theme with a minimum of 5000 and a maximum of 7000 words under the guidance of a resident teacher in the staff. On the basis of this paper, the student has to prepare an abstract of the third year dissertation by the end of the same academic year. In the third year, the students are to write a dissertation with a minimum of 10000 and a maximum of 12000 words on a theological theme under the guidance of a teacher in the staff. After consulting the guide, the student has to submit the topic of the dissertation to the dean of studies for approval. The topic of the yearly paper or dissertation and the final version of paper are to be submitted on the dates indicated in th ecalendar. After the submission of the dissertation, each student has to present a synopsis of his dissertation before the guide, Leuven Professor and other students, followed by questions and interactions. The yearly paper merits one credit, while the dissertation merits three credits.

Diaconal internship is considered to be an important occasion of scientific pastoral reflections. As part of the academic programme, the deacons work out a diaconal project during their stay in the respective parishes. They identify the most pertinent pastoral issue of the parish, study it using the scientific sociological methods of research and present the outcome of their project in the form of a scientific paper at the end of their diaconal internship. The study merits two credits in the section of pastoral courses (PC).

By the end of the final semester, the students have to appear for comprehensive examinations, both oral and written, which cover all the theological disciplines. The oral examination will be a viva voce test for one hour before four panels - 1) Scripture, 2) systematic theology, 3) Moral Theology and canon law and 4) Church history, patrology, liturgy, pastoral theology and spirituality - each questioning the examinee for 15 minutes. Apart from the oral examination, the students have to appear for a written comprehensive examination on selected theses lasting for three hours.

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (FTRS), KU, Leuven, Belgium strictly demands on a strict screening of the research papers. Only best students will be awarded the degree. Therefore ,only those students who have scored 70% overall average in the second year theology programme and 70% in the abstract are eligible for registration online for both the FTRS degree and the canonical degree of S.T.B. of KU, Leuven Belgium. Only those abstract which have clearly shown students’ capacity to write a scientific paper are to be sent to Leuven. Another screening will be done before the research papers are sent to Leuven at the end of the third year theology programme.

Those students who successfully complete the requirements prescribed by the FTRS KU Leuven will be granted the degrees both the Bachelor of Theology and the Religious Studies and S.T.B. The civil degree of KU Leuven is approved also by secular universities in India and Abroad.

Final Grading of the Theology Programme

Using the following distribution of marks, the final average of the Theology Programme is calculated.

The first and the second rank holders are awarded at the inaugural ceremony of the next academic year.The students who have failed once during the four year theology programme are exempted from the theology course rank list.