Of the making of many books there is no end, and in much study there is weariness for the flesh.
— Ecc 12:12

I am currently an aspirant to the permanent diaconate here in the Diocese of Nashville. Part of the formation program includes obtaining an MA in Theology from St. Meinrad’s Archabbey. Reading assignments/syllabi show up on Moodle or Blackbaud and we generally have about a month to complete reading and pre-work writing assignments. Then there’s a weekend of in-person lectures plus formation conferences, and final assignments, which tend to overlap with the prep work for the next course. These classes, plus some additional coursework over summers should track to completion by 2025.

One thing I am thoroughly enjoying is access to St. Meinrad’s library system: ATLA, J-Stor, and all the rest.

Aspirant Year

Ministry in a Multicultural Context
Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, Joseph Langford

Old Testament
A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament, John Bergsma & Brant Pitre
various Magisterial documents and essays

The Creed in History and Theology
various articles and texts, many informed by Bernard Lonergan’s work. Topics include Christology, Ecclesiology, Pneumatology, and the Trinity.

Foundations of Theology
The Shape of Catholic Theology, Aidan Nichols
Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
various additional documents and excerpts

Introduction to Liturgy
The Church at Prayer: Principles of the Liturgy, A.G. Martimort
The Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Sacrosanctum Concilium
Musicam Sacram
Vicesimus Quintus Annus
General Instruction on the Roman Missal
General Instruction on the Liturgy of Hours
Selections from the Code of Canon Law and Catechism

Intro to Christian Spirituality
The Book of Pastoral Rule, St. Gregory the Great, George Demacopolous, trans.
Christian Spirituality, Lawrence Cunningham & Keith Egan
Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation, Martin Laird

Intro to Scripture
Vatican II: The Essential Texts, Norman Tanner
Understanding the Bible: A Basic Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, George Montague
Elements of Biblical Exegesis, Michael Gorman
Composing Sacred Scripture: How the Bible Was Formed, Donald Senior, CP
Catholic Study Bible, 3rd Ed., Donald Senior, John Collins, Mary Ann Getty, ed.

Church History
The Catholic Church Through the Ages, John Vidmar, OP
Documents of the Christian Church, Henry Bettenson & Chris Maunder, ed.