Awarded conjointly by Regis College and the University of Toronto
The Master of Divinity program prepares students for professional ministry and leadership within the Roman Catholic Church. It provides them with the opportunity to develop academically, spiritually, personally and professionally within a richly varied learning and worshipping community. Students study in an environment enhanced by the academic research of the faculty and students of the College's advanced degree programs, as well as by the pastoral concerns and questions offered by those experienced in ministry. Students are immersed in the ecumenical, interfaith and multicultural context of the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto, located in one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in North America.
The program offers an approach to preparation for ministry rooted in the heart of the intellectual,spiritual and social achievements of the Catholic and Ignatian traditions, using these achievements as the framework and foundation for a truly contemporary integration of aesthetic appreciation, intellectual knowledge, critical thinking, spiritual reflection, advocacy for justice and pastoral action.
The "spine" of the program is the Ignatian Core, composed of three foundational courses that introduce the tools of Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, the theological field education process, and the M.Div. comprehensive exam. This Ignatian Core facilitates the student's personal integration and development throughout the program. It also serves as the integrating principle of the student's biblical, historical, doctrinal, systematic, ethical, pastoral, spiritual and ecumenical studies. Students are also encouraged to engage in ecumenical, interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue.
The program places great emphasis upon the interaction among students, faculty, administration and staff; a student's relationships with the program director and the director of field education are of particular importance. During the final year, students also form a mentoring relationship with a member of the faculty who can help them develop their own particular interests. Students are urged to continue or initiate an on-going commitment to spiritual direction as part of their personal formation.
The theological field education program at Regis offers students a process within which they may do theology through reflection on their experiences in the practice of ministry. It allows the student to develop a pastoral identity, to experience personal strengths and weaknesses as a minister, and to develop pastoral skills. Placements may include: units in supervised pastoral education through the Toronto School of Theology; opportunities in parish ministry; prison and hospital chaplaincy; crisis services; alcohol and drug rehabilitation organisations; ministry with the separated, widowed and divorced; retreat and spiritual direction; counselling; youth ministry; catechesis of adults and children; ministry with the mentally challenged; and social ministry placements. All field placements include a contextual analysis, a theological reflection, a case-study, and a mid-placement and final evaluations by both the student and the placement supervisor. A theological reflection seminar helps students to integrate theological field education and academic study.
Concern for the potential vulnerability of children and at risk populations to whom our students will minister have made it increasingly common practice to require background checks or police checks for those working in certain areas. Those students involved in field placements or spiritual direction programs should be aware that such checks may be required. It will be the responsibility of the placement supervisor and the Regis College Theological Field Education Director or of the Director of the Spiritual Direction program to ensure that needed checks are performed.
An ongoing series of professional development workshops and seminars helps students explore issues in ministerial identity, liturgy and pastoral care. Workshops and seminars cover such topics as Ignatian education, conflict resolution, healthy sexuality, group facilitation, proclamation and voice, creative listening skills, grief counselling, presiding at public prayer. Students are encouraged to document their progress through the program by developing professional portfolios.
A comprehensive examination process helps students to integrate and synthesise their formation as they conclude their program. It encourages students to develop their ability to communicate theologically, while emphasizing their particular interests and ministerial goals.