Pastoral Theology

St Patricks Pontifical University Maynooth

Pastoral Theology

This level 8 programme forms part of a person's initial formation for ministry leadership in the Church, preparing him/her to minister effectively in a peer relationship with other pastoral ministers.

Students are taught to use advanced skills in professional ministry, especially leadership in public prayer, pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment, and building and strengthening community. This includes using and transforming advanced skills and tools to teach in diverse settings, provide effective catechetical and faith formation, and exercise responsible stewardship of parish personnel and resources.

This level allows students to develop a detailed knowledge of theological principles as these relate to ministry practice, and an understanding of concepts, methods, and models pertaining to ways of doing theology in practice. It enables students to develop the ability to act in variable contexts, to be flexible in response to the needs of a community, and a diversity of situations and people, to go beyond their comfort zone, and act effectively within a changing ministerial landscape.

The programme further enables students to:
• exercise appropriate judgment in complex planning, leading groups, and managing resources;

• take responsibility for forming a habit of reflective practice for ministry;

• express a comprehensive, internalised, personal worldview, achieving self-awareness and critical reflection as these relate to pastoral ministry;

• face the demands of making collaborative ministry work;

• exercise initiative and independent thought, to interact intelligently, empathically, ethically, and professionally within their ministerial context;

• differentiate appropriate ministerial approaches, and to formulate pastoral responses to complex situations in pastoral contexts.

This Higher Diploma follows the same academic and placement schedules as the Diploma in Pastoral Theology, and is awarded on the successful completion of one year's full-time engagement.

Subjects taught

Pastoral Practice 30 Credits
PT 430: Pastoral Practice

Prayer Leadership 7.5 Credits
PT 431: Prayer Leadership

Caring and Spiritual Accompaniment 5 Credits
PT 432: Caring and Spiritual Accompaniment in Community

Theology and Pastoral Ministry 7.5 Credits
PT 434: Theology and Pastoral Ministry

Organisational Leadership in Ministry Contexts 5 Credits
PT 435: Organisational Leadership in Ministry Contexts

Healthcare Chaplaincy: Ministry of Presence and Visitation 2.5 Credits
PT 437: Healthcare Chaplaincy: Ministry of Presence and Visitation

Educational Chaplaincy: Ministry of Catechesis and Faith Formation 2.5 Credits
PT 438: Educational Chaplaincy: Ministry of Catechesis and Faith Formation

Under Stream One - Pastoral Practice
Clinical Pastoral Education

Entry requirements

Candidates are required to have a recognised degree qualification where theology is at least a minor component.

Candidates with other degrees may be admitted if they have experience in pastoral ministry.

They may be required to take courses in theology to qualify for admission.

Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to satisfy the English language requirement.

Successful individual and group interviews are an essential part of the selection process.

Application dates

Application Deadline:
1st April 2023 For EU & those living on the island of Ireland (Late applications may be considered). 1st April 2023 For non EU.


1 year full-time.

Enrolment dates

Course Start Date: September 2020

Post Course Info

Career Outcomes
• Pastoral Work
• Chaplaincy
• Catechesis & Faith Development
• Sacramental Preparation Coordination

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Higher Diploma (Level 8 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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