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.