Sacred Heart Seminary Offering Free ‘Encountering Christ’ Course


If you want to more fully encounter Christ in your daily life, you might consider signing up for a new, free, online course.

“Encountering Christ” is a new six-week course being offered by Sacred Heart Major Seminary (SHMS).  The course runs from March 2, 2020 to April 12, 2020.  It “is designed for the everyday Catholic who wants to grow in their encounter with the Lord.”

The non-credit course uses Canvas, the seminary’s learning management system. Anyone signing up for the course “receives credentials for accessing the online class.”

Course Structure

The class consists of six weekly modules.  Learners complete the modules at their own pace. Distinguished SHMS faculty members teach each of the modules.

Each module consists of a weekly Lecture Video that is approximately 20 minutes long.  A Personal Assessment Quiz follows each video.  Optional supplemental reading material is also available for those learners who may want to go more in-depth on a topic.  A weekly online Discussion Forum is also a neat feature of the course.

The course description says this can be considered “a Lenten retreat experience for the lay faithful.”  The six globally esteemed SHMS professors leading the course all “help form holy, healthy, and joyful priests—as well as deacons, religious, and lay leaders—for service of the gospel.

“This is an opportunity to grow a deeper relationship and spend time with the Lord.”

6 Weeks, 6 Modules

As stated, there are 6 weekly modules .

  • “Encountering Christ in Scripture” lead by Dr. Peter Williamson, Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Sacred Scripture. This module explores the various ways we can encounter Christ through Scripture.
  • “Encountering Christ in the Sacraments” lead by Fr. Peter Ryan, S.J., Professor of Theology. This module expounds on the mystery of the encounter with Christ in the sacraments.
  • “Encountering Christ in Everyday Life – the Examen Prayer” led Dr. Patricia Cooney-Hathaway, Professor of Spiritual and Systematic Theology.  Cooney-Hathaway teaches about the “Examen” prayer as a tool to encounter Christ in the events of everyday life.
  • “Encountering Christ in Suffering” led by Dr. Eduardo Echeverria, Professor Philosophy and Theology.   Echeverria shares from his depth of theological knowledge as well as his own personal experiences of encountering Christ in suffering.
  • “Encountering Christ in the Poor” led Msgr. Daniel Trapp, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Liturgy and Sacraments. Trapp provides his testimony and the stages of encountering Christ in the poor.
  • “What is Encounter? Insights from Pope Francis” led Dr. Donald Wallenfang, Professor of Theology and Philosophy. This module concludes the course with a summary explanation of the theology of encounter, drawing upon insights from the writings of Pope Francis.
Some Background

This is the fourth free, online course SHMS has offered.  The first three courses were very well received says Dr. Gresham.

“Our first course,”Beauty of Belief,” was offered last year during Lent.  We had 3,044 students enrolled. During the summer we offered a short 3-week course on the “Mission of the Laity” that had 931 students. During Advent we offered “Adventure of Discipleship,” featuring Dr. Daniel Keating and his new book of the same name.  1,451 students enrolled in that course.”

Dr. Gresham also notes that most of online students come from Michigan, but the courses are attracting “students from around the U.S., and even around the world.

“These courses are non-academic, non-credit courses targeted for any Catholic, from those just beginning to follow the Lord to those who are more advanced. There are a lot of helpful online videos and podcasts available online, but these courses provide opportunity for interactive formation as a part of a larger online learning community.”

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron’s call to “Unleash the Gospel” prompted the courses.

“We wanted to share some of the richness of knowledge and talents of our seminary faculty with the broader church to help form and equip missionary disciples,” said Gresham.

As Catholics we are all called to share in Christ’s priestly mission and SHMS is helping Catholics do just that.

For more information or to the register for the course go HERE.

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