Theology Day Welcome Packet 2023-2024

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Inspiring All to Live God’s Call

Theology Day. Find Out. 2023-24

Benedictine Nourishment for All Greetings! We are so pleased you will be able to join us for the upcoming Theology Day webinar. Please find enclosed a few documents introducing you to Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary and describing how you can become involved with our mission. There is a link below if you wish to support the school and our Theology Day program. Please consider supporting us today! Until then, we trust you will enjoy the webinar and look forward to being with you soon.

Grace Ellens Development Director Webinar questions? Contact us at 320-363-3560 or


Downloading the Zoom Cloud Meetings app or the Zoom client to your viewing device is required to join. We recommend doing this ahead of time. Go to

Click the link to the Zoom webinar provided in the email from

If Zoom asks to access the camera or audio, click “OK”

When prompted, enter your Name and Email Address—click Join Webinar— you will then be connected to the webinar.

“Waiting for the host to start the webinar” means you have joined ahead of us and we will be starting the webinar shortly.

First time? Join the webinar several minutes before start time and become familiar with the tips

To ask a question: 1. Type your question into the Q&A box. Click Send. Note: Check Send Anonymously if you do not want your name attached to your question in the Q&A.

1 4



2. If the host replies via the Q&A, you will see a reply in the Q&A window.

3. The host can also answer your question live (out loud). You will see a notification in the Q&A window if the host plans to do

As an attendee you can also like or comment on other attendee’s questions. This helps the host or participant identify popular questions, especially in a webinar with many attendees. 4. Click the thumbs up icon to like a comment. Tip: The number beside the icon is the total number of likes the question has received so far. The more upvotes, the higher up the question will move to be addressed. 5. Click Comment to write a reply to an existing question.

6. Type your comment and click Send. Your comment will appear beneath the question.

Tips: Make sure your volume is on and turned all the way up at first (ear buds are recommended if there will be noise around you or you don’t want to disturb others). 

 

All participants are MUTED during the webinar.

You can leave the webinar at any time – click the red “Leave” button – you can rejoin if the webinar is still in progress by clicking the webinar link provided in the email again.

Question & Answer: Open the Q&A window, allowing you to ask questions to the host and panelists. They can either reply back to you via text in the Q&A window or answer your question live.

Click on the Q&A icon at the bottom of the webinar screen to submit a question.

Questions? 320-363-3560


Theology Day Benedictine Nourishment for All

The Resurrection of the Dead, and the Life of the World to Come

Fr. Michael Patella, OSB

Sept. 1 Oct. 13 Oct. 29 Nov. 2 Nov. 18

-9:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. -6:30 p.m. -9:00 a.m.

-Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University -St. John Vianney Parish, Omaha, NE -St. Mary’s Basilica, Minneapolis -St. Clare Church, O’Fallon, IL

The Time to Act Has Long Passed, So What Now?: Theology, the Climate Crisis, and a Call for Action Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Sept. 15 Oct. 26 Nov. 17

-9:00 a.m. -6:30 p.m. -9:00 a.m.

-Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -St. Frances Cabrini, Minneapolis -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University

Partner or Servant? What are we looking for when we look for AI? Noren Herzfeld, Ph.D.

Sept. 21 Nov. 10 Dec. 8

-6:30 p.m. -9:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.

-St. Mary’s Basilica, Minneapolis -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University

From Lord’s Supper to Adoration: The History of the Earliest Christian Eucharist - Charles Bobertz, Ph.D. Sept. 28 Mar. 21 Mar. 22 Apr. 5 Apr. 11

-6:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m. -9:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m. -6:30 p.m.

-Pax Christi, Eden Prairie -St. Joseph the Worker, Maple Grove -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University -St. Joseph Parish Center, New Hope

Communicating Faithfully in the Digital Age Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Ph.D.

Jan. 26 Feb. 23

-9:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.

-Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University

Elliptical Theology: Revelation, Theology, and Human Experience William J. Cahoy, Ph.D.

Mar. 1 Apr. 19

-9:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.

-Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University (Synchronous) -Emmaus Hall, Saint John’s University

Registration is required: or call 320-363-3560 There is no cost for attending Theology Day. Start time indicates when presentations begins; check-in begins about 30 minutes before. Watch our website for current dates and locations, including out-of-state (FL, AZ) locations.




Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary (SOT/Sem), located in Emmaus

Hall, forms students and faculty into a faith community, energized to serve Christ and dedicated to influence both Church and society in Christ’s name. By studying in a place where liturgy and prayer are essential to their daily lives, students walk in a tradition that has significantly contributed to the life not only of the Catholic Church, but also to the life of nearly every Christian denomination in North America and beyond. And that journey continues. The Benedictine character of Saint John’s keeps this community centered on Christ, while its accompanying imagination opens eyes, minds, and hearts to find new ways to widen the reach of Christ’s ministry. Together, faculty, students, and staff draw from the contemplative, Benedictine environment to form Christian disciples for a life in academia and ministry. Such a community needs a building which reflects Saint John’s sense of place and which inspires collaborative ministry. The renovation of Emmaus Hall will more closely mirror our vision of the Church as the Pilgrim People of God, a faith community of disciples pursuing Wisdom and encountering Christ while bringing him to others.

Classrooms and Study Carrels We read in the Gospel of Luke (24:1335) that Cleopas and his wife head toward Emmaus after the violent events in Jerusalem. As they travel, Christ joins them along the road, and when they have supper, he reveals himself in the Eucharist. That encounter inspires the couple to run back to Jerusalem to proclaim the good news to those still dwelling in discouragement and fear. Similarly, professors and students, with the objective of spreading the Gospel, take on the role of those two disciples, journeying with Christ on the road of theological inquiry. The great joy of teaching and learning at Emmaus is having one’s eyes opened to recognize Christ’s presence among the gathered People of God, in Sacred Scripture, and within the theological tradition. Employing state of the art technology, the new classrooms and study carrels provide the classroom space for those on campus and online participation for those at a distance.

Gathering Spaces Community forms when people gather for worship, fellowship, and inquiry, as seen in the two disciples meeting Christ on the road to Emmaus. In a like vein, the School of Theology and Seminary draws from the vibrant, monastic presence which inspires students, faculty, and staff of every age and from various backgrounds to foster creative thought and conversation; it is a dynamic unique to Saint John’s. Together we seek the ways the Holy Spirit is leading the faithful to deal with the world before us. For this holy venture, the School of Theology and Seminary requires spaces that excite the imagination and increase the encounter between theologians, budding scholars, and aspiring workers in the vineyard. In addition to its academic and pastoral work, Saint John’s spreads the Gospel through its fine theological programming as seen in its Theology Days, conferences, talks, and seminars. As the scope of our outreach increases, there will be a greater demand for medium and large spaces to accommodate visitors seeking ongoing education, faith formation, workshops, parish retreats and the like.

Emmaus Hall Chapel The journey of the two disciples in Luke’s Gospel begins in discouragement and ends in joy. The story itself describes the Christian life. It is fitting, therefore, that the remaking of the Emmaus Hall Chapel should be at the center of the renovation project, for in this building future students and faculty—as a faith community—will meet Christ in the “breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35) Built 70 years ago for seminarians, the Emmaus Hall Chapel has many remarkable elements, which can now facilitate focused attention on the role of beauty in the search for Christ. Open, bright, and inviting, this newly designed worship space encapsulates the Benedictine tradition, which draws much from what is old and takes some from what is new in order to forge a vison and path into the future. Whether studying for ordained or non-ordained ministry, both women and men will form a community in pursuit of Wisdom, a community which in its vocational call to bring Christ to the world is sustained by the liturgy.

Spaces can cultivate collaborative community and influence a student’s formation whether gathering for scholarship, fellowship, or worship. “Emmaus chapel is the living center of our community - the Second Vatican Council said the liturgy is the “source and summit” of the church’s life. A beautifully renovated chapel will reinvigorate our worship life and be a strong statement of our deepest Catholic, Benedictine, and ecumenical values.” - Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, ‘93 Associate Professor

Questions? Contact Grace at or 320-363-2551 2850 Abbey Plaza Collegeville, MN 56321

Emmaus Hall Renovation Phase I






Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary received four grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. from 2019-2022 as part of the Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow and Thriving Congregations Initiatives. The School of Theology and Seminary is a prime choice given its historic strengths and incredible resources to explore emerging challenges facing pastoral leaders and church communities, and based on that exploration, qualified to propose new pathways for training leaders, ministers, and educators for the church. Phase one: Lilly Endowment gave a $50,000 grant in early 2021 to conduct listening sessions and understand the challenges facing pastors and ministers in our region. We analyzed how our strengths and resources can best support those in the field. Phase two: Lilly Endowment gave a $1 million grant in early 2022 for what we call “Conversatio: Creating a Culture of Encounter” to recruit new residential students to serve, in teams, in a local parish and other ministry settings as they progress through their degree programs to ground their studies in the practice and challenge of concrete ministry while being mentored by current ministers and pastors. Phase three: Lilly Endowment gave a $5 million grant in late 2022 - early 2023 to launch what we call “Sustained Encuentro: Accompanying One Another on the Way” and explore how we could partner with institutions and organizations to deliver theological education more accessibly and in ways that are attuned to the emerging challenges experienced by pastoral leaders across the country. “Sustained Encuentro” will impact the larger Church by training and supporting next-generation pastoral leaders and ministers across the United States, especially in rural areas of need. • It forges new partnerships with rural Catholic dioceses and religious institutions, making degree and certificate programs more easily accessible for lay ecclesial ministers and diaconal candidates. • It delivers top-tier theological education to those who lack the opportunity. • It prepares people to serve others and do it with a sense of faith and inclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalized. • The encounter and exchange between Saint John’s and MACC charts new territory in graduate theological education. It provides a new model for a mutually edifying institutional relationship that feeds the distinctive strengths of multiple schools to achieve common goals. Partnering with the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) extends our mission and enriches our understanding of the church today. In addition, this partnership will help move us forward in our capacity to communicate with and accompany culturally diverse faith communities in our region and nation.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Additional Notes: The MACC is a national leader in the Latinx ministry with significant insights into issues such as the radical demographic, cultural and ecclesial shifts facing today’s church. The partnership with MACC aims to deliver an intentionally intercultural education experience that prepares future Christian leaders, including growing Latinx communities, for the work of ministry and ecclesial leadership by combining the SOT/Sem’s distinguished strength in ecclesiology, liturgy, sacramental theology, and practical theology with MACC’s historical legacy in bilingual education for pastoral and Hispanic ministry.

Pathways for Tomorrow and Thriving Congregations Initiatives - additional notes: In addition to the abovementioned grants, Lilly Endowment gave a $1 million grant in 2019 for what we call: “Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission: Co-Responsibility in the Changing Context of Congregational Life.” This national initiative by Lilly aims to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolisbased private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A primary aim of its grantmaking in religion is to deepen the religious lives of Christians, principally by supporting efforts that enhance congregational vitality and trengthen the leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment values the broad diversity of Christian traditions and endeavors to support them in a wide variety of contexts. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion by encouraging fair, accurate and balanced portrayals of the positive and negative effects of religion on the world and lifting up the contributions that people of all faiths make to our greater civic wellbeing.

The SOT/Sem is partnering with the Diocese of Saint Cloud to restructure traditional parishes into “Area Catholic Communities.” For these new communities to flourish, the baptized must be encouraged and assisted in taking responsibility for the strength and vitality of these communities. • The program’s main goal is to increase the sense of agency of the baptized and their commitment to a faith community that cares for its specific members and reaches beyond traditional parish boundaries to neighboring parishes and local communities. • They are assessing their ministries and drawing on practices of their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve Grace Ellens, Director of Development 320-363-2551 or

Transforming Lives | Changing the World

Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

Saint John’s is “the principal agent for the renewal and the reform of liturgy, of liturgical art, and of sacred music, with consequences that are evident, since the Second Vatican Council, in every Roman Catholic parish in the world.” - Jaroslav Pelikan

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING WORLD-CLASS FACULTY “With the world-class scholars at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, the monks continue to fulfill their mission. To ensure a strong faculty, Saint John’s stands with all great universities in its reliance on endowed professorships. These professorships at the School of Theology and Seminary will guarantee that the sacred gift of our theological tradition passes onto succeeding generations.” In his book, Jesus Through the Centuries, Jaroslav Pelikan, Sterling Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University explains that for over 1,500 years the mission of Benedictine monasticism is “not to value anything more highly than the love of Christ.” He concludes that Saint John’s has carried out this mission as “the principal agent for the renewal and the reform of the liturgy, of liturgical art, and of sacred music, with consequences that are evident, since the Second Vatican Council, in every Roman Catholic parish in the world” (p. 121).

From its founding over 165 years ago, education on behalf of the Church has been a primary ministry of Saint John’s. Its dedication to scholarship at that moment has today placed Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary (SOT/Sem) at the forefront of the renewal both leading to and stemming from Vatican II. Primary among its scholars were Benedictines Virgil Michel and Godfrey Diekmann, who set the standard for the practical application of theological scholarship across all church denominations in the latter half of the twentieth century. They renewed Church Tradition with a vibrancy that has always been part of Saint John’s vision, and we are dedicated to continuing their legacy. A peritus or expert at the Second Vatican Council, Father Godfrey Diekmann was a member of the pontifical commission tasked with writing the Church’s liturgical constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium. His expertise and expansive vision marked the research he produced and molded the students and seminarians he instructed. He once said, “Christianity, by the power of the Spirit within her, has both the power, and the obligation, of repeated rejuvenation”. Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary intends to continue petitioning the Spirit’s power so that we can help the Church fulfill her obligation to bring about such rejuvenation. Professorships are essential to carrying out this great task.

Giving Opportunities $30,000 Faculty Research Fund Empower faculty to share their research through classroom instruction, Theology Days, books, and professional development.

$50,000 Seed an Endowed Professorship Fund


Inspire others to join in support of professors and attract world renowned teachers to educate our students.

Through endowed professorships, the great universities of the world have established their superior standing by ensuring that the interest, energy, and dynamism, which have produced distinguished records of teaching, research, and publication of previous generations of scholars carries over to the next. For Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary to maintain a superb faculty, it needs the ability to honor and retain its most esteemed professors while recruiting into its ranks others with exceptional records of achievement. We seek to secure for the remainder of the twenty-first century and beyond both our mission and vision of service to the Church, a service marked by excellence in scholarship and ministry. The Virgil Michel Ecumenical Chair has upheld this record for over forty years. We now look to establish one or more professorships to support the Collegeville Core* and further our commitment to excellence. Research opportunities and professorships are ways colleges and universities recruit and retain key faculty, improve teaching, and raise the stature and visibility of the institution in the academic marketplace. Please help us provide the expertise and vision generated by the Spirit’s power so the Church may foster the rejuvenation mandated by the Second Vatican Council. Help inspire lives through your financial support of education in the Catholic Benedictine tradition of Saint John’s. *The Collegeville Core describes the distinct learning dynamic our Master Degree programs grounded in the study of Scripture, Doctrine, Liturgy, History of Christian History, Monastic Studies, Spirituality. The process of integrating mind and heart requires listening carefully to the voices of those teachers and witnesses who have shaped the mission and vision of the Church through the centuries. The education of the whole person forms and emboldens students to become leaders in their Christian community.



A Graduate School of Theology and Seminary initiative for financial aid

$100,000 Endowed Faculty Research Fund Establish a named research fund with a minimum gift of $100,000 paid over five years or through a planned gift.

$750,000 Partial Endowed Professorship Fund Name an endowed fund that will sustain covering a professor’s salary or sabbatical for one semester.

$1,500,000 Fully Endowed Professorship Fund Secure highly skilled faculty who regularly publish scholarship that advances theological knowledge and spiritual understanding. Such faculty give public presentations at conferences and events. They mentor students with attention to holistic growth and compassionate service toward the needy. This endowed professorship will fund for a faculty member on an annual basis in perpetuity. It is a powerful means for recruiting and sustaining a world class faculty.

1,000+ Learners Faculty engage students and members of the greater community in theological education annually.

Transforming Lives | Changing the World

Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

A Lifetime of Learning

Recent Theology Day Topics: • • • • • •

The Journey of Loss and Grief What Mass Means: How Sacrifice and Real Presence Are Life-Changing Immigration: Moving from Political Rhetoric to the Moral Discourse of Pope Francis. Being Church in a Secular Age Love and Tenderness in Action: The Vision of Pope Francis Global Warming: A Prophetic View of Collective Responsibility

I Support Theology Day because ... • •

“Thank you for presenting new facts and new ideas that I was not aware of.” “I now have a better understanding of the overall [immigration] reform needed and am encouraged [the ideas presented] remain true to the gospel teachings.” “You are very knowledgeable and have simulated my desire to learn more.”

The Graduate School of Theology and Seminary cultivates in its graduates a yearning for the wisdom of the Christian tradition that they may assist others to encounter Christ in meaningful ways. Theology Days offer the experience of this work outside the classroom. Professors share their research and experiences with members of the larger community in a safe environment where everyone is welcome to come learn, discuss, and discern the truth of their own theological views on long debated and hot topics. To love Wisdom and Truth is to strive for communion with God. This daily pursuit is made clearer and brighter by the dialogue attained through Theology Days as we carry out our mission to provide soul-nurturing experiences integrated with Benedictine values inspiring a contemplative environment for personal growth. These events are just a taste of how our alumni aid communities in pursuing truth and wisdom to live their daily lives and are made free through our annual fund.

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Giving Opportunities

Theology Day

Pursuing Truth and Wisdom Together

$2,500 Theology For A Day Provide great theological engagement for a community for a single presentation.

$5,000 Theology Day Elsewhere Spread the gospel by covering travel and advertising expenses for a year.

$300,000 Theology Day Endowed Establish an endowed fund that ensures these presentations continue as a legacy for your family, friends, and community.

The need for Annual Fund We believe communities benefit from our professor’s research, our diverse student body and ecumenical dialogue with each other. RIGOROUS. REVERED. RESPECTED. Graduate students at Saint John’s University Graduate School of Theology and Seminary study under some of the academia’s foremost theologians, earning advanced degrees that are highly regarded worldwide. Indeed, scholars from across the globe visit Collegeville to conduct research in the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library and study in Alcuin Library, home to the second largest collection of theological books in the United States. Within the Benedictine understanding, we become who we are in relationship with others. Here we encounter authenticity, unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. Students and community members come to learn together in this rich and inspired context and go on to become better professors, priests, lay minsters, chaplains, deacons, spiritual directors, mentors, parents, and servants of Christ’s mission in many other ways. For more information about how you can help support the annual fund at the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary and find out when the next Theology Day is near you, please go to or contact:



A Graduate School of Theology and Seminary initiative for financial aid

Any Amount Annual Giving Gifts to the Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary Annual Fund are used for financial aid, scholarships, programing and the important work of general operations in order to offer the excellent education and formation our students and communities need.

20-25 Number of Theology Days a year

1500 Average annual attendance of Theology Days

Theology Days are the result of faculty research. Research opportunities and professorships are ways colleges and universities recruit and retain key faculty, improve teaching, and raise the stature and visibility of the institution in the academic marketplace. Help inspire them through your financial support of Catholic Benedictine teaching.

Transforming Lives | Changing the World

Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

The Impact of Planned Giving Contemporary Christians are yearning for encounters with Christ and are not satisfied with mere ideas about God or information about God’s Law. Across the globe there is a great need for church leaders who can articulate a dynamic vision of the faith grounded in the ancestral tradition. The Graduate School of Theology and Seminary cultivates in its graduates a yearning for the pursuit of truth the wisdom of the Christian tradition that they may assist others to encounter Christ in meaningful ways.

Plan a legacy with a lasting impact today at no cost to you during your lifetime.

Much like our graduates, living God’s call to be a good steward and expanding God’s kingdom while caring for your family, you may not have immediate finances to help others you wish to help. Fear not, there is a way through planned giving.

It’s simple!

Benefits of Planned Giving • • •

Stewardship - It is for anyone concerned with the wise use of his or her personal resources. Flexibility - You can change your mind at any time. Versatility - You can structure the gift to leave a specific item or amount of money, make a gift contingent on certain events, or leave a percentage of your estate as a gift. Tax Relief - If your estate is subject to estate tax, your gift is entitled to an estate tax charitable deduction for the gift’s full value.

Share this sample bequest language for Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary with your estate planning attorney: “I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose.”

All that we are, all that we have, comes from God . . .

Gifts you make after your lifetime


The ability to make a significant gift in the future




Make a large gift at little or no cost to yourself by naming SOT/Sem as beneficiary

Retirement plan assets

. . . and will one day return to God.

Avoid the twofold taxation on retirement plan assets

Gifts you make in partnership with us Fixed supplement

for you and Gift income loved ones while Annuity living

The need for Planned Giving Planned gifts are a great way to support something you love after a lifetime of caring for your loved ones. Leave a legacy to educate theologically grounded and pastorally discerning leaders skilled at drawing forth the gifts of faith communities. Continue building and strengthening the church beyond your glorious departure from this earth for you loved ones and friends remaining.



Another source of income while investing in God’s work

estate taxes on Lead Reduce assets passing to heirs Trust

Have an eternal impact though financial and estate planning today.

Gifts you might make now Avoid capital gains taxes Stock on appreciated stock gift




A Graduate School of Theology and Seminary initiative for financial aid

Get a tax break and list SOT/

Advised Sem as beneficiary for later fund

The longevity of institutions and achievement of long-term goals rely greatly on the success of attaining planned gifts.

Transforming Lives | Changing the World

Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

“Our students are preparing to be leaders in communities of faith, to help people live lives of faithful discipleship in the modern world. At the heart of that work is good theology. I strive to help students learn from wise women and men, past and present, who have sought to make Christian faith meaningful in their lives and their worlds so our graduates might do the same today.” - William J. Cahoy, Dean Emeritus Professor of Theology

“Because of the diverse student body, we are able to experience the global church right in our classroom. . . It’s a gift to be able to take what I am learning in my classes and take these valuable teachings around. . . with energy and passion. This wouldn’t be possible without help from generous donors.” Jessie Bazan ‘17 Jessie came to us from Marquette University, Wisconsin. Jessie's leadership in the liturgy offered to students through her work in Campus Ministry is quite profound. Most recently, she explains the use of a liturgy to help those dealing with grief on a college campus. Insight to her work can be read in the article, “A space to heal" written by Jessie for the U.S. Catholic magazine (July 2016). To read more of Jessie Bazan's story, visit

Christian Communities Need Theologically Sound Leaders Across the globe there is a great need for church leaders who can articulate a dynamic vision of the faith grounded in the ancestral tradition. Our Graduate School of Theology and Seminary cultivates in its students, faculty, and staff a yearning for the wisdom of the Christian tradition and pursuit of truth. Listening carefully to sacred texts, asking searching questions of what our ancestors in the faith understood about God, participating in the tried and true worship practices of the past two millennia, praying the psalms and reading the spiritual classics—these practices help us remain in conversation with God and position our students to be heralds of the Gospel and servant-leaders of Christian communities. Contemporary Christians are yearning for encounters with Christ and are not satisfied with mere ideas about God or information about God’s Law. Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary educates and forms students for life as professionals, ministers and Christian disciples by integrating world class academics, Benedictine practices and a spiritual community in a contemplative environment.

Giving Opportunities $50,000 Endowed Scholarship Fund Donors may established a named endowed scholarship fund with a minimum gift of $50,000 which can be paid over five years or through an estate gift.

$300,000 Full Tuition Endowed Scholarship Fund Establish an endowed fund that will cover full tuition of one student each year.

Any Amount Annual Giving

The need for Scholarships We believe our alumni do great things upon receipt of an education at our school. Graduates touch lives as a professor, a chaplain, a Senior National Associate for Roman Catholic Engagement, as the Director of Bread for the World, as a doctor, and even a producer, director, and host of Salt and Light Catholic Media. Take Gabriel Joseph Ssenkindo ‘99 (above) for example. Gabriel has taken on many different roles for Christ the King Priory in TororoUganda. He credits the SOT/Sem for educating and forming him to minister and serve anywhere and in any situation he encounters, includng COVID-19. Finances should not cripple those in ministry from doing the wonderful work God has called them to do. Ministering families likely have one parent working full-time simply to provide medical insurance. When the bill comes for earning a master’s degree, where will financial support come from? Remove the simple obstacle and wondrous things can happen. For more information about how you can help support scholarships at the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary and read more of Gabriel’s story and others, please go to



A Graduate School of Theology and Seminary initiative for financial aid

Gifts to the Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary Annual Fund are used for financial aid, scholarships, programing and the important work of general operations in order to offer the excellent education and formation our students and communities need.

$30,000 - $75,000 Annual Cost of Attendance Per Student (2 year M.A. vs. 3 year M.Div)

$11,200 Average Full-Time Student Scholarship Award

98 Lay and Ecclesial Student Population

100% Full-Time Lay Students Receiving Aid

Concern over financial aid is the number one reason top candidate students truly seeking God’s will do not attend Saint John’s or do not attend full-time. Knowing they are entering fields where salaries do not allow for financial freedom let alone support a family, students seek schools that will support them in all aspects of following God’s will. Help call forth their gifts through your financial support of a Catholic Benedictine education.

Community of Hope

Fellows Society

Calling forth the spiritual gifts of the faithful is the outcome when pursuing our Catholic mission to

educate and form students for life, ministry, and service. At Saint John’s University Graduate School of Theology and Seminary (SOT/Sem) students are immersed in a Catholic Benedictine communal environment committed to ecclesial and liturgical renewal through integrated world class academics, Benedictine practices, and a spiritual community in a contemplative environment. Christ inaugurated the church as a vehicle of hope, the voice of good news. Through centuries of change and against those in every age who would dismiss our hope as naïve, the church bears witness to the reality of hope in the presence of God. Historically the church has relied on priests and religious to bear this mission of hope, to articulate our faith, lead our liturgies, teach our children, minister to the poor and hurting. Today the church is experiencing major shifts in the shape and practice of this leadership. Heralded by new voices of leadership, a new era is dawning in the church. The Spirit is at work among us calling the baptized to new forms of responsible, adult participation in the life and work of the church. Fittingly, we first experienced this in the liturgy. The baptized are called to participate in this holiest work of the church, not to observe it from the gallery. Now comes the call to participate in the ministry and leadership of the church. In response to this call, leaders are arising from among the laity to carry forward our mission of hope. While the absence of adequate numbers of ordained pastors and religious may have opened the door to this new era, we believe it is the work of the Spirit and a sign of the spiritual maturation of the church that many are stepping forward to walk through that door to leadership. Likewise, we need your leadership. The Spirit calls some brothers and sisters in Christ to be ministers, others are called to be their support and encouragement. Saint John’s University Graduate School of Theology and Seminary provides the discernment, education, and formation students need that they may obey the Spirit’s call as a light in this world. To do so, a Catholic Benedictine education requires financial support. Support we receive from our Community of Hope Fellows Society. Be a leader and become a member of the SOT/Sem Fellows Society in calling forth the gifts of the faithful. Walter Reger

Annual gifts of $1,000 - $1,499

Godfrey Diekmann Annual gifts of $1,500 - $2,499 Martin Schirber

Annual gifts of $2,500 - $4,999

Virgil Michel

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Synod: Entering a new phase Joe Towalski, 2022, “Synod: Entering a new phase” The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine of the Diocese of St. Cloud, November 20, https://

Kristin Colberg is an associate professor of theology at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville. She is the sole U.S. member of the international theological commission for the 2021-2024 worldwide synod with its theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” This fall, she traveled to Frascati, Italy, where she was part of a 24-member group that spent 12 days (Photo is courtesy of the Vatican) in prayer, reflection and discussion while drafting the document for the synod’s continental phase. The document, “Enlarge the Space of Your Tent,” was released by the Vatican in late October. The following interview conducted by editor Joe Towalski was edited for length and clarity.“It is a huge honor to be asked to participate in this important work,” Colberg said. Q: You spent two weeks in the fall in Frascati, Italy, with a group synthesizing the document for the continental phase of the synod. Explain what the continental phase is and how it fits into the synod’s larger scope. Colberg: I think the world Church had a really successful listening phase on the diocesan level. Of the 114 possible reports that could have been turned in by episcopal conferences around the world, there were 112. So the desire is to make the most use of what people said. What did the People of God say during this consultation about how they hear the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit is calling the Church to today? What we did in Frascati was take these 112 reports and we prayerfully read them, discerned and tried to put into a document: “What did the People of God say?” “What did the listening Church hear?” What’s going to happen in the continental phase is that, gathering in seven continental groups, lay leaders and bishops and cardinals from these continents are going to reflect on this listening process. Q: So all the continents are reading the same report. Everybody’s working from the same document. Colberg: Everyone’s working from the same document. [But] then each continent will write another, second report, which will say, “Based on these meetings that we just held, here’s how our continent is going to provide somewhat of a response to that document.” … It’s really a discernment process. Those meetings will happen between February and March. Then I think by March 31 the continents have to each produce their own document. Then one document will come out of those seven, and that document will serve as the official working document for the October [World Synod of Bishops meeting]. Q: When you were having conversations in Frascati, did it strike you that a lot of the issues and situations people are facing around the world as Catholics are more similar than different? Colberg: You’re touching on my biggest takeaway of the whole synod process, which is that I expected to read those 112 reports and feel like: How are we going to bring these together? … Whose concerns are going to get top billing? The amazing thing about these reports is how similar they are, how people want the same thing, how people love the Church and have similar struggles and similar joys. For me, a clear unifying thread among all these reports is a desire for more formation. Everyone in the Church says, “We could be more synodal, we could work better together, we could be stronger if there was more formation for lay people who want to share their gifts more.” Priests also need more formation; bishops need more formation. A second line of commonality in all the reports was the desire to be a more welcoming Church. Everybody talked about the importance of striving for people to feel included. And, yes, when you talk to these people on a personal level, these 24 people I was meeting with, the same thing comes across — people love the Church deeply and see its strengths and its joys but are honest about places that it could be more authentically itself and more reflective of the ministry of Jesus. One thing about this time in Frascati was that it was punctuated every day, multiple times, by prayer. It was a blend between an academic sharing of ideas, a reading of these texts, and lots of prayer. We would have these groups, and we followed this synodal format where everyone spoke once. We went around and everyone would speak for two minutes before anybody could say something twice. So we weren’t building on each other. One point wasn’t carrying the day because this person started first.

But everybody would share, and then we’d be silent. So it’s clear to me that moving forward with synodality … is that it’s about a process. It’s not just about coming up with some perfect text at the end. It’s about having these experiences of listening, of prayerful discernment and working together. Q: Pope Francis has added an extra year to the whole synod process. It’s now running into 2024. What’s your thought about what will happen during that extra time? Colberg: Pope Francis really discerned that the process required more time. From what I have heard, adding an extra year is not adding a new step or something different or something more. It’s more of the same. The Vatican is calling it “two moments” in this last phase. Kristin Colberg in Frascati, Italy, where she worked this fall as part of the drafting committee for the synod’s continental stage document. (Courtesy of Media Office, General Secretariat of the Synod)

I think Pope Francis has realized that shaping people to engage in this kind of discernment and providing the space for it is time-consuming. We want on the universal level — which is going to include many bishops — to come together and be able to hear each other. One thing that some people have commented on is that, when you read some of these reports, sometimes you don’t hear the bishops’ voices and the priests’ voices as clearly, because perhaps there was a sense this was really a time for the laity to speak. But we need to hear the voices of priests and bishops. We need time for that. In the diocesan phase, we had a group of people engaged in listening sessions, but it wasn’t everybody. Maybe when people read these reports or hear from a neighbor, or hear from someone else about this and the authenticity of this process, maybe another opportunity will bring them around and more people will participate. When it comes to synodality … we’re not in this holding pattern waiting for the universal level meetings to happen to find out what comes next. In our Diocese of St. Cloud, David Fremo and his [diocesan synod] team have led such an amazing process that has taught us really important things about ourselves that we could act on now. We don’t have to wait for someone to come back and say, “Hey, you did a good job. Do these three things.” We should just live it now. Q: In the U.S. we also have another big initiative with the National Eucharistic Revival. I hear people ask questions like, “Do these connect in any way?” “Does the synod have something it can offer to the revival as we move forward?” Do you think it does? Colberg: I know the USCCB is really interested in this topic because we don’t want them to be parallel processes or “I was interested in one or the other.” They do go together. … I don’t want to speak too broadly, but the Eucharist is the source and summit of our life, and it is nourishment for the synodal journey. So how do we revitalize our interest and participation in the Eucharist as a way to know Christ deeply and come together as a community, and that makes possible our walking together and our desire to bring others in? … I think that it’s really important to see the Eucharistic Revival and the synod as going together as two major interrelated aspects of our journey, of our walking together, of our community. Q: Is there anything more you would like to say about the synod process, synodality or your experiences with it so far? Colberg: My message is always that the synod is a source of renewal and excitement. … I just think it’s amazing that the Catholic Church is involving lay people in this process to say, “This isn’t just academic theologians or bishops or people in Rome reflecting on this, but it’s really a synod of the whole Church.” Sometimes I think my students have been wanting the Catholic Church to ask them for years what they want, and here is that moment, where the Catholic Church is really asking us, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to you about what is needed in the Church in this time and this place?” I’ll end with this. When you look at the U.S. report, it mentions this right up front: we experience polarization in the Church. We also sometimes experience disappointments in the Church. I think listening is an amazing step toward moving forward. Not only are we called to speak, but we’re called to listen. I just encourage people, despite maybe concerns or busyness, to get excited about the synod. We live in this unique historic moment in the Catholic Church’s life, and Pope Francis is calling us all to participate in it. I couldn’t think [of] any more cause for joy and excitement.

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