byChristopher S. Pineo
BRIGHTON -- The Theological Institute for the New Evangelization at St. John's Seminary held a commencement Mass June 14, and graduated 87 students from certificate programs.
Of the students who received their certificates in the foundational tier of the program, 45 studied at the seminary in Brighton, 10 studied off-site in Natick, and 32 received certificates for the Archdiocese of Portland.
Under the direction of then-rector of St. John's Seminary Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy, David Franks, who is vice president for mission, and his wife, Angela Franks, who is the director of theology programs, created the program in 2009. Both have doctorates in theology.
The foundational certificate programs offer a catechetical track and a Catholicism track. David Franks said the catechetical certificate prepares students to teach the faith, while the Catholicism track focuses a student on understanding the culture and history of the Church.
"We have two ways of getting the foundational certificate. You can either get the catechetical certificate or the Catholicism certificate. The Catholicism certificate is more focused on evangelizing, where the catechetical certificate is more focused on teaching in a classroom. So the skills that we try to provide are slightly different for each of those tracks, but for both of them the basic material is the catechism," Angela Franks said.
Students can follow up their foundational work with the advanced certificate, called the New Evangelization Certificate, which none of the graduates received this year. The New Evangelization Certificate acquaints students with apologetics so they can evangelize more effectively in their lives.
"The certificate programs are built around the fact that the catechism is uniquely suited to provide entry into the exuberant Christian life," David Franks said.