Marianist Studies: CommunityCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

From the first days of the Church, people longing to know and live the Gospel of Jesus gathered into small communities. "The letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles both make clear that the early communities of Christians ordinarily gathered in the homes of members." (Lee and Cowan). This way of being Church evolved into structures we now know as parishes. However, the need for smaller, more personal ways to develop one's faith remained. Within Marianist tradition, community is a key component of its spirit and charism. This course will investigate both the general elements of Church life and the principles around which small faith communities operate and the particular characteristics of Marianist faith communities. Class members will be introduced to the Marianist Family, religious as well as lay communities. Various ways are described of how communities support members and address critical needs of our world. The impact of these communities on Church and culture also will be addressed, as well as their importance to the future of the Church.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Be aware of sources on the theology of community in the Church today and into the future.
  • Articulate the principles of community within a Marianist context.
  • Discuss the importance of forming community in the Marianist spirit.
  • Be familiar with the different types of community in the Church today.
  • Become knowledgeable about various expressions of Marianist community.
  • Understand how the characteristics of Marianist communities differ from other forms of community in the Church.

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Christ's Call to Community
    • To understand the scriptural roots of community in the Church
    • To be familiar with the historical progression of community in the Church
    • To be aware of the spirituality of community in the Church
  • Week 2: Community in the Church Today
    • To be acquainted with the various types of communities in the Church today
    • To become aware of the effect of small faith-sharing communities on the Church today
    • To understand why Christians join communities and the impact of communities on the individual
  • Week 3: Community in a Marianist Context
    • To become acquainted with the role of community in the history of Marianist life
    • To understand what being in community means in light of the Marianist charism
    • To be aware of the characteristics of Marianist community
  • Week 4: Expressions of Community in Marianist Life Today
    • To become familiar with the current expressions of community in Marianist life
    • To appreciate the distinctions and interrelationships of types of community in the different states or expressions of Marianist life
    • To understand the principle of equality among lay, religious, and ordained in Marianist life
  • Week 5: Marianist Communities and Their Role in the Church into the Future
    • To discern the role of Marianist communities in the future of the Church
    • To recognize the responsibility of Marianist communities in transforming society
    • To envision the future of Marianist life