Nine masters' of theology degrees to be awarded from the Institute for Pastoral Theology

Nine master’s of theological studies degrees will be awarded Saturday, June 13, at the 2009 graduation ceremonies of the Institute for Pastoral Theology in St. Louis.

Graduation will be at 10 a.m. at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. Mass will be celebrated, followed by the commencement and an address by Lawrence Feingold, a professor in the program who has a doctoral degree in systematic theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

The Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University, based in Naples, Fla., came to the St. Louis Archdiocese in 2005 at the invitation of then-Archbishop Raymond Burke. The Institute for Pastoral Theology offers a three-year alternative format master’s degree program in theological study. The first class of seven students graduated in spring 2007.

Conscience protection needs action, letter says

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference and two members of Congress have called on President Barack Obama to make good on something he said in his May 17 speech to University of Notre Dame graduates, namely that he wished to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion.”

In a May 22 statement, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said he was grateful for Obama’s promise to support conscience clauses.

At a May 19 press conference in Washington and in a letter sent that day to the president, Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., urged Obama to forgo rescinding the Bush administration’s conscience-protection regulation. They also asked Obama to “commit to defending conscience protections in future rule-making.”

Poor economy, low enrollment cause two Catholic schools to close

Two private Catholic schools — Linda Vista and Gateway Academy High School — are closing at the end of the current school year.

Officials at both schools cited low enrollment and the economic downturn as factors in the closures.

Developing our Catholic faith

Christian Brothers College High School Class of 2009 salutatorian Will Behrens gave this talk to those attending the CBC graduation ceremonies May 17. He discussed the need for young people to develop their Catholic faith.

Ladies, gentleman, faculty, administration and the Class of 2009:

Each senior here today achieves a significant milestone in his life by graduating from high school. Accomplishing such a feat tends to focus our thoughts on the past as well as the future.

St. Martin of Tours School in Lemay to close

St. Martin of Tours School in Lemay will close at the end of the current school year.

Bishop Robert Hermann, archdiocesan administrator, has approved the recommendation of Father Charles Ferrara, the pastor, his parish council, school board and finance committee to close the school.

The recommendation to close was supported by the Catholic Education Office, which forwarded it to the bishop.

St. Martin of Tours was one of several parishes with financial problems related to their schools. Due to the economic downturn,  the archdiocese was requiring parishes to balance their budgets in order to keep their schools open for the 2009-2010 school year.

After working for several months to cut costs and increase enrollment and donations, St. Martin of Tours could not comply with the requirement and was projecting a deficit for the 2009-2010 school year.

Declining enrollment and rising costs are the principal reasons for the deficit, according to the parish report.

St. Martin of Tours School opened in 1939, the year the parish was founded, with 160 students. Enrollment reached a high of 320 students in 1944.


In the May 15 Vacation and Mass Guide supplement of the St. Louis Review, Ave Maria University in Florida was incorrectly identified as a Catholic university. Ave Maria University, which is seeking recognition from the bishop of the Diocese of Venice, Fla., is a university in the Catholic tradition.

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