The readers’ forum

A feminist Catholic approach


Every March, during Women’s History Month, thousands of corporate, public and philanthropic organizations launch public information campaigns and educational events to create pathways to women’s advance in the workforce.

St. Thomas University, a small, private school affiliated with the Archdiocese of Miami, is following a two-prong approach that features educational workshops with business networking opportunities as well as the development of a “feminist” Catholic course series, to be offered in summer by its School of Theology and Ministry.

St. Thomas’ Department of Career Services launched a Women’s History Month series that included a career expo that connected employers with students and alumni, résumé writing workshops and a Leadership Series called Adelante!, sponsored by the U.S. Educational Fund. Meanwhile, the School of Law’s Institute of Human Rights, led by Executive Director Christine Reis, continues to provide legal support and representation to women immigrants, “Dreamers” and elderly women in public-health institutions.

Beyond the traditional approach, Maria Pascuzzi, dean of St. Thomas’ School of Theology and Ministry, is launching the first-ever Summer Program Theology Series that empowers women to preside in worship, lead in pastoral ministry and make a marked difference in global conflict resolution. Courses start in June, and the series culminates with two intense weeks focused on religious peace building, religious resources for conflict transformation, violence prevention and reconciliation processes in transitional societies.

Maria Pilar Aquino, professor of theology at the University of San Diego, will be the visiting professor leading Conflict, Religious Peace-Building, and Reconciliation from 5:30-8:30 p.m. during the weeks of July 8 and July 15. A doctoral graduate from the Pontifical University of Salamanca, her teaching and research focus on the function of theologies in societal systems and human relationships, and their implications for social justice and constructive change.

St. Thomas School of Theology is committed to empowering women of God, creating high-level intellectual experiences and study areas of interest year long. Women church leaders — within an ecumenical approach — can advance their communal worship services, and professionals as well as housewives looking to go into ministry work can add to their academic credentials through the university’s BA in religious studies (also taught online), the masters in pastoral ministry or in divinity, a Ph.D. in practical theology and various certificate programs.

Marivi Prado, president, Women for Human Rights International, Miami

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