Eclesiología: Pueblo de Dios Llamado a la Comunión

This course is available upon request by partner dioceses. Prior completion of the course "El Camino de la Fe" is recommended. For more information, contact Esther Terry.

Course Description

God calls us to meet him in history through Jesus Christ and his mystery of salvation. Those of us who accept this call and live according to God's plan recognize ourselves as the Church, the People of God. The Church is above all a community of believers, which God has desired from the beginning of time. The Christian mystery cannot be fully understood without the Church, since Christ is the head and the Church is his body. This course gives us the opportunity to be drawn into the mystery of the Church, its roots, nature, structure, and mission in the world throughout history. The course closely follows the presentation of the Church found within the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with readings from other ecclesial documents and complementary texts. Recognizing that the Church is an incarnate reality in the history and geography of the people who constitute it, the course invites participants to integrate their particular ecclesial experiences, articulate pressing questions, and discern how to live the call to be a community of faith more authentically in the here and now.

Course Content

Unit 1: Nature and Structure of the Church
  • What does it mean to be Church?
  • Trinitarian roots of the Church
  • The Church and the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ
  • The Church as the People of God
  • The four marks of the Church
  • The importance of the Church's visible structures
Unit 2: The Church in Sacred Scripture and Tradition
  • God calls a people in the Old Testament
  • Images of the Church in the New Testament
  • The Church in the imagination of saints and great theologians in history
  • The Church in the contemporary world according to the Second Vatican Council
Unit 3: The Mission of the Church - Evangelization
  • Evangelization and New Evangelization
  • Centrality of the Word and the Sacraments
  • The Church as a community of missionary disciples
  • Vocation to communion
  • What is the Social Doctrine of the Church?
Unit 4: The Church from the Time of Christ until Today - A Brief Historic Overview
  • The first five centuries of the Church
  • The Church in the golden age of monasteries
  • The Church in the Middle Ages
  • The Church in the modern era
  • The Church in the last century
Unit 5: Being Church in the United States and in a Globalized World
  • The Catholic Church in the United States
  • The ecclesial experience of Catholic Hispanics in the 21st century
  • The Church in the global village
  • Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue
  • The Church in a secular society
  • The Church as conscience, model, and witness in contemporary society

Required Texts

  • Copy of the Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (available online)
  • Catholic Bible
  • Brief texts and links to online materials will accompany each unit

Recommended Texts

Course Requirements

  • Weekly reading of assigned texts and materials
  • Participation in class discussions in the forums (minimum of two comments, questions or responses each week)
  • Written assignment (between 150 and 200 words)
  • Weekly chat session (minimum 4 chats)

Time Required

  • 4 to 6 hours per week (this varies from student to student depending on learning style and available study time) 

Course Certificate

  • A Certificate of Completion awarding 30 Contact Hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Meet the Developer

Dr. Hosffman Ospino

Hosffman Ospino

Dr. Hosffman Ospino is a professor of theology and religious education in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. His research focuses on the impact of the conversation between faith and culture in the educational and pastoral practices in the Church. He is the editor of Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century (Convivium Press, 2010), and the author of El catecismo de Pedro: ¿Quién Dices Que Soy Yo? ¿Por Qué Dudas? ¿Me Amas? (Liguori, 2011) and Evangelización y catequesis en el ministerio hispano: Guía para la formación en la fe (Liguori, 2013). He is currently working on two books about multicultural parishes. Dr. Ospino served as principal investigator for the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry (2011-2013), the results of which have been disseminated in various publications. He frequently addresses academic and pastoral audiences, both nationally and internationally. 

Course development made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.