Syllabus for Order Franciscans of Mercy
Order Franciscans of Mercy
Application Guidelines  &  Course Catalogue


© Order Franciscans of Mercy / Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus

Presented for the greater glory of God and for seeking the Divine Mercy and Love of Almighty
God and His beloved Mother Mary under Her Title Our Lady of Mercy

A Publication of The Order Franciscans of Mercy,
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus
Copyright © 2007 Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus

Seminary Syllabus  
Order Franciscans Of Mercy/Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus


The Seminary is primarily responsible for the spiritual and theological education of members of the Order
Franciscans of Mercy, Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus and other small autocephalous Catholic
jurisdictions, thereby preparing them for ministry within the Body of Christ.

We believe that one’s life experience is often more important in preparing one for Church ministry than
intense theological Education, therefore, life experience is taken into account toward fulfillment of the
training requirements. Usually, an individualized course of study is formulated.

The Seminary program is a combination of academic study, pastoral experience, theological reflection,
and spiritual formation. The Seminary takes care to offer training at an affordable level of tuition since
prospective students do not usually have institutional financial support.

The Seminary’s programs are open to all individuals wishing to deepen their religious knowledge and
understanding and not only for a vowed commitment.

Candidates for Ordination

Candidates for Ordination must forward, as part of their Seminary application process, a letter of intent
and the desired order they aspire to be ordained.
Training for Ordination is much more than a matter of academic studies. Therefore, in addition to
completing the courses listed in the syllabus, seminarians with the Order Franciscans of Mercy should
maintain regular continuing communication with the Father General and/or the Abbot throughout
seminary studies. Such a relationship assists in discerning one’s spiritual progress and in working
through spiritual issues as these may arise through the course of training.
Additionally, seminarians must arrange for a placement in a pastoral context. This is usually undertaken
after Ordination to the Diaconate.
Acceptance as a student in a study program does not ensure Ordination. For candidates with the Order
Franciscans of Mercy, interviews with the Minister General at appropriate points, during which the
candidate’s academic and spiritual progress is assessed, are the norm. The Minister General and or the
Bishop Protector makes a recommendation on admission to Orders based on these interviews.

Method of Study
The Seminary employs a Self-Study model as its method of study. This method involves the intensive
study of set texts, with the exploration of other supplementary materials.  Practicum work may be
required for some courses. Although the student is assisted by instructors in each course, this method
requires self-motivation on the part of the student.

For every course undertaken, the following must be done:

A.        One or more books listed for that course are to be read, synopsized with an outline and discussion
of major themes in a paper of no more than 5 or less than 2 pages typed double space and submitted for
review or discussion as needed.

B.       Students may choose, in consultation with the instructor, to read additional material in any course
and additional reading is always suggested.

C.      Once all reading and summary papers have been completed, a two-page typed theological
reflection paper is to be written. This paper explores how the course reading has impacted one’s sense of
God, of self and of ministry.

D.      Other completion requirements may be set by the course instructor. In most cases this will involve
the undertaking of a special project and/or the completion of an exam.

The course instructor, in consultation with the student, may modify the above requirements at his/her
discretion to better meet the student’s particular circumstances.

For every course, completion is based on the student receiving a “Satisfactory” grading from the
instructor. A three-month time period is suggested for completion of each course. But students may
choose to remain in a course until such time as a “Satisfactory” grade is achieved. The instructor offers
guidance and assistance throughout the duration of the course.

Certificates and Diploma

The Seminary offers three awards for successful completion of studies:

Certificate of Course Completion (Cert. C. C.)

Certificate in Theological Studies (Cert.Theol.Stu.)

Diploma in Theology (Dipl.Theol.)

Students wishing only to deepen their religious knowledge may choose to take individual courses rather
than pursuing a Certificate or the Diploma. These students will receive a Certificate of Course Completion
for each course taken. Students doing courses this way may, at a later date, have these courses applied
to the granting of the two Certificates and the Diploma.

The Certificate in Theological Studies is granted following the successful completion of the first half of
the courses listed in the syllabus. It is required of those being ordained to the Diaconate, either
permanent or transitional.

The Diploma in Theology satisfies the requirements for Ordination as a Deacon or priest in the Order
Franciscans of Mercy. Granting of this Diploma requires successful completion of all courses listed in the
syllabus below.

Application Process

The application process involves a joint review of life experience to evaluate equivalence to required
courses. Prior theological education is also assessed in order to establish the candidate’s current
knowledge and to determine which specific topics the individual needs to study. This enables the
creation of a personal course of studies with specific requirements to be fulfilled as one progress towards
Ordination. As well, theological degrees, diplomas and certificates previously completed are reviewed to
assess equivalence with the Diploma in Theology. Therefore, it is possible to only have to take a few
supplemental courses(e.g., Sacramental Theology, Liturgical Theology, etc.) in order to meet the
educational requirements for Ordination.

Individual Courses

Those applying to take an individual course must submit the following:

1.     A completed seminary application form

2.    A personal check for the course fee, made out to Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Order
Franciscans of Mercy – see Fees section below for details

Certificate/Diploma Programs

Applicants for the Certificate/Diploma programs (this includes all individuals seeking Ordination) must
possess at least a high school diploma which should be submitted at the time of application. Life
experience is taken into consideration for equivalence to formal education. Credit for theological studies
previously completed may be granted as long as they have been certified.

Candidates for Ordination and non-Ordination students applying for the Certificate/Diploma programs
must submit the following:

1.      A completed seminary application form

2.    A paper of no more than 5 or less than 3 typed pages outlining one’s reasons for undertaking the
Diploma program, with an emphasis on its role in one’s spiritual development

3.   Official transcript of highest educational diploma/degree

4.    Official transcripts of prior theological education(if applicable)

5.      A brief explanation of applicable life experience the applicant wants considered in lieu of a
prescribed course(s)

6.       A $50 non-refundable application fee  (by personal check made out to Mission Saints Sergius and
Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy)

7.        A Criminal Records check that is within the last 6 months or a check in the amount of $60 mad out
to the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas along with the CORI application Form.


Fees are charged and payable on a per-course basis. For students applying to take an individual course,
the course fee is payable upon application.

For students applying for the Certificate(s)/Diploma programs, course fees are payable upon course(s)

Fee per course: $30.00

All students, including Seminarians, are solely responsible for payment of all course fees, the cost of
books and study materials, and any costs associated with spiritual accompaniment/direction and pastoral
placements, all housing and living expenses and any transportation costs incurred by either the student
candidate or seminary instructor in they have to travel to the candidates location unless other
arrangements have been made prior to starting the program.

Course Descriptions

*** indicates Must Read

Students must read at least 3 of each book suggested per course unless otherwise indicated for the

A 01        Franciscan Theology

(Mandatory for entrance to Order Franciscans of Mercy) Must Read at least Six (6) of the following and
submit an essay on at least 3 of the books read.

St Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources by St Francis of Assisi  ***

Murray Bobo,      Through The Year With Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony Messenger, 1993  ***

Frank G. Rega,             St. Francis and the Conversion of the Muslims Tan Books, 2007

Ilia Delio:          Franciscan Prayer

Leonard Foley, OFM, To Live as Francis Lived, St. Anthony Messenger, 2000

William of Ockham:   'A Letter to the Friars Minor'  ***

Fr. Marion A. Habig, OFM,     Franciscan Readings, Franciscan Herald Press, 1979 ***

John Moorman’s,                     History of the Franciscan Order, Franciscan Herald Press, 1988

Laurent Gallant, OFM,             The Geste of the Great King, Office of the Passion of Francis of Assisi, The
Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventura University, 2001 **

Kenan Osborne, O.F.M.,         The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition: Tracing Its origins and Identifying Its
Central Components [Franciscan Heritage Series, Volume 1], St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: Franciscan Institute.

Dawn M. Nothwehr, O.S.F.,    The Franciscan View of the Human Person: Some Central Elements
[Franciscan Heritage Series, Volume 3], St. Bonaventure, N.Y., Franciscan Institute.

James Meyer, OFM,    The Words of St. Francis, An Anthology, Franciscan Herald Press1982 **

For ONLINE RESEARCH: Franciscan Archives @ (Articles, documents,
history, liturgy)

A 02 Church History (Choose 3 from list)

Brian Moynahan,          The Faith, A History of Christianity, Doubleday 2002

John C. Dwyer,            Church History, New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

Huston Smith,   World’s Religions, San Francisco : Harper Collins

John McManners,         The oxford illustrated History of Christianity, Oxford University Press

A 03 Sources of Autocephalous Catholic Jurisdictions

Karl Prüter,      The Old Catholic Church (Revised Edition), Highlandville: St. Willibrord Press.**

C.B. Moss,      The Old Catholic Movement: Its Origins and History, Berkeley: The Apocryphile Press.**

A 04 Biblical Studies I:  Introduction and Old Testament

Must read at least 3 of the following

Brevard S. Childs,        Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989.

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary: Student Edition (selected sections)

Liturgy Training Publications,     The Bible Documents **

John H. Hayes & Carol R. Holladay,    Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Book, Atlanta: John Knox Press,
1987. **

Peter J. Gomes,            The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart,San Francisco: Harper,

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor,      Paul: A Critical Life, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997

A 05  Christian Theology

Must read at least 8 of the following with a paper for each.

Donald J. Goergen, Ann Garrido,                      The Theology of Priesthood. The Liturgical Press,
Collegeville, MN 2000 **

Anthony E. Gilles,                     The Evolution of Philosophy: An Overview of Western Thought as it Relates
to Judeo-Christian Tradition, New York: Alba House, 1987.

Clayton N. Jefford,                   The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005.

J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Revised Edition),
New York: HarperSanFrancisco: A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1978.**

Catherine DeHuck Doherty:      Poustinia

Frederick Coppleston, S.J.,      Aquinas: An Introduction to the Life and Work of the Great Medieval
Thinker, London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1991.

Neil Douglas Klotz:                   Prayer of the Cosmos

Fr. Richard Rohr:                      Simplicity

Peter Kreeft,                            A Shorter Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas
Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993.

Richard McBrien,                     Catholicism: New Study Edition--Completely Revised and Updated, San
Francisco: Harper, 1994. (selected sections)

Jospeh Martos,                         Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic
Church, Garden City: Doubleday(Image Books), 1982.

Joseph Lécuyer, C.S.Sp.,                     What is a Priest?, New York: Hawthorn Books, 1959.

James T. O’Connor,     The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist (Second edition), San Francisco:
Ignatius Press, 2005.

Robert A. Sungenis,      Not by Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic
Sacrifice, Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing, 2000.

John A. Hardon, S.J.,   With Us Today: On the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, Naples, Fl.:
Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University, 2005.

John Gallagher,             The Basis for Christian Ethics, New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

Timothy E. O’Connell,         Principles for a Catholic Morality,
San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978.

Fr. Thomas Merton,O.C.S.O.,             The Seven Storey Mountain,

Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O,        No Man Is An Island

Fr. Thomas Merton OCS,                    CONTEMPLATION IN A WORLD OF ACTION  

A 06 Homosexuality

Must read at least three (3)

Peter J. Liuzzi, O.Carm,            With Listening Hearts, Paulist Press, 2001**

John Boswell,   Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality:  University of Chicago Press,  1980

Rev. Ronals Lawler OFM Cap.            Catholic Sexual Ethics, Our Sunday Visitor, 1985

l. William Countryman:  Gifted by Otherness **

Gareth Moore, O.P.,    A Question of Truth: Christianity and Homosexuality, London: Continuum Books,

Jack Rogers:     Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality

Rev. Ronald Lawler OFMCap.             Catholic Sexual Ethics, Our Sunday Visitor, 1985

Gary David Comstock,             Unrepentant, Self-Affirming,Practicing, Continuum Publishing Co, New York,

Gary David Comstock,             Que(e)rying Religion, A critical Anthology, Continuum Publishing Co, New
York, 1997

A 07 Liturgical Theology

(Must read 3 of the five)

Cardinal Roger Mahoney,                     Gather Faithfully Together, Liturgy Training Publication 1997

Elizabeth Hoffman,                                The Liturgy Documents, Liturgy Training Publications, 1991

Adrian Fortescue,                    The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, London: Longmans, Green and
Co., 1912

Romano Guardini,                     The Spirit of the Liturgy, London: Sheed & Ward, 1930

A. G. Martimont,          The Liturgy and Time: The Church at Prayer, vol. IV, The Liturgical Press,
Collegeville, Minnesota, 1986.

A 08  Canon Law

James A. Coriden,                    An Introduction to Canon Law, New York: Paulist Press, 1991 (rev. ed. 2004).

A 09 Pastoral Practicum

A supervised placement as a pastoral assistant will be assigned following Diaconal Ordination.

A 10 Ordination Paper/Presentation

A 15 to 20 page paper reflecting on your preparation for Ordination to the Priesthood and an Oral
presentation/discussion of the paper will be made to the Dean of the Seminary and the Minister General
of the Order and presiding Bishop Protector.
The written paper is to be submitted to members of the panel two weeks prior to the oral

Seminary Officials:      Chancellor & Dean: – Rev. Fr.  Robert Johnnene OFM, Minister General
Faculty Advisors-        Rev. Fr. Paul Meyers OFM,

Application TO:

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy
181 South Main Street #611
Fall River, MA 02721

Please print this page & complete the application (use extra sheets if necessary).

Full Name:  



E-mail Address:


Phone Number with Area Code and times available by phone:


Applying for:

Diploma Program_____           Certificate Program____          Individual Course____

List all Education, Degrees and Credentials held, relevant Life Experience (such as your sense of “being
called”, significant mentors of your vocation, church involvement, work, volunteerism, etc.) and Religious
and Theological Courses you have taken. Be sure to specify which of these you would like us to consider
for transfer credit or to satisfy course requirements. Attach extra pages if necessary. This is not required
if you are applying to take an individual course.


Primary reason for taking Courses:












Print Name

Date of Birth _________________

Name You Choose Upon as Franciscan Name (If Applicable)


Your signature:

Date: _______________

Enclose non-refundable $30 application (or course) fee. (Make Check payable to “Mission Saints Sergius
& Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy)

Mail completed application to:

Rev. Robert Johnnene OFM

Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus

181 South Main Street #611
Fall River, MA 02721

Your admissions file will be complete once we receive:  

1) Your mailed, completed, hand-signed application

2) $30 Application Fee (or $30 course fee if only registering for individual course)

3) Transcripts for highest diploma/degree granted and for any theological diploma/degree or education.
(Diploma/Certificate applications only)

4) A brief explanation of applicable life experience the applicant wants considered in lieu of prescribed
course(s) (Diploma/Certificate applications only)

5) A Criminal Records check that is within the last 6 months or a check in the amount of $60 made out to
the Reformed Catholic Church  along with the CORI application Form.

Revised: July 22, 2016 Feast of St. Mary Magdalene