For a change, today’s column is personal. Fr. Sergio asked me if I could write something to let the parishioners know about my studies. That’s what I am doing here. This is in response to many queries he and I have been receiving regarding my studies. Upon my word, all those times I said I was going to school; I actually did go to school!!

After my stint at Santa Clara University, I embarked on pursuing a doctoral program at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Of the six required semesters, I have completed four – two more to go. My doctorate is in practical theology.

Now you might ask what practical theology is. Over the past few decades, Protestants and Catholics have shown much interest and invested a lot in practical theology. It has found its irreplaceable place in the academia. Paradoxically, its goal is take theology away from academia and bring it to common people and make every believer a theologian. Practical theologians claim that all theologies are practical theology in the sense that their starting point is human experience.

Practical theology takes human experience and “context” seriously. It seeks to drive home the point that faith is a performative and embodied act and that the gospel is not just something to be believed, but also something to be lived. This idea of faith as a performance and exploring the nature and faithfulness of that performance is at the heart of practical theology. It follows a pattern of practice-theory -practice. The validation of theory-laden practices is done by qualitative and quantitative researches and by the use of social sciences.

For the final project (dissertation) I plan to write on Mediating the Immediacy of God: A Practical Theology of the Kingdom of God. I will submit my proposal in this coming January and hope to get it approved before the last semester of class in June 2018.

Thank you for asking. As always, I am touched by your love and concern. They are my tonic. When you have finished praying for everybody and everything else, please whisper to God about this project of mine. For without Him, I can do nothing!

God bless you and have a grace-filled week.

-Fr. Abe