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Theology of the New Evangelization (Self-Paced)


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Full course description

5 Modules (Self-Paced)


What is the New Evangelization?  Why is it important?  How do we do it?  We hear a lot today about answering the call to the New Evangelization, but often with minimal explanation and little depth.  This course provides the opportunity to go deeper into the theological foundations by surveying essential church documents guided by the expertise of Sacred Heart Major Seminary faculty.

The course will guide students through Pope Francis’ call to Missionary Discipleship in Joy of the Gospel and looks at how the Archdiocese of Detroit applies that vision in the local church by reviewing Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel. The goal of this course is to provide participants with a richer theological grasp of the New Evangelization, equipping them to more fully answer the call to missionary discipleship and help others answer that call as well.

This course is not intended to be academically strenuous but to provide a shallow-entry point for those who have busy lives and need flexibility.

This course is designed for personal enrichment and does not count towards any academic credit at Sacred Heart Major Seminary or for any certification in the Archdiocese of Detroit. 



Dr. Matthew Gerlach
Dean of the Institute for Lay Ministry / Associate Professor of Theology
Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit MI



For questions about course content contact the instructor using the Inbox on the red menu bar on the left side of your online course page. For technical support see the Tech Support guide in the Welcome module of the course.


Guest Lecturers:

  • Mr. Paco Gavrilides, STL - Instructor of Homiletics

  • Dr. Robert Fastiggi, PhD - Professor of Systematic Theology

  • Dr. Donald Wallenfang (OCDS), PhD - Professor of Theology / Philosophy

  • Dr. Mary Healy, STD - Professor of Sacred Scripture

  • Fr. John Vandenakker (CC), STD - Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology & Director of Graduate Pastoral Formation

  • Dr. Ralph Martin, STD - Professor of Theology & Director of Graduate Programs in the New Evangelization



No required textbooks for this course. There will be links to suggested readings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church each week.


Schedule of Topics:  

  • Intro Module –  What is the New Evangelization? (Gavrilides)

  • Module 1 –  St. Pope Paul VI’s Call to Evangelization in the Modern World (Fastiggi)

  • Module 2 –  Pope Francis’ Call to Missionary Discipleship (Wallenfang)

  • Module 3 –  Archbishop Vigneron’s Call to Unleash the Gospel (Healy)

  • Module 4 –  How to Evangelize: Practical Tips (Vandenakker)

  • Module 5 –  Urgency of the New Evangelization (Martin)


Module Activities:

The following learning activities are available to students each week. There are no specific requirements. Those who complete all the videos and self-tests will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. 

  • Lectures featuring distinguished faculty members from Sacred Heart Major Seminary

  • Recommended readings and links to additional learning resources

  • Self-test to see what you’ve learned

  • Suggested topical Scriptures for Lectio Divina prayer

The time commitment is flexible for this course.  Lectures are generally around 20-25 minutes long. Participants who are interested in completing all recommended readings and course tasks can expect to spend around 2-3 hours/modle on the course. However, levels of participation and engagement are up to the discretion of the individual.


All Equip Courses Include These Features:

  • A dedicated online learning support coordinator to offer prompt assistance

  • 24/7 access to the digital learning environment

  • Engagement as a community of connected learners who share a common faith

  • Extended access to course content after the course end date

  • Learning environment support provided by Canvas (our learning management platform)

  • Technical assistance provided by Sacred Heart’s IT staff

  • A Certificate of Completion is awarded to those who complete the course learning activities


Technical Requirements:

Canvas Tech Requirements