This is an online program and international students cannot maintain or obtain F-1 student visa or status or I-20 form through this program.
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Redemptor Hominis and the Witness of John Paul II
You’ll study the life and thought of John Paul II through a consideration of his autobiographical writings and very brief selections from his works, focusing on his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (“The Redeemer of Man”).
Faith and Reason According to John Paul II
Explore the encyclical Fides et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason), including two overarching claims about the relationship between faith and reason: “Each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action,” and “Each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled.” We aim to understand these claims as they pertain to the works of John Paul II and those specific thinkers named as exemplars such as Edith Stein, Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain.
You’ll study the philosophical project and method of Polish philosopher Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II (1920-2005) through an explanation of the Thomistic character of his thought and the role of phenomenology in exploring the subjectivity of the person. The focus will be on conscience as the centerpiece of Person and Act and Veritatis Splendor (“The Splendor of Truth”).
The Family and the Civilization of Love
After a brief review of the principles of theology of the body, you’ll do a close study of love and responsibility, including the notions of Communion of persons, the law of free giving and the vocation of marriage. In Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”), we study the role of the family in a civilization of love and the threats from a culture of death.
Social/Political Teaching of John Paul II
You’ll study the social encyclicals of John Paul II Laborem Exercens (“Engaging in Work”); Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (“Solicitude for the Social Condition”); Centesimus Annus (“The Hundredth Year”). Explore the dignity of the person in community through work, family, social solidarity and economic development, culminating in the participation in cultural and political life. Human rights will be a special theme, especially freedom of conscience and the right to freedom of religion.
Divine Mercy and the Work of Holy Spirit
You’ll study the two encyclicals completing the Trinitarian vision of John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia (“Rich in Mercy”) and Dominum et Vivificantem (“Lord and Giver of Life”). Trace the meaning of mercy in the OT and NT, define its special characteristics in relation to justice and understand the meaning of the cross in mercy as the work of the Church. The life and work of St. Faustina will be of special interest for this course.
Vatican II and Sources of Renewal
Examine the event, documents and reception of Vatican Council II as evident through the participation and writings of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Sources of Renewal) and various writings of Pope John Paul II, especially the Extraordinary Synod on Vatican II (1985). Study in detail two major documents: The Church (Lumen Gentium) and Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). Explore issues surrounding the “hermeneutic of continuity” and seek to discover the deepest sources of renewal through the Eucharist Ecclesia de Eucharistia (“The Church from the Eucharist”) and the patronage of Mary as Mother of the Church.
Culture, Education and Lay Apostolate
This course on the Christian engagement with culture and education completes the study of the thought of John Paul II through a reading of the encyclicals Slavorum Apostoli (“Apostles of the Slavs”) and Redemptoris Missio (“The Mission of the Redeemer”). You’ll examine the special role of the laity in apostolate to culture and the framework for the training and education of the laity. Also included are Christifidelis Laici: On The Vocation And The Mission Of The Lay Faithful In The Church And In The World and the Vatican II Apostolicam Actuositatem (On Lay Apostolate).
Capstone: JP2 in Context of Polish Culture & History
You’ll study the thought of Pope Saint John Paul II in the context of Polish history and culture. Themes include the dignity of the person, love and marriage, work and society, politics and human rights, religious freedom and religious pluralism, with a special consideration of the Jewish people and Judaism, the existence of God, divine mercy, sanctity and humanism. With the class, you’ll visit sites in Poland that have special relevance to his life and thought.
Final Project in John Paul II Studies
You’ll plan and complete a final project in consultation with and approval from a faculty member. Final projects may include such products as a research paper, curriculum plan, set of talks and homilies, outline summaries of key works or an artistic, photographic or video production.
This 30-hour program includes the online study of the life and thought of Saint John Paul II through his writings. Synthesize your studies with a capstone course featuring travel to sites in Poland that have special relevance to his work, and complete a final project.
Tuition for the MA in John Paul II Studies program is $407 per credit hour ($1221 per 3-hour class).
The Saint John Paul II Institute offers tuition assistance to help students toward the completion of their degree. A form requesting financial assistance is included in the application process.
*Graduate students may also incur costs associated with books, travel and other expenses.
**The university adds a per semester technology fee and one-time new user fee.
This 18-hour program includes the online study and overview of the life of Saint John Paul II through his writings. There is a core of four 3-hour courses (12 hours) that every student is required to take plus two electives they may select to complete the 18-hour program.
Amongst the electives, a student may select to do a synthesis of their studies by selecting the capstone course as one of their electives, which features travel to sites in Poland that have special relevance to Saint John Paul II’s work.
For information on the tuition for the Certificate in John Paul II Studies program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Certificate seeking students may also incur costs associated with books, travel and other expenses. The university adds a per semester technology fee and one-time new user fee.
The program covers:
Two courses in the Polish Language
The student must take 2 semesters of language study.
Two required courses
Required for the program:
Two elective courses
The student may select to study abroad for 15 days to a whole semester.
Requirements are as follows:
University of St. Thomas
Office of Graduate Admissions
3800 Montrose Blvd., Box #7
Houston, TX 77006
Requirements are as follows:
University of St. Thomas
Office of Graduate Admissions
3800 Montrose Blvd., Box #7
Houston, TX 77006
*Transcript(s) from a foreign country must have a completed course-by-course evaluation and received by the University of St. Thomas within one semester of enrollment.
World Education Services: 212-966-6311
Global Credential Evaluators: 979-690-8912
Span Tran Educational Services: 713-789-6022
SDR Education Consultants: 713-460-3525
**You’re waived from the English proficiency requirement if at least one of the following applies:
You’ve earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution
You’ve earned a degree in a country where English is the official language
Priority deadlines for admissions are as follows:
“I'm happy to endorse this Institute for the study of Saint John Paul II, at a time when his message concerning the dignity of the person, rooted in the redemption of Christ, is more needed than ever. Throughout his work we find a depth of faith and the vigor of reason in a perfect combination for a full and authentic education. The Saint John Paul II Institute at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas, promises a great opportunity for such an education.”
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Archbishop of Philadelphia
“The thought of Pope St. John Paul II is a great gift to the Church throughout the world. So is the St. John Paul II Institute at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. The Institute's work will help ensure that John Paul II's penetrating insights into the human condition reach the broad audience they deserve.”
Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Saint John Paul II developed a profound vision of the dignity of the human person in relation to others and ultimately to God. He brought this vision to the world stage where he inspired and guided the Catholic Church. He traveled around the globe to influence political leaders and lead social movements promoting the dignity of the human person and to respect freedom of conscience and religion. His signature phrases, such as “Be not afraid,” and “Love is stronger than death”, changed the hearts and minds of believers and non‐believers.
Learn about the different qualities that made Saint John Paul II special:
"I send you greetings in the name of beauty, which is the profile of God, the cause of Christ, and the cause of Poland.” (John Paul II, 1941.)
A collection of poetry by Pope John Paul II’s work from 1939 – 1978 can be read in The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II.
In his poetry, one can discover symbolic images and objects that appear constantly and carry on the central ideas of his worldview. Examples of such central themes, which organize deep human experience into the material of linguistic signs, include:
"When I think of the Eucharist, and look at my life as a priest, as a bishop, and as the successor of Peter, I naturally recall the many times and places in which I was able to celebrate it."
"This gives me a powerful experience of its universal and cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world."
Poland is home to:
While there are a million things that make Poland such an amazing country, here are four categories that highlight what separates Poland from anywhere else in the world:
Polish saints include:
Two great Polish writers who were influential in the life of St. John Paul II: Adam Mickiewicz, 1798-1855 and Cyprian Norwid, 1821-1883
Two great Polish musicians
Frédéric Chopin, 1810-1849 and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, 1860-1945, President of Free Poland
Poland is known for its amazing landscapes and beautiful cities.
Follow the path of Saint John Paul II!
For the final course in St. John Paul II Studies, students travel to St. John Paul II’s homeland, immersing themselves in Polish culture and history and gaining a deeper understanding of his life before and after becoming pope.”
This two-week trip takes place in June most years. Guided by Polish natives and John Paul scholars, highlights include visits to Wadowice, St. John Paul II’s birthplace; Krakow, where he studied, was ordained both priest and bishop, as well as the home of Saint Faustina; the capital city of Warsaw, and Auschwitz.
Professor of Philosophy and Director of John Paul Studies at the University of St Thomas, Houston; teaches JPII 5300 Redemptor Hominis and the Witness of St John Paul II, and he conducts the pilgrimage to Poland.
Father Ryan Connors is a priest of the Diocese of Providence. He holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and currently serves as Professor of Moral Theology at St. John's Seminary in Boston and adjunct Professor at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA. His essays and reviews have appeared in Nova et Vetera, Angelicum, Studia Moralia, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly and, most recently, he is the author of Virtue’s Wisdom: A Remedy for Cooperation with Evil (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, forthcoming).
Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan; teaches JPII 5308 Sources of Renewal and Vatican II. Dr. Fastiggi received his A.B. from Dartmouth College, and his M.A. (Theology) and Ph.D. (Historical Theology) from Fordham University.
F. Russell Hittinger is the Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa. He has been a full time faculty at Fordham University and at the Catholic University of America. He is a Visiting Professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley), and has served on two pontifical academies: St. Thomas Aquinas and Social Sciences. He designed and implemented the course JPII 5330: The Social/political teaching of John Paul II.
Philosophy Professor at Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Indiana; will teach JPII 5310 Thomistic Personalism.
Sr. Mary Veronica Sabelli, R.S.M., Ph.D. has taught at St. John’s Seminary (Boston) and St. Vincent Seminary (Latrobe, PA) as Associate Professor of Philosophy. She teaches JPII 5335 Mission, Culture, and Evangelization and JPII 5345 Final Project.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, Program of Liberal Studies, ’83) and the Catholic University of America (MA, Philosophy, ’86; PhD, Philosophy, ’92), Susan Selner-Wright has been teaching philosophy to undergraduates and Catholic seminarians since 1986. Her most important academic work is a translation of Q. 3 of St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Potentia Dei, published by CUA Press under the title On Creation and she has published articles in journals including Logos, International Philosophical Quarterly, and the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. Since 2001, she has been a member of the faculty of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Endow study guides Aquinas for Beginners (Parts 1 and 2) and the co-founder (with Mary Hasson and Theresa Farnan) of the Person and Identity Project personandidentity.com at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which aims to articulate a Catholic response to gender ideology.
Dr. Richard H. Bulzacchelli is Lecturer in Theology at Catholic Studies Academy and Senior Fellow with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He holds the M.A. in Philosophy from Marquette, University; the M.A. in Religious Studies from Providence College; the S.T.L. in Systematic Theology from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.; and the S.T.D. with a concentration in Marian Theology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, OH, where he wrote his dissertation on the relationship between Pope John Paul II’s Mariology and his understanding of the human person in act: Mary and the Acting Person: An Anthropology of Participatory Redemption in the Personalism if Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II. Dr. Bulzacchelli taught philosophy at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, from 2002–2004, and theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2004–2018, where he held the rank of Associate Professor. He is author of “Elohim Created”: A New Look at the First Creation Narrative (Aggiornamento, 2012).
Instructor of Polish Language and Culture at the Loyola University Chicago. She teaches Contemporary Poland at JPII Institute. She is a lecturer of Polish Language at the Summer Language Institute at Pittsburgh University. Dr. Oskiera received her M.A. (Polish Philology) and Ph.D. (Polish Linguistics) from the University of Lodz, Poland. She is a principal of the General Casimir Pulaski Polish School in Harwood Heights, IL.
John Radzilowski, Ph.D., is director of Polish Institute of Culture and Research at Orchard Lake (Michigan), and a Professor of History at the University of Alaska. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Polish and American history with a special emphasis on immigration from Poland and east-central Europe to the USA.
Malgorzata Bujak, MA is a graduate of English Philology at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland with a specialty in English-Polish contrastive linguistics. She is an experienced and creative classroom instructor, who has been teaching Polish as a foreign and second language for over a decade. She incorporates a variety of teaching methods with a special focus on communication to make her class dynamic and effective. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and travelling.
Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz - Professor, Regents Fellow, and Leadership Program Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication, Texas A&M University.