The five-year program of studies in the Department of Catholic Theology is an integrated sequence of courses in Biblical Studies, Systematic and Moral Theology, Church History, Liturgy, and pastoral/ministerial skills. The first year is devoted to philosophical studies. This five-year program of studies leads to the degree of Bachelor in Christian Studies.
The full course in Christian Studies intends to meet the need for an excellent grounding of students seeking ordination to the priesthood, men and women in the religious life, and those with an interest in the Christian faith and its foundations.
The philosophical and theological studies prepare our students (both clerical, religious, and lay) to proclaim and interpret the Christian message in a pastoral situation where the plurality of religious traditions offers special opportunities for articulating the Christian revelation in a unique way.
The Bachelor in Christian Studies is awarded jointly by the Catholic University of Portugal and by the University of St. Joseph, and it has full canonical and civil accreditation.
The establishment of religious/theological studies has been a major strategic objective of the University of St. Joseph (formerly: Macau Inter-University Institute) since its establishment in 1996 as a partnership between the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) and the Diocese of Macau.
The setting up of the Faculty of Religious Studies (formerly: Faculty of Christian Studies) within the context of the University is in accordance with Church documents:
Ad Gentes, no. 41 gives special consideration to the role of universities and scientific institutes to prepare “preachers of the Gospel … for dialogue with non-Christians.”
Pope Paul VI in Ecclesiae Sanctae, no. 1 states that evangelization is to be kept in mind “in determining the proper curriculum of studies in seminaries and universities.”
Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris missio, no. 3 reiterates: “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
Thus the degree Bachelor in Christian Studies begun in September 2007. Its objective is to promote the University’s mission and identity as an educational institution within the Catholic tradition focused on the service of the Church in China and the surrounding region in Asia, and in response to the call of the Church for a lively spirit of evangelization consistent with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and subsequent documents of the Holy See.
Pope Benedict XVI in his “Letter to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China” states, “… the new evangelization demands the proclamation of the Gospel to modern man, with a keen awareness that, just as during the first Christian millennium the Cross was planted in Europe… so during the third millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in the vast and vibrant Asian continent” (#3).
The Bachelor in Christian Studies with English as a medium of instruction is designed to meet the needs of students (from Religious orders both men and women, seminarians from the Diocese of Macau, and lay people) from South East Asia and East Asia. The bachelor’s is approved by the government of Macau and, through the Catholic University of Portugal, by the Holy See, through the Congregation for Catholic Education. It is thus an approved full course of studies in philosophy and theology with civil and ecclesiastical approval.
When the then School of Christian Studies started during the Academic Year 2007-2008, with Fr. Dennis Rochford, MSC as first Dean, there were some thirteen (13) students, mostly Dominican students.
After a year, Fr. João Eleuterio, a Diocesan priest from Lisbon and professor at the Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Portugal, took the helm as Dean/Coordinator of the Faculty of Religious Studies (formerly Faculty of Christian Studies). By then the number of students enrolled had increased to 30s (consisting of Dominicans, SVDs, lay students).
During the first three years of its existence, the Faculty of Religious Studies used the facilities of Seminario de São Jose (Largo de Sto. Agostinho) as its office and classrooms. From Academic Year 2010-2011 onwards the Faculty of Religious Studies moved to the University’s main campus in NAPE. In the Academic Year 2013-2014, the Faculty returned back to the Seminary, along with the Faculty of Education and Psychology.
For the Academic Year 2014-2015 we are expecting some 40+ students coming from different congregations, different countries:
Congregations: Order of Preachers (O.P.) — 28
Society of Divine Word (S.V.D.) — 02
Dominican Sisters — 16
Franciscan Sister — 1 or 2
Diocese of Macau – 1 seminarian — 1
Diocesan priest from Timor Leste — 1
Lay student — 1
Countries of Origin
Myanmar — 21
Korea — 04
Timor Leste — 11
Vietnam — 03/4
China — 01
Philippines — 01
Indonesia — 01
Macau — 01
- In seven years of our existence, we have already several alumni priests/brothers working in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Macau.
- One lay alumnus is presently doing doctorate in the Old Testament Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).