Seminary IMF Offering Three New Courses

Saint Vincent Seminary’s Institute for Ministry Formation is offering three new online courses in the spring 2020 semester as part of its new program in Spiritual Direction. The courses include Psychology for Spiritual Directors, Moral Theology for Spiritual Directors, and Sacramental Theology and Ecclesiology for Spiritual Directors.


Course Description: The two-credit Psychology for Spiritual Directors (IMSD-700-01), will help students learn to recognize some basic psychopathology and to know when and how to refer directees to psychotherapy professionals, as well as to cover some aspects of psychology that will be helpful for spiritual directors. Taught by Dr. Timothy Heck, the course will meet from 7 to 8:40 p.m. Tuesdays from January 15 to May 5.

Dr. Timothy Heck

Professor: Dr. Timothy Heck presently serves as assistant professor, School of Behavioral Sciences, at Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. There, he teaches Integration of Spirituality and Counseling, Theology and Spirituality, as well as topics on marriage, families and child and adolescent development. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the Ecclesial Lay Ministry Program at Saint Joseph College, Rensselaer, Indiana, teaching Old Testament, New Testament and The Word of God. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in Christian ministries from Cincinnati Christian University; a master of arts degree in Old Testament from Cincinnati Christian Seminary; a master of arts in counseling psychology from Denver Theological Seminary and a doctor of philosophy degree in human services from Capella University.


Course Description: Sacramental Theology and Ecclesiology for Spiritual Directors (IMSD-650-01), also a two-credit course, will “give an overview of sacramental theology and ecclesiology for the formation of spiritual directors.  Through this course students will appropriate the doctrinal heritage of the Roman Catholic Church by developing a particular familiarity with Part II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and they will also acquire the capacity to communicate this heritage.” Taught by Helene Paharik, this course will meet from 6:30 to 8:10 p.m. Wednesdays from January 15 to May 6.

Helene E. Paharik

Professor: Helene Paharik is a member of the adjunct faculty of Saint Vincent Seminary. A 2007 alumnus of the Seminary, she earned a master of arts degree in New Testament Theology, magna cum laude. She is a 1987 graduate of Seton Hill University, and is undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, with an anticipated completion date of 2020. Her doctoral studies are on “An Ontological Hermeneutic of Missiology as Friendship Love.”

She also serves as an adjunct professor of theology at Saint Vincent College, and previously served as associate general secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, director of the Department for Human Life and Dignity in the diocese, and was a pastoral associate for Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg, and director of campus ministry at Seton Hill University.


Course Description: The two-credit Moral Theology for Spiritual Directors (IMSD-660-01) will focus on how “Spiritual directors are called to help Christians grow in holiness. Taught by Dr. Michel Therrien, this course includes an aspect of catechesis as described by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in CCC 1697: “Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ. Catechesis for the ‘newness of life’ in him should be: a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, … a catechesis of grace, … a catechesis of the beatitudes, … a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, … a catechesis of the human virtues, … a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, … a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity, … an ecclesial catechesis.”  In this course, students will learn principles and applications of moral theology, with a special focus on the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church Part III, that will assist them as spiritual directors to help their directees grow in the Christian life.”

The course will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from January 16 to April 30.

Dr. Michel Therrien

Professor: Dr. Michel Therrien is a former academic dean of Saint Vincent Seminary, where he also taught moral theology. He holds a doctorate of sacred theology in fundamental moral theology from the University of Fribourg, and a licentiate in sacred theology from the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. He also recently served as president for the Institute for Pastoral Leadership and director of evangelization for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He has also taught at the Augustine Institute in Denver.