Certificate in Pastoral Ministry to Black Catholics (MBC)

Three steps to get started:  

1. Apply to the MBC Program                   2. Apply for a Scholarship                     3. Register for classes      





The School of Theological Studies, in cooperation with the Office for Black Catholics of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, offers a “Certificate in Pastoral Ministry to Black Catholics” (MBC). This program is specially designed for those who have a general interest, are preparing for, or are engaged in various forms of pastoral service to parish communities of largely African-American Catholic membership.

Undergraduate coursework through the School of Theological Studies also serves as a pre-requisite program for those who need college level theology and/or philosophy to be considered for acceptance in the Graduate Program.

The goals of this Certificate program are to:

  • foster a greater knowledge and a deeper appreciation of the Catholic Church, its theological traditions and its pastoral mission.
  • enrich the faith life and theological understanding of those in pastoral service to parish communities.
  • develop a familiarity with and an appreciation for the rich history and cultural contributions of Black Catholics in the United States.
  • provide practical and supervised pastoral training in skills needed for ministry to communities of largely Black membership, especially in urban areas.
  • foster the development of pastoral leadership among Black Catholics for the enrichment of the Church.


Total Credit Hours: 25

STS 101 Old Testament
STS 102 New Testament
STS 202 History of Black Catholics and Saints
STS 301 Catechism I – Creed and Sacraments
STS 302 Catechism II – Morality and Prayer
STS 303 Introduction to Theology
STS 401 Church History
STS 402 Leadership and Renewal in Black Catholic Communities
Practicum or Service Project (1 Credit)



Admission to the School of Theological Studies is open to all. Courses may be taken for credit or audit. The administration reserves the right to limit the number of students per class, as well as to cancel any course because of insufficient enrollment.

Applicants for admission to the Undergraduate Program are required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton, NJ. TOEFL scores are to be sent directly to the School of Theological Studies.



Each applicant is required to:

1. Complete the application form with the non-refundable application fee (application can be found at https://www.scs.edu/school-theological-studies/sts-admissions/undergraduate-certificate-ministry-black-catholics).

2. Personal Statement: In a 250-300 word essay, explain your reasons for pursuing the certificate program you have chosen, including any events that have led up to your decision, your personal motivation, and your future plans. Please type your essay on a separate sheet of paper and include it with your application.

3. Request official transcripts from all high schools, colleges, and universities attended to be sent directly to the School of Theological Studies.

4. Request a letter of recommendation from the pastor of your home or service parish, or from another staff person familiar with your personal background and experience. These should be returned directly to the School of Theological Studies.



Course Descriptions


This course offers overview of the history of African-American Catholics from the period of Afro-Hispanic settlements, through the slavery and emancipation period, and up to contemporary struggles for Civil Rights, with particular attention to the religious movements which developed among African-American clergy, religious and lay leaders in the American Church, with special focus on black ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This course will survey the life and spirituality of Saints of African heritage. (3 credits)


The foundation of this course is the Catholic understanding of the relationship between faith and reason as discussed in John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio. This course introduces students to the metaphysical and epistemological principles fundamental to Christian philosophy. Special emphasis is given to Saint Thomas Aquinas. This course then offers a general introduction to the science of theology, to theological content and to contemporary catechesis, especially the role of the Bible, Tradition, and the Magisterium in setting forth the mystery of God and His Revelation. This course also Course includes an introduction to Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the nature and method of sacred theology itself. (3 credits)


This course is an overview of the Old Testament in the context of the history of Israel. This course offers a systematic study of God’s developing relationship with His people in salvation history, the land of Israel, a survey of the theology of the Pentateuch and an introduction to Psalms, Wisdom Literature, the kings of Israel, and the prophets, with a focus toward their fulfillment in Christ and His Church. (3 credits)


This course is a survey of the New Testament, including a consideration of the interrelationships among the three synoptic Gospels, an introduction to the Johannine Gospel, Acts, the Pauline and Catholic epistles, and the book of Revelation. (3 credits)


This course will present a brief overview of the history of the Catholic Church, as founded upon Christ and His apostles and led by the Holy Spirit through the centuries. This course includes investigating persons, periods, events, movements, controversies, and heresies related to the Church. (3 credits)


This course offers an introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity and its development in the history of theology. An investigation of Jesus Christ as the center and fulfillment of Scripture; the Gospel’s confession of Christ as God and man, the apostolic kerygma and catechesis of Christ, and the Magisterial development in the doctrines related to Christ. This course also includes an introduction to the Church. Secondly, this course offers a general introduction to grace and the sacraments – their history, theology and catechetical value. Course includes an introduction to the theology of worship through an examination of Sacrosanctum Concilium and of the sacramental rites. Course provides a survey of the Sacraments of Initiation, with emphasis on the various dimensions of the Eucharist as the central Sacrament of Christian living, the Sacraments of Healing, and the Sacraments of Service. The Catechism of the Catholic Church will be used, along with other Magisterial documents. (3 credits)


This course offers a presentation of the fundamental principles of Catholic moral teachings as developed from Sacred Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and the Church’s Magisterium; with a focus on moral principles including truth, charity, the Commandments, the two great commandments, the virtues, the Beatitudes, as well as topics like conscience, moral absolutes, sin and free will, and mercy. Secondly, this course explores the many dimensions of prayer, with attention to various forms of prayer and the tradition of Christian spirituality which emerged from the heart of the Church. Special attention will be given to the Lord’s Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours; with analysis of major historical and theological movements which have shaped that tradition and a study of representative spiritual writings from those periods. The Catechism of the Catholic Church will be used, along with other Magisterial documents. (3 credits)


This course prepares students for leadership in Black Catholic ministry. It includes a discussion on the distinction of the Black Catholic community and culture and an investigation of a variety of critical pastoral issues which arise in ministering in parishes and schools in the African-American community, with reflections upon various Church documents on these issues; the course also addresses concerns about family life, liturgy and spirituality, religious education and evangelization, especially in urban settings, with attention to recent Church statements addressing the needs of African-Americans. (3 credits)