SAINT VINCENT SEMINARY
300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA, 15650
is currently seeking applications for:
The Pope Benedict XVI Chair for Biblical Theology and Homiletics for Excellence in Preaching
Saint Vincent Seminary announces a faculty position for the Pope Benedict XVI Chair for Biblical Theology and Homiletics for Excellence in Preaching. The Chair is occupied by a qualified scholar, which the Chancellor appoints for a one-year renewable appointment, at the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents, after consultation with the Seminary faculty, administration, and the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board.
Primary Function: The person appointed will teach in the area of Scripture and Homiletics with the primary goal of helping seminarians become effective proclaimers of the Word of God and ministers of the New Evangelization, in the spirit of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini.
Responsible to: The Chair answers directly to the Rector-President and collaborates closely with the Academic Dean, the Director of Pastoral Formation, and the homiletics professor(s).
- To assist seminarians in discerning and proclaiming the Word of God in the context of Liturgical Celebration.
- To facilitate the acquisition of skills for effective preaching based on the Lectionary and the liturgical rites of the Church.
- To share responsibility with the entire faculty for training seminarians in exegesis and homiletics per se. The Chair also provides the theological and experiential grounding necessary for effective preaching that is biblical, doctrinal, and catechetical.
- To work with the faculty in providing seminarians with opportunities to develop and refine their skills for effective homily preparation and delivery, catechetical instruction, and evangelization.
- To foster awareness of Saint Vincent Seminary as a center of training for effective preaching, catechesis and evangelical outreach.
- To teach courses related to the integration of Scripture and homiletics.
- To assist the faculty in developing the seminary curriculum so as to respond to the urgent call for more effective preaching in the Church.
- To deliver the annual Pope Benedict XVI Chair Lecture.
- To oversee the administrative support staff in the implementation of the mission statement (see below).
Required Qualifications: Applicants must be a Roman Catholic, have a doctoral degree (preferably a Pontifical doctorate) in homiletics, liturgy, biblical studies/theology, or a related field.
Experience: Applicants’ experience should include:
- knowledge of liturgy, Scripture, and homiletics,
- broad experience in public speaking,
- pastoral experience is highly valued.
Salary: The salary for this Chair position is competitive and is based upon experience.
Effective Start Date: The effective starting date for this position is August 2014.
Application: Please send a letter of application, complete curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation to:
Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, O.S.B., Chancellor
Saint Vincent Seminary
300 Fraser Purchase Road
Latrobe, PA 15650
Application Deadline: December 20, 2013
The Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Homiletics for Excellence in Preaching
History and Mission Statement
History of the Chair
The goal of the Pope Benedict XVI Chair is two-fold:
1) To assist seminarians in discerning and proclaiming the Word of God in the context of Liturgical Celebration.
2) To facilitate the acquisition of skills for effective preaching based on the Lectionary and the liturgical rites of the Church.
Dr. Scott Hahn, the first Pope Benedict the XVI Chair, explored the liturgical content of the Bible and the liturgical contexts in which the Scriptures were originally produced, canonized, and proclaimed. Seminarians applied the principles of a mystagogic hermeneutic – notably the canonical account of the unity of the divine economy – to grasp how the covenant is renewed in every age, and to discern the typological patterns that unfold in the lectionary. The techniques of mystagogy demonstrated how Salvation History is actualized in the liturgy, and how sacramental grace, which derives from the Paschal Mystery, serves to inform and transform everyday life. The work of Dr. Hahn, was directed toward mystagogy, exegesis, and preaching. For him the term biblical theology expressed a theological approach that draws widely from both the Church’s intellectual tradition and contemporary currents in academic research and scholarship. The charter documents of this Chair were three: the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Lectionary.
The second goal for the Chair is addressed by placing emphasis upon ‘excellence in preaching.’ This goal involves the weaving of homiletics into the broader curriculum.
This goal requires the concerted effort of the entire faculty, working with the Chair, to develop opportunities and programs that foster effective liturgical proclamation and evangelization.
Dr. Hahn’s methodological approach was to teach courses that were designed to be deliberately integrative, drawing from the fields of biblical studies, systematic theology, moral theology, and sacramental theology. Pope Benedict XVI himself provided a model for this approach. He was, by nature and by office, a bridge-builder. While academic theology grew increasingly fragmented by over-specialization, Pope Benedict XVI sought a synthesis. He saw the organic unity of the two testaments of the Bible. He recognized the mutually fruitful relationship between exegesis and theology. He explored the unitive bond between the Bible and the liturgy and saw that the isolation of theology from exegesis has resulted in a diminishment of both. Insofar as this integrative approach resists reductionist tendencies it provides a firm foundation for a “biblical theology” conducive to effective preaching.
Dr. Hahn’s overall program was threefold: first, classroom instruction for seminarians; second, public lectures and workshops for the seminary community; and third, continuing education conferences for priests, deacons and seminarians – from Saint Vincent Seminary alumni and clergy from around the country.
Mission of the Chair
The Chair shares responsibility with the entire faculty for training seminarians in exegesis and homiletics per se. The Chair also provides the theological and experiential grounding necessary for effective preaching that is biblical, doctrinal, and catechetical.
The Chair works with the faculty in providing seminarians with opportunities to develop and refine their skills for effective homily preparation and delivery, catechetical instruction, and evangelization. This collaboration occurs by means of designated assignments across the curriculum, labs, integration seminars, and periodic symposiums throughout the four-year theologate.
Instructive for any Chair, and for the faculty with whom he works, is the USCCB’s 1982 (updated, 2002) instruction, Fulfilled In Your Hearing: The Homily in the Sunday Assembly, and the following excerpt from a white paper of the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics in 2002, titled, The State of Homiletics in the Seminaries and Graduate Schools of Theology in the United States. It teaches that:
The Catholic understanding of the homily would imply certain knowledge and abilities… Since the homily is “personal,” the homiletic preacher must be a person of faith and reflection, as well as one with adequate compositional and delivery skills. Since the homily is “liturgical,” the homiletic preacher must have deep knowledge of the liturgy and facility in celebrating it. Since the homily is “interpretive,” the homiletic preacher must be adept at hermeneutics, the science of bringing together ancient text and modern context. This entails knowledge of the specific liturgical assembly, and the ability to speak in its language and images. Since the homily is “clarifying,” the homiletic preacher must have facility with scriptural exegesis, the starting point of any explanation or interpretation. And finally, since the homily is “sacramental,” the homiletic preacher must be able to prepare and invite the assembly to experience anew the presence of God, in the liturgical assembly and in all of life. This involves a lived knowledge of the graces proclaimed, and in a sense brings us full circle to the “personal”: the preacher’s faith has an impact on the efficacy of the homily.1
Building upon the foundation of Dr. Hahn’s experience as the first Chair, the next Chair will utilize his or her own particular gifts, talents, experience, and approach to the task. By preparing seminarians for good and effective preaching, we advance Pope Benedict’s goal, as expressed in Sacramentum Caritatis 46:
[O]rdained ministers must prepare the homily carefully, based on an adequate knowledge of Sacred Scripture … I ask these ministers to preach in such a way that the homily closely relates the proclamation of the word of God to the sacramental celebration and the life of the community, so that the word of God truly becomes the Church's vital nourishment and support. The catechetical and paraenetic aim of the homily should not be forgotten. During the course of the liturgical year it is appropriate to offer the faithful, prudently and on the basis of the three-year lectionary, "thematic" homilies treating the great themes of the Christian faith, on the basis of what has been authoritatively proposed by the Magisterium in the four "pillars" of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the recent Compendium, namely: the profession of faith, the celebration of the Christian mystery, life in Christ and Christian prayer.”