Presented for the greater glory of God and for seeking the Divine Mercy and Love of Almighty God and His beloved Mother Mary under Her Title Our Lady of Mercy

A Publication of The Order Franciscans of Mercy & Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus
Copyright © 2007 Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus Inc.

Seminary Syllabus 

For Order Franciscans Of Mercy/Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus


The Seminary is primarily responsible for the spiritual and theological education of members of the Order Franciscans of Mercy, Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus and other small autocephalous Catholic jurisdictions, thereby preparing them for ministry within the Body of Christ. All applicant to the Order of Franciscans of Mercy must complete section A-01.

We believe that one’s life experience is often more important in preparing one for Church ministry than intense theological Education, therefore, life experience is taken into account toward fulfillment of the training requirements. Usually, an individualized course of study is formulated.

The Seminary program is a combination of academic study, pastoral experience, theological reflection, and spiritual formation. The Seminary takes care to offer training at an affordable level of tuition since prospective students do not usually have institutional financial support.

​The Seminary’s programs are open to all individuals wishing to deepen their religious knowledge and understanding and not only for a vowed commitment.

Candidates for Ordination

Candidates for Ordination must forward, as part of their Seminary application process, a letter of intent and the desired order to which they aspire to be ordained. 

Training for Ordination is much more than a matter of academic studies. Therefore, in addition to completing the courses listed in the syllabus, seminarians with the Order Franciscans of Mercy should maintain regular continuing communication with the Father General and/or the Abbot throughout seminary studies. Such a relationship assists in discerning one’s spiritual progress and in working through spiritual issues as these may arise through the course of training.

Additionally, seminarians must arrange for a placement in a pastoral context. This is usually undertaken after Ordination to the Diaconate.

Acceptance as a student in a study program does not ensure Ordination.  For candidates with the Order Franciscans of Mercy, interviews with the Minister General at appropriate points, during which the candidate’s academic and spiritual progress is assessed, are the norm.  The Minister General and/or the Bishop Protector makes a recommendation on admission to Orders based on these interviews.

Method of Study

The Seminary employs a Self-Study model as its method of study. This method involves the intensive study of set texts, with the exploration of other supplementary materials. Practicum work may be required for some courses. Although the student is assisted by instructors in each course, this method requires self-motivation on the part of the student.

For every course undertaken, the following must be done:

  • One or more books listed for that course are to be read, synopsized with an outline and discussion of major themes in a paper of no more than 5 or less than 2 pages typed double space and submitted for review or discussion as needed.
  • Students may choose, in consultation with the instructor, to read additional material in any course and additional reading is always suggested.
  • Once all reading and summary papers have been completed, a two-page typed theological reflection paper is to be written. This paper explores how the course reading has impacted one’s sense of God, of self and of ministry.
  • Other completion requirements may be set by the course instructor. In most cases this will involve the undertaking of a special project and/or the completion of an exam.

The course instructor, in consultation with the student, may modify the above requirements at his/her discretion to better meet the student’s particular circumstances.

For every course, completion is based on the student receiving a “Satisfactory” grading from the instructor. A three-month time period is suggested for completion of each course.  But students may choose to remain in a course until such time as a “Satisfactory” grade is achieved. The instructor offers guidance and assistance throughout the duration of the course.

Certificates and Diploma

The Seminary offers three awards for successful completion of studies:

  1. Certificate of Course Completion (Cert. C. C.)
  2. Certificate in Theological Studies (Cert.Theol.Stu.)
  3. Diploma in Theology (Dipl.Theol.)

Students wishing only to deepen their religious knowledge may choose to take individual courses rather than pursuing a Certificate or the Diploma. These students will receive a Certificate of Course Completion for each course taken. Students doing courses this way may, at a later date, have these courses applied to the granting of the two Certificates and the Diploma.

The Certificate in Theological Studies is granted following the successful completion of the first half of the courses listed in the syllabus. It is required of those being ordained to the Diaconate, either permanent or transitional.

The Diploma in Theology satisfies the requirements for Ordination as a Deacon or priest in the Order Franciscans of Mercy. Granting of this Diploma requires successful completion of all courses listed in the syllabus below.

Application Process

The application process involves a joint review of life experience to evaluate equivalence to required courses. Prior theological education is also assessed in order to establish the candidate’s current knowledge and to determine which specific topics the individual needs to study. This enables the creation of a personal course of studies with specific requirements to be fulfilled as one progress towards Ordination. As well, theological degrees, diplomas and certificates previously completed are reviewed to assess equivalence with the Diploma in Theology. Therefore, it is possible to only have to take a few supplemental courses (e.g., Sacramental Theology, Liturgical Theology, etc.) in order to meet the educational requirements for Ordination.

Individual Courses

Those applying to take an individual course must submit the following:
  1. A completed seminary application form
  2. A personal check for the course fee, made out to Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy – see Fees section below for details

Certificate/Diploma Programs

Applicants for the Certificate/Diploma programs (this includes all individuals seeking Ordination) must possess at least a high school diploma which should be submitted at the time of application. Life experience is taken into consideration for equivalence to formal education. Credit for theological studies previously completed may be granted as long as they have been certified.

Candidates for Ordination and non-Ordination students applying for the Certificate/Diploma programs must submit the following:

  1. A completed seminary application form
  2. A paper of no more than 5 or less than 3 typed pages outlining one’s reasons for undertaking the Diploma program, with an emphasis on its role in one’s spiritual development
  3. Official transcript of highest educational diploma/degree
  4. Official transcripts of prior theological education(if applicable)
  5. A brief explanation of applicable life experience the applicant wants considered in lieu of a prescribed course(s)
  6. A $30 non-refundable application fee (by personal check made out to Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy)
  7. A Criminal Records check that is within the last 6 months or a check in the amount of $50 made out
  8. to the Reformed Catholic Church along with the CORI application Form.


Fees are charged and payable on a per-course basis. For students applying to take an individual course, the course fee is payable upon application.

For students applying for the Certificate(s)/Diploma programs, course fees are payable upon course(s) registration.

Fee per course: $30.00

All students, including Seminarians, are solely responsible for payment of all course fees, the cost of books and study materials, and any costs associated with spiritual accompaniment/direction and pastoral placements, all housing and living expenses and any transportation costs incurred by either the student candidate or seminary instructor in they have to travel to the candidates location unless other arrangements have been made prior to starting the program.

Course Descriptions

*** indicates Must Read

Students must read at least 3 of each book suggested per course unless otherwise indicated for the course.

A01 Franciscan Theology

(Mandatory for entrance to Order Franciscans of Mercy) Must Read at least Six (6) of the following and submit an essay on at least 4 of the books read.
St Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources
by St Francis of Assisi ***

Francis of Assisi's Rule and Life
David Flood, OFM ***

Franciscan Prayer
Ilia Delio​

History of the Franciscan Order
John Moorman, 1988​

The Franciscan View of the Human Person
Dawn M. Nothwehr, OSF
Through The Year With Francis
by Assisi Murray Bobo, 1993

William of Ockham, A Letter to the Friars Minor and Other Writings ​
by Arthur S. McGrade & John Kilcullen Translated by John Kilcullen​ ***

To Live as Francis Lived
Leonard Foley, OFM, 2000

The Geste of the Great King, Office of the Passion of Francis of Assisi​
Laurent Gallant, OFM, 2001 ***

An Affair of the Heart​​
Patricia Jordan, FSM
St. Francis and the Conversion of the Muslims
by Frank G. Rega, 2007

Hidden Beauty, Reflections of St. Bonaventure's TREE OF LIFE LIGNUM VITAE
Fr. Rick Martignetti, OFM ​***

Franciscan Readings
Fr. Marion A. Habig, OFM, 1979​

The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition: Tracing Its origins and Identifying Its Central Components
Kenan Osborne, OFM ***

The Words of St. Francis, An Anthology
James Meyer, OFM, 1982 ***
For ONLINE RESEARCH: Franciscan Archives @ (Articles, documents, history, liturgy)

A02 Church History

Must read and submit essays on three (3) of the following texts.
The Faith, A History of Christianity
by Brian Moynahan, 2002

The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity
by John McManners

Church History
by John C. Dwyer, 1985

World’s Religions
by Huston Smith, 2007

A03 Sources of Autocephalous Catholic Jurisdictions

Must read and submit essays on two (2) of the following texts.
The Old Catholic Movement: Its Origins and History
by C.B. Moss, 1985 ***

The Old Catholic Church (Revised Edition)
by Karl Prüter ***

A04 Biblical Studies I: Introduction and Old Testament

Must read and submit essays on three (3) of the following texts.
Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context
by Brevard S. Childs, 1989

Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Book
John Hayes & Carol Holladay, 1987 ***

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary
by Multiple Authors

The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart
by Peter J. Gomes, 2002
The Bible Documents
​by Liturgy Training Publications ***

Paul: A Critical Life
Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, 1997

A05 Christian Theology

Must read at least eight (8) of the following with a paper for each.
The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide
by Clayton N. Jefford, 2005

Early Christian Doctrines (Revised Edition)
by J. N. D. Kelly, 1978

by Fr. Richard Rohr

Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church
by Jospeh Martos, 1982

Not by Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic

by Robert A. Sungenis, 2000

Principles for a Catholic Morality
by Timothy E. O'Connell, 1978

Contemplation In A World of Action
by Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O
The Theology of Priesthood
Donald J. Goergen, Ann Garrido, 2000 ***

The Evolution of Philosophy: An Overview of Western Thought as it Relates
to Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Anthony E. Gilles

Prayer of the Cosmos
by Neil Douglas Klotz

Catholicism: New Study Edition
by Richard McBrien 1994

The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist (2nd Ed)
by James T. O’Connor, 2005

The Basis for Christian Ethics
by John Gallagher, 1985

No Man Is An Island
by Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O
by Catherine DeHuck Doherty

Aquinas: An Introduction to the Life and Work of the Great Medieval Thinker
by Frederick Coppleston, S.J., 1991

A Shorter Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas
Aquinas’ Summa Theologica

by Peter Kreeft, 1993

What is a Priest?
Joseph Lécuyer, C.S.Sp.

With Us Today: On the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
by John A. Hardon, S.J., 2005

The Seven Storey Mountain
by Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O.

A06 Homosexuality

Must read at least three (3) of the following with a paper for each.
With Listening Hearts
by Peter J. Liuzzi, O.Carm, 2001 ***

Gifted by Otherness
by l. William Countryman ***

Catholic Sexual Ethics
by Rev. Ronald Lawler OFMCap., 2005

Que(e)rying Religion, A critical Anthology
by Gary David Comstock, 1997

Catholic Sexual Ethics
by Rev. Ronals Lawler OFM Cap.

Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality
by Jack Rogers

Unrepentant, Self-Affirming, Practicing
Gary David Comstock, 1996
Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality
by John Boswell, 1980

A Question of Truth: Christianity and Homosexuality
by Gareth Moore, O.P., 2003

A07 Liturgical Theology

Must read at least three (3) of the following with a paper for each.
Gather Faithfully Together
by Cardinal Roger Mahoney, 1997

The Spirit of the Liturgy
by Romano Guardini

The Liturgy Documents
by Elizabeth Hoffman

The Liturgy and Time: The Church at Prayer, vol. IV
by A. G. Martimont, 1986
The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy
by Adrian Fortescue, 1912

A08 Canon Law

An Introduction to Canon Law
by James A. Coriden, 1991


A09 Pastoral Practicum

A supervised placement as a pastoral assistant will be assigned following Diaconal Ordination.

A10 Ordination Paper/Presentation

A 15 to 20 page paper reflecting on your preparation for Ordination to the Priesthood and an Oral presentation / discussion of the paper will be made to the Dean of the Seminary and the Minister General of the Order and presiding Bishop Protector.

The written paper is to be submitted to members of the panel two weeks prior to the oral presentation/discussion.


Seminary Officials

Chancellor & Dean: – Rev. Fr. Robert Johnnene OFM, Minister General
Faculty Advisors- Rev. Fr. Paul Meyers OFM

Mail Application To:

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/Order Franciscans of Mercy
134 Main Street Unit G 7
Upton, MA 01568
Download Application