Monthly Archives: February 2015

Faculty Profile: Timone Davis

Timone Davis began teaching at IPS in Fall 2014 as an adjunct professor. In the short amount of time she has been here, she has brought exceptional and transformative learning experiences to our students. With that said, join us in congratulating her on becoming a full time faculty member beginning Fall 2015.

Headshot timone

Timone has been very busy with several small projects and looks forward to being “less scattered” with her full time role at IPS. “I will be able to put more energy in one place and therefore, have a greater impact on the lives of ministers in training,” commented Timone.

She has been with the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union since 1996. She began there as a student and then transitioned to being the Formation Director. Her role there will come to an end this May, but she owes a lot of her growth in spirituality to her time there. “I learned how to devote myself to helping other people come to an awareness of God in their own lives,” she said.

Timone wants to bring a similar experience to her students. In her classes (descriptions below) she said, “students can expect to dig deep for a level of honesty that is not always explored in classes. I will ask to make themselves vulnerable and be challenged not just by the material, but also in the call to witness to the gospel.”

For Timone, the most challenging part of being a teacher is being adequately prepared. “I always want to make sure I am giving my students enough information as possible in order for them to move ahead in whatever they are being called to do.”

Fortunately, she also finds her job very rewarding. Timone says she loves the “aha” moments when students “get it.” She strives for those moment where students are able to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it outside the classroom. She understands the importance of students not just repeating back information, but rather being able to connect what they are learning to experiences in their own lives.

Outside of her professional life, Timone enjoys watching murder mysteries and cop shows. She also listens to audio books and reads books both electronically and in hard copy. Like most of us at IPS, she also loves good food.

You can connect with Timone on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also hear her speak at The Racial Divide in the United States event on March 11.


Fall 2015 class descriptions:

Black Spirituality and Pastoral Care
This course will introduce students to Black Spirituality in the United States, from slavery to the present, in a Christian context. The course will be attentive to the culture of black life so as to get a better understanding of Black Spirituality’s rootedness in scripture, prayer, community and justice. Students will explore how Black Spirituality can be a lens through which they view pastoral care for persons on the margins while enhancing their own spirituality. This course will include scholarship on such themes as African-American ways of being, preaching, storytelling, dance, art, mentoring and self care.

Women in the Church: Bound Freedom
Often seen as the backbone of many churches, this course will explore how women are both free to explore and hold various roles/positions in the Christian Church while simultaneously beset with patriarchy and exclusion. Students will explore the rise of women in the Church and the constant struggle to be seen as an equal. This course will be attentive to Mujerista, Womanist, Asian and Feminist perspectives in the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church of the United States that continue to shape the landscape of women in ministry.


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Guest Post: The Eucharistic Call to Active Nonviolence in a Wounded World

For this week’s post, we would like to feature an essay by IPS student Charissa Qiu. This past fall she wrote a reflection on the Eucharist and the call to justice and solidarity. In light of current world events, her words below help us remember what our pastoral response should be in times of trouble and controversy.

The Eucharistic Call to Active Nonviolence in a Wounded World

There is no denying that the historical Jesus was a controversial figure in his time – he ate at the same table with sinners; he touched lepers; he performed miracles on the Sabbath, and he challenged the status quo and the authority of those in power in his society. The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel, especially in Matthew 5: 38-42, illustrates Jesus’ creative nonviolence clearly – responding to violence and injustice not with retaliation, but rather, to bring the injustice to light by finding creative ways to reveal it and have it speak for itself.

The restorative and reconciliatory justice of God that we are called to through partaking in the Eucharist is very different from the retributory justice of the world. The Eucharist calls us to right relationship and unity, which calls us not to segregation and retaliation, but rather, to respond with truth and love. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” There has been a lot of attention in the media lately surrounding two cases of white police violence against black unarmed men, and the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officers. That has brought up a lot of various emotional responses of the public, with various people supporting either side. There have been riots to express outrage, forums for people to express and discuss feelings and opinions – people have felt the need to express themselves, and rightfully so. In the middle of all this chaos and emotion, a 12-year-old boy by the name of Devonte Hart (image below) chose to stand out holding a sign that read “Free Hugs,” and that courage and expression of love brought a moment of peace – a tiny glimpse of the Kingdom of God. It is when we start to see the humanity within each other that we share that we begin to stand together in solidarity, in the celebration of the Eucharist, and live into the Kingdom of God.


We can acknowledge that we live in a world right now laden with violence and injustice, one that is filled with pain and woundedness. We are suspicious and afraid of “the other,” so we respond by distancing ourselves even more from what we are unfamiliar with, and continue to live in fear. The call of the Eucharist is to vulnerability, to openness, to transformation, and ultimately, to relationship. We cannot overcome our fear of the unknown through distancing ourselves – we need to overcome our fear by getting in touch with the unknown and “the other.” Jesus taught and lived out active nonviolence, and it is important to clarify here that nonviolence is not the same thing as passivity. To “turn the other cheek” does not mean to allow abuse to continue – in turning the other cheek, we are forcing the other person to slap us with their open hand (the left hand was only used for unclean purposes in Jesus’ time and so would not be used) which is a statement of equality – it is demanding to be treated fairly and equally; an act of active nonviolence.

As we accept the reality of our wounded world, we need to, at the same time, go beyond that reality and ground ourselves in hope, and with faith that love is stronger and more sustainable than hatred. That is the call of the Eucharist – into the darkness, but also into the light. Jesus hung on the cross between the tensions of the world and the Kingdom of God, and there was darkness, but after patiently sitting in the darkness and allowing it to transform us, there will be light.


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Opening Remarks from Archbishop at Digital Concentration Launch Event

Opening Remarks
Archbishop Blase J. Cupich
Loyola University Chicago
Institute of Pastoral Studies Event
February 10, 2015

“Thank you Loyola University, Fr. Garanzini, Dr. Brian Schmisek and all those who were instrumental in developing a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies with a concentration in Digital Communication. Thank you also for inviting me to give opening remarks before this distinguished panel, moderated by Don Wycliff, shares with you their expertise and insights on the Church’s use of social media.

This initiative which the Institute of Pastoral Studies is launching will provide participants with the communications tools, instructions and knowledge necessary to address a variety of current parish needs and to look and plan for future needs. Students will learn how to build not only the appropriate infrastructure but to develop the message, the delivery, and utilize the resulting interaction in parish life, all of which is exciting and necessary to the growth of our parishes and the spread of the Gospel.

It occurs to me that as you do so it is worth recalling something St. John Paul II writes in his 1990 encyclical, Redemptoris Missio. The means of mass communication, he noted, have become not only the chief means of information and education for many people today, but also the chief source for “guidance and inspiration in their behavior as individuals, families and within society at large.” For this reason, he went on to say: “It is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications. This is a complex issue, since the ‘new culture’ originates not just from whatever content is eventually expressed, but from the very fact that there exist new ways of communicating, with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 37c, 1990).

This trenchant analysis is all the more remarkable when we consider that these words were written before the Internet became part of all our lives, yet they seem to describe its influence but also its challenges and opportunities for society and the Church so startlingly well. What the late saintly pope is saying here is that developments in communications technology going back well over a hundred years have not only benefited us but have also changed us. That is why the Church’s interest in and concern for contemporary communications technology is not merely a utilitarian concern – a form of “keeping up with the Jones” to make sure that the Church is not still using quill pens, as it were, when everyone else is text messaging. There are deeper issues that go beyond the surface attractions that claim our attention. These new communications technologies have created a new culture, and the Gospel message cannot be effectively communicated without the Church’s immersing herself in and understanding this culture.

The novelty of the Holy Father’s opening Twitter and Facebook accounts, and even engaging viewers with Google Hangouts may make headlines for a couple of days. Less likely to get serious consideration is what opening those accounts and hanging out on Google says about the nature of the culture which the Holy Father is trying to reach and even about the impact such communications have on the nature of the Church in using these means.

To put in perspective this point that contemporary communications technology has impacted us, changed our culture, changed us, just consider how other scientific and technological advances have also changed us, changed the way we think and behave. For instance, the invention of the microscope confirmed the existence of invisible organisms which explain the once mysterious phenomena of disease and epidemics. This was not only new knowledge but a new way of relating to our world. We now had a more accurate understanding of our environment. No longer were we at the mercy of superstitious explanations which could not free us from these diseases and epidemics. Instead of being crushed in spirit and body as our medieval ancestors were by the Black Death, we can fight against epidemics as we have had to do most recently against Ebola in West Africa.

Likewise, we have seen a change in us, our culture and our behaviors in a number of ways when it comes to the technological developments in mass media. Just to list a few:

  • Social networking sites provide connections between people with an ease unimaginablebefore;
  • The ordinary person has been empowered to be his or her own publisher, reporter, magazineeditor, or movie/TV director/producer whose products can reach multitudes and offer thepotential to gain the attention of the major conventional media and even transcend them;
  • An Internet sensation can soon become a public sensation;
  • The Internet even offers the potential to assume a wholly other persona in the world of the“’Net.” A New Yorker cartoon brings this point home well. One dog says to another, “On theInternet, nobody knows you’re a dog”;
  • Work space and play space interpenetrate as persons can work almost anywhere as if theywere at their desks and have with them on their smartphones video programming, music andwhatever else it is that entertains them.
  • We do our shopping and banking without ever leaving our homes;
  • Search engines take the place of traveling to libraries and archives.

This extraordinary democratization of media has certainly brought about a “new culture … with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology.” Even socio-economic and generational differences are marked by the challenges that come from these new technologies. The access to these means, which still demand a certain level of resources or the lack of access, has exacerbated social differences and inequality. The ease with which these new technologies are used by those who have grown up with them at their fingertips(or voice commands) make many in the older generation feel left out, especially when the conventional media they are used to refer them to the Internet for further information.So, the Church and Church leadership must give careful consideration to the enormous consequences new communications technology will have on them. It is not sufficient to join in the surprise with every new development nor simply try to keep up with the times by investing in whatever the marketplace rolls out. We have to begin thinking about the deeper issues, how these technologies are changing us, changing our culture and how we intersect with that culture in carrying out the mission of Christ.

My hope would be that today and the days going forward you will keep before you both the challenges and the opportunities this new technology presents for pastoral life. To get you started let me offer a couple of considerations.

It might be appealing at first blush to become enamored by the Internet’s ability to provide top- down communication, only to learn later that many of its users expect more. Interactivity is part of the Internet beast’s nature. Yet, this is more revolutionary for the Church than the simple statement of fact makes it sound. After all, the Catholic Church has a hierarchy with authority to teach, govern and sanctify. The most significant communications have been from the top down. Even the Second Vatican Council was a revolution from above, a fact often ignored. The Internet has the potential, or for some, the risk, of opening the decisions of all hierarchies to debate from below. How does an authoritative teaching office not only communicate but also make its decisions stick, as it were, in an Internet world that encourages discussion and debate of everything? What are the consequences for geographically-based authority, such as diocesan bishops, in a world where the media know no such boundaries or of having so many blogging bishops when speaking with one voice has been a hallmark of Catholicism? As a friend of mine says, Pope Francis’s openness to the media may have to result in a new category of papal pronouncement: the Apostolic Interview.

Also do these new media help or hinder the creation of genuine community? The experience so far is ambiguous. These technologies do facilitate a sense of community with a reach that can be truly “catholic,” at least with a small “c,” but they also make possible communities that are exclusive and not universal – communities which simply re-enforce one’s own world view to the exclusion of any other. They also can foster isolation, providing the individual with the capacity to avoid face-to-face contact with other human beings. This is hardly conducive to participating in a Church which calls its diverse members to contribute to the building up of one body, each in his or her own way. Nor can we ignore the persistence of inequality of access present in the so called “digital divide”, in which the poor, underserved communities lack the means to access the internet the way the rest of us do and take for granted. All of this cuts against the Church’s mission and goal of offering a Pentecost experience of the universal proclamation of the Gospel in a way all can understand.

And, finally to take a very down-to-earth, even mundane example of the ambiguities the new technology can present: There is no more utilitarian task than raising the money that permits the Church to carry on her pastoral ministries. The new communication technology makes possible on-line giving, but as one pastor I know recently asked me: “what kind of message we are sending by promoting a way of contributing which makes it possible to support the Church without ever going to church?”

The Church’s concern for the mass media for as long as she has been aware of their influence has involved not only their potential benefit (or risks) to the Church but also their effect on the entire human community. In discussing the negative consequences of new communications technology, sometimes they are treated as if they arose solely from the “newness” of the technology. But, this fails to recognize that, just as these new means are a response to the basic human need to communicate, so too their defects reflect defects of human nature. The capacity culpably to mislead and to permit oneself to be misled was apparent even when humanity’s means of communication were far more primitive.

Unquestionably technology can exacerbate the impact of humanity’s defects. The unmediated and easily manipulated form of media that is the Internet poses the problem of an exceptionally efficient, widespread and anonymous dispersal of lies and misinformation and of indecency and predatory activity. But a computer is not a magic box that makes people do evil. What it does do is increase our capacity to do good or evil as we choose. Unfortunately, like developments in weaponry, developments in the means of communications can outstrip the ability of humanity’s ethical sense to come up with the principles and ways to guide their use. The Church has the responsibility to promote the ethical use of all media, old and new.

Addressing these serious questions and deeper issues seems to me to be at the heart of the new effort Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies is launching today. This very comprehensive program will offer students technical communications tools and the infrastructure for message development, delivery and interaction all of which has the promise of enriching and enhancing the spread of the Gospel. But at the same time, my invitation to you is that you also attend to the deeper issues which are related to how this new technology is changing us, our behaviors and our culture; that you will explore ways for the Church to intersect that culture, but also integrate the Christian message into the ‘new culture’, as St. John Paul II urged a quarter century ago. The aim of your studies will be as it always has been: to bring people in our time to an encounter with Christ, making them not only disciples but companions who will accompany each other, not merely as Facebook pals, bloggers or tweeters, but as fellow pilgrims. Thank you.”


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Student Feature: Meet DeVona

Earning a dual degree at IPS, DeVona Alleyne has great advice for future students and shows that hard work pays off. Read below to find out some interesting and wonderful things about DeVona.

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Nickname: None, but DeVona often gets shortened to Dee for the sake of quick conversation.

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

A favorite of yours: My favorite color is red, but my favorite color to wear is black – the standard East Coast uniform.

A bible verse that has significance to you? 
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” – Romans 12:5 (NKJV)

Previous education:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – B.A. in English and in Journalism in 1999
Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. – started M.Div. in 2005

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I was a newspaper editor, most recently at the Chicago Tribune, who was laid off and considering where my passion existed outside of journalism. From my work as a hospice volunteer, I considered being a nurse and worked in a hospital for a year then went back to editing at a Christian publishing company. There, I met my mentor who steered me toward finding a program like mine at IPS.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
My manager at the Christian publishing company where I worked in 2012 would ask me about my interests from time to time that had less to do with my editing tasks. She took note of my practical theological perspectives and my care for understanding and positively shaping others’ motivations. In talking through it, she suggested I find a master’s program that combined spirituality and psychology. Thinking it was nearly impossible, I started Googling anyway and was pleasantly surprised, already living in Chicago, to find IPS’ pastoral counseling program right in my front yard!

What are your studies focused on/what degree plan are you in?
I’m in the dual degree program, pursuing the M.A. in pastoral counseling and the master of divinity. If all continues to go well, I’ll have both by May 2016 – three and a half years from when I started.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I’ve learned so much in the two years I’ve been here that I couldn’t have predicted any of it. One of the things that broadened my understanding of pastoral counseling in this program is that my future career will be less about what I do and more about who I am.

That’s important for recognizing what God means to me and how, as a minister, I reflect that very practical understanding for someone else’s individual translation of their own spirituality. Through my divinity program, I hope to build upon that foundation for future chaplaincy work. Further, I look forward to being even more aware of myself in relationship to anyone I encounter — whether it’s a client in individual therapy, a group or couple – to provide the best therapeutic care leading people to their greatest capacities to love.

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
I thoroughly enjoyed my Social Context of Ministry course taught by Dan Rhodes, though it was perhaps the most depressing and challenging of any that I’d taken – even over Michael Bland’s psychopathology. (The latter is a close second for favorite and, ironically, depressing.) More than any other course, it framed the real world and all the intangible forces that determine public and private thought with not-so-great consequences. The challenge of the course was to rethink my worldview by deconstructing its origins and then step up to the world by considering ways to make a real difference for people.

Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
The only challenge I see at IPS will be the race against time. I juggle a lot with school, church and family, and precision is necessary to get everything done. It’s gone well so far, despite a crazy schedule. I’ve taken 12 hours most semesters and just focused and prayed – prayed a lot, actually.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Take advantage of every experience IPS offers: Get to know and connect with classmates, have a meal on campus, talk with professors, attend events and spend time physically in the library. It’s easy to get caught up in such a studious mood that you miss out on the full experience of your studies. Debate ideas, put them into practice and question what’s happening around you. And as for the libraries, well, I’m a former journalist. There’s no reward like actually using a little shoe leather to find the information you need. All of that is a part of learning and will give you the full Loyola and IPS experience.

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
That’s simple: The world I encounter will change when and as I change myself and allow my experiences to change me for the better. With others, I will encourage positive transformation and expose the benefit of unexpected, undesirable or uncontrollable change.

Are you currently working on an interesting project that you wish to share?
It won’t happen until next year, but I’m tossing around a few ideas for my M.Div. project paper that will likely center on the intersection of Christianity and general understanding of human sexuality.

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I have an uncle whose name is King Solomon and an aunt whose name is Queen Esther, each on opposite sides of my family tree.

Any additional information you would like to share:
I’m a married mother of 2-year-old twins, who were 5 months old when I started attending IPS full-time. They show me every day that anything is possible.

You can connect with her via Twitter: @devonaara


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Student Feature: Meet Tom

Between computer science, cooking, family and training for triathlons, Tom Micinski has found a way to pursue his MAPS degree from IPS. Find out more below about his many talents and work with St. Teresa of Avila Parish. Happy to have you Tom!

Photo of Micinski at graduation from the Lay Ecclesial Ministry (LEM) program with the Archdiocese of Chicago.


Hometown: Mishawaka, Indiana

A favorite of yours?
My favorite hobby is cooking. I worked as a personal chef and caterer for about 10 years, but now cooking is just a hobby.

A quote that has significance to you?
“Whoever has God lacks nothing; God Alone Suffices” – St. Teresa of Avila

What is your previous education?
I have a BS from Northern Illinois University in Computer Science and I have a MS from DePaul University in Computer Science (Data Communications).

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I have been working as the Facilities Manager at St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Lincoln Park for the past six years. Before that, I was a cook for a religious community in Chicago.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I was accepted to the Lay Ecclesial Ministry (LEM) program with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Part of this program includes a masters level education component and I chose Loyola for my studies within the LEM program.

What are your studies focused on?
My studies are focused on pastoral work, especially as they relate to Catholic parish-life. I am enrolled in the MAPS program at Loyola. At the end of my education, I hope to work as a Pastoral Associate within the Archdiocese of Chicago.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
Right now, the biggest accomplishment I am looking forward to is graduating! With a full-time job and children in middle school, completing the MAPS degree program is proving to be a challenging endeavor.

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
I have enjoyed all my classes at Loyola. The teachers have been very knowledgeable about the subject matter and the classroom discussions have been engaging. If I had to pick one, I think I would pick Christian Moral Theology because many of the components of this class pertain directly to my life and work. Introduction to Canon Law, which I am currently enrolled in, is proving to be a close second because it will have direct applications to my future work as a Pastoral Associate.

Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
The biggest challenge I face is balancing my time between work, family and studies.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Ask a lot of questions and engage with your professors and fellow students. You never know what ‘spark’ will come out of a conversation.

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
The progression of my life has not been a straight path; it has been more like a winding road. Therefore, I have a hard time picturing exactly what lies ahead around the next curve. I just hope I can help meet the needs of the parishioners at a parish, bringing them closer to God’s Kingdom.

Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
The parish where I work, St. Teresa of Avila Parish, is currently working on a major church renovation. The parish has been in Lincoln Park for 125 years and many people can drive by the church without knowing it is a Catholic church. It was rebuilt in the 1960s after a fire, so the structure is more modern than the typical Catholic church in Chicago. One goal of this renovation is to make the parish’s presence more visible within the community by replacing the front brick wall with a variety of glass windows, including some stained glass windows from the original convent. It has been an exciting project and is scheduled to be completed before Easter!

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I love the outdoors and staying active. After heart surgery about four years ago, I got involved with triathlons as part of my recovery. I am now hooked on the sport because it allows me to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways; running, biking and swimming.


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.