Date of Graduation

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Gini Shimabukuro

Second Advisor

Dan McPherson

Third Advisor

Doreen F. Jones

Abstract

Over the past 45 years, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of religious and priests working in Catholic schools in the United States. Currently, 96% of all elementary and secondary faculties are comprised of lay men and women (McDonald, 2010). This same phenomenon can be found in Marianist-sponsored secondary schools in the United States. Prior to accepting a leadership position in a high school, Marianist brothers and priests were formed in a comprehensive theological and spiritual framework which incorporated the study of scripture, Church history, magisterial documents, liturgical prayer, moral theology, and other spiritual practices. Lay men and women may not have received an extensive formation in the Catholic faith prior to assuming a leadership position in a school, and may find themselves at a disadvantage as spiritual leaders of the school.

This quantitative study utilized the Information for Growth (IFG) Survey published by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) to investigate the degree to which lay administrators of Marianist-sponsored secondary schools were literate and aligned in their beliefs with teachings of the Catholic Church in discrete content areas. These content areas for adult faith formation included: (a) knowledge of the faith, (b) the liturgy, (c) moral formation, (d) prayer, (e) communal life, and (f) missionary spirit. In addition, the study investigated those theological and spiritual topics that the participants might desire to incorporate into future spiritual and theological formation. Utilizing SurveyMonkey, the researcher forwarded the IFG to 73 lay administrators. In total, 55 or 75% of the recipients responded to the survey.

Overall, the participants scored in the high/strong category for each of the components in the cognitive domain of adult faith formation. The participants scored in the high/strong category for each of the components of the affective domain of adult faith formation, with the exception of moral formation and knowledge of the faith, which they scored in the moderate category. Their top choices for spiritual and theological formation included Prayer and Spirituality and Catholic Social Doctrine.

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