Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Pastoral and Theological Reflection Through Photography" - A Practicum Project

This coming spring, Spring of 2014, I will be entering the end of my Master's Degree experience therefore in order to graduate from my program, Pastoral Ministry, I must complete a Practicum Project. A lot of master degree programs require a thesis however, since I am in a ministerial program we do things a little differently. The following excerpt is a description of my practicum project in which I have spent nearly the last 4 hours on writing. 

My high school art teacher told me that if I went to college to study theology and not photography I could one day find myself bored with theology. In order to entertain both of my interests in theology specifically pastoral ministry and photography I chose this topic as a practicum project. Theological aesthetics was certainly not on my radar but I wanted to learn more about these topics coexisting because they are both a major part of who I am. Growing up when I was three-years-old I owned my very first camera a Fisher-Price 35mm by Kodak. As I grew older the cameras became more and more sophisticated. From film to digital to point-and-shoot to manuals with detachable lenses. Just as I was given more advanced cameras as I aged, my faith and understanding of God has equally changed over time. When I was a little girl my understanding of God was no more than knowing that there is a God and Jesus loves me. As an adolescent I began picturing God based upon the classic movie, the Wizard of Oz in my mind God was like the wizard in that God watched over all of us through a cylindrical like television. Later in life my understanding of God took on a deeper understanding as I began to learn about theological concepts including: the Trinity, Christology, morality, heaven and hell and much more.

I have been drawn to the Saints ever since I was a little girl when Monsignor Charles Foeller (Father Foeller) nick-named me Catherine, after Saint Catherine of Siena, a doctor of the Church. Father Foeller used to fascinate me as well as educate me by showing me a variety of relics which were important to him and subsequently became important to me as Father Foeller was a profound role model to me. Ever since then I have been on fire not only with my faith but also with the saints. I have great appreciation for the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, which is the second-largest Shrine in the United States after St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Maria Stein displays over 1,000 relics. The Maria Stein Shrine preserves relics of the saints and makes them available for public adoration as well as provides programs for pilgrims of all ages and abilities. In a way I feel as though I am living out Father Foeller’s legacy in which through my own appreciation for the saints, I can share the lives with the saints to others by sharing my knowledge of the saints, the Church and more at the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics in which thousands upon thousands of people come as pilgrims each year. 

Please Note: This is un-edited and un-approved version. (Due to the amount of time I have poured into this and the thought provoking, as well as Spiritual journey this has taken me on this afternoon, I wanted to keep a copy for myself as well as share it with others that may be curious.) Suggestions on how to make it clearer, stronger, or otherwise are highly encouraged! Happy reading.  

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