Master of Arts
Cor Unum Pathway
(One Heart)

The Fall 2022 Cohort is full. Applications are being accepted for the Fall 2023 cohort. Limited need-based financial assistance is available and considered at the time of application. Students who need a philosophy or religious studies pre-requisite will be given free, just-in-time options over May and/or the summer. Please contact Michael Beard for a tour:, 414-858-4655.

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s Cor Unum (One Heart) Master of Arts pathway, with an emphasis in systematic theology, identifies and develops lay leaders with the courage to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s reconciling love in word and action.


Employing a cohort model that builds relational bonds with fellow students and faculty, participants are not just completing an M.A. degree, but deepening their personal sense of discipleship and joining a community committed to inviting and inspiring discipleship in others.


As an expression of the New Evangelization, Cor Unum has two primary and complementary goals:

  • To develop within the student a profound encounter with Jesus Christ through the study of Scripture and Tradition leading to a greater passion for the renewal of the Church and world.

  • To engage in the conversion of culture by hearing and responding to God’s call to evangelize and heal a fractured world through the Gospel’s message of reconciliation, justice, and mercy.

“The Cor Unum program has been life-changing for the students and graduates,” McNeil said. “It has helped them come to understand more deeply their personal call from God, and their personal mission to go out into the world. The students and graduates of the program continue to transform our parish communities and other apostolates in the archdiocese.” – Susan McNeil, the director of lay ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

This is a quote from a Catholic Herald article written about the Cor Unum program. To read the full article, click here.

What Makes Cor Unum Unique?

  • A cohort model that fosters an intentional community of learning

  • A rigorous study of academic theology combined with a vision of evangelizing and healing a fractured world

  • Theology taught from the heart of the Church in the context of a Roman Catholic seminary and school of theology

  • Built in light of the Dehonian charism of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs)

  • A “flipped classroom” – Dynamic in-class experiences focused on active learning of adult students, along with supplemental online delivery

The Powerful Question

  • Developed on the retreat, Apostolic Saturdays, and through individual guidance

  • The Powerful Question functions as both a discernment tool and a lens through which each student studies the Church’s theological tradition

  • Serves as a way to integrate one’s baptismal calling, learning, and experiences

Cor Unum Program Components:

  • Mass or Eucharistic Adoration

  • Development of Powerful Question

  • Spiritual Formation

  • Pastoral Skills

  • Theological Studies

Cor Unum Program Schedule:

  • Classes meet Monday evenings, 6:10-9:00 pm, with supplemental content delivered online

  • Apostolic Saturdays (2nd Saturday of the month)

The four semesters of Cor Unum are organized around the themes of the four Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council:

Fall Year One

Cornerstone 1 Theme: Divine Revelation (Dei verbum)

  • Scriptural Foundations

  • Fundamental Theology

  • Personal Discernment through Powerful Question

Spring Year One

Cornerstone 2 Theme:  The Church (Lumen gentium)

  • Jesus in the New Testament

  • Christ and the Church

Summer Experience Options

  • Holy Land Archeological Expedition

  • SCJ Missions

  • Ministering to the Human Person

    • Pastoral Counseling Class (Live during May Session)

    • Theological Anthropology Class (Online)

Fall Year 2

Cornerstone 3 Theme: The Moral Life and Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium)

  • Fundamental Moral Theology

  • Sacramental Theology

Spring Year 2

Cornerstone 4 Theme:  The Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes)

  • Catholic Social Teaching

  • Faith and Culture

Contextualized Apostolic Learning Lab (CALL)

  • Integrated into year two (Cornerstones 3 and 4), including the retreat, classes, and Apostolic Saturdays.

  • The Contextualized Apostolate Learning Lab requires the students to select an issue pertaining to a fracture or wound in the world which relates to their Powerful Question, and to peer into this issue using the tools of theological reflection.

  • While seeking to identify and understand these fractures, the students are challenged to articulate the difference systematic theology makes in responding to and healing these wounds.

Capstone Paper and Defense 

  • Mid-May through June after Cornerstone 4.

  • Students demonstrate the integration of the various components of the Cor Unum program. In so doing, students link theological learning to the contemporary needs of the Church and the world.

  • Students develop a written work that includes a theological, integrative account. This draws together the student’s education and experiences, demonstrating the student’s theological knowledge as well as skills developed through the program.

  • Once the written work is complete, the student will defend the paper to a panel of faculty members in the presence of the cohort.

Click here to listen to Dr. Mike Brummond, Former MA Director, and Julie O’Connor, Vice President of Student Services & Special Projects, as they talk about Cor Unum on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s radio show “Living Our Faith”.

Student Testimonials

Cor Unum students talk about why they are in the program and what they expect to get out of it.

Rita Igl-Riekkoff, 2021 Cor Unum graduate

“When I think of my studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, I recall a quote from Brother Lawrence: “As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him.” For much of my adult life, I’ve worked to understand the truths held within the Catholic Church. As I entered the Cor Unum pathway, I learned that our rational minds could enter into the Mysteries of God through systematic theology. Approaching topics such as grace, nature, sacrifice, and salvation methodically and coherently increased my knowledge and love of the Trinity. As knowledge fueled our love, then love summoned my cohort classmates and me to seek ways to heal and evangelize a fractured world. As part of a class project, I began a blog entitled: “The Catholic Thinker Movement.”  Since graduation, my desire to serve continues and is expressed in both my written and spoken words. To those struggling in their faith, those who may lack formation in doctrine, or those who have left the faith, I seek to provide reasonable answers to questions regarding faith, God, and His Church. I plan to continue offering written insights through the blog. Future posts will endeavor to provide a systematic review of common issues present in our modern world. Similarly, I am pursuing options to enter a Spiritual Director’s formation program to work with individuals to deepen their prayer and faith life.” 

Dan Sass, 2021 Cor Unum graduate

“The Holy Spirit has been always very active and direct in all areas of my life.  This ranged from my career, my marriage, the family I was blessed with and this includes the Cor Unum program.  The Spirit directed me and it is very clear that the path I should take through others.  As a result, I have been richly rewarded. For example, was my introduction to the Cor Unum program.  I was about to retire from my profession as a Pharmacist and I was searching for the next step in my life.  I have an inquisitive mind and was looking into taking classes for personal enrichment.  I have been and continue to be involved with men’s small groups and bible studies.  I have no real formal education in theology.  At this point, the Spirit stepped in.  At the Men of Christ conference, I was tackled by Prof. Mike Brummond and told I was joining the Cor Unum program.  I was very apprehensive in that I had little theology training and a lack of other skills.  I am a terrible writer and have limited computer skills.  I took the leap of faith and how right the Spirit is… [Continue Reading]

Taylor Baar, 2020 Cor Unum graduate

“I heard about Cor Unum at the Catechetical Conference a few years ago. Being part of the program helped me to grow intellectually and spiritually. I felt better equipped to share the faith with parents and teens at the parish where I was the youth minister. I appreciated how the professors helped to relate what we were learning to our ministries. I also valued the cohort model, because I grew so close to the other people in my group. We all are still connected and praying for each other.” 

For further information contact:

Michael Beard
Director of MA & Pastoral Formation Programming