Highlighting Pope Francis and The Jesuit Tradition

A watershed in the Church’s history, Pope Francis was the first Jesuit and first priest from the Americas to be elected as Bishop of Rome. His fulfillment of the papal role has been defined by a distinctly Jesuit approach, marked by compassionate leadership that is attentive to the concrete contexts of contemporary people. The same leadership approach is taught in Gonzaga’s masters in theology program.

Pope Francis brought to the papal office a noticeable departure from the traditions of the position, employing a Jesuit pastoral style that rejects many of the traditional trappings of the office. This includes the decision to wear simple vestments, be driven in an average car and live in a modest apartment. Ignatius Loyola, who preached humility among the clergy, founded the Jesuit order in 1540. Since then, the order has become strongly grounded in education and service. Pope Francis is a well-loved example of Jesuit leadership, bearing its rich spiritual and intellectual tradition in the highest office in the Church.

This tradition is carried out at Gonzaga, through the masters in theology program. The Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership program brings the Jesuit tradition of education and Ignatian spirituality together in a unique and transformative education experience.

Jesuit teaching has been formed by a long history of using education to empower oppressed and marginalized people. Our goal for the program is to help our graduate students become empowered leaders who live and lead with a Jesuit ethos as exemplified by Pope Francis. Whether you are in a ministry, a mission-oriented position or seeking one out, this program offers the spiritual and intellectual skills you need to be a thoughtful and effective lay leader in your community.

Gonzaga’s online MATL program prepares graduates for lay leadership through both theological education and leadership courses founded in our strong Jesuit tradition. If you want to know how a masters in theology from Gonzaga University can strengthen your lay leadership skills, contact us or visit our Virtual Campus Blog to learn more about the programs we have to offer.

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