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  • Writer's pictureFather David Mowry

Graduating as a Doctor of Ministry

Updated: Feb 5

In July of 2018, I drove down from Joliet to St. Louis to start my studies for a doctorate in preaching at the Aquinas Institute of Theology. After five years of classes, writing, preaching, and research (with a global pandemic thrown in for good measure), I have reached the end of the journey I started with that drive on I-55. My thesis project, “Parishioner Feedback on Seminarian Preaching,” received final approval this week. I am now a Doctor of Ministry.

The last two years have been dominated by my work on that thesis project. I had a hunch that there was a way to improve the way seminarians receive feedback on their preaching from parishioners at their teaching parishes. I spent many hours writing, leading seminars, conducting interviews, collecting data, and sifting through it all to see if that hunch was right. I’ll be writing more about those results in the future, but here’s the short version: When you trust the Holy Spirit to guide that feedback conversation, everyone involved—parishioners and seminarians alike—comes away with a deeper awareness of God’s activity during the homily. I’m excited to keep working in this area, with the hope of turning the thesis into something I can publish for a wider audience.

Those positive results and hopes for the future were only made possible because of all the help so many people gave me over the last two years. I do not want to wait on a future publication to express my gratitude for all those people. So below I want to share with all of you the Acknowledgments page from my thesis. Due to space I couldn’t list everyone who helped me, so if your name isn’t on the list, please accept my thanks now. I could not have done this alone. I thank the Lord God that He put so many good people in my life to walk with me on this five year doctoral journey.

God love and bless you all!


In thanksgiving for:

· my father Keith for always standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me

· my mother Joan for teaching me to be aware of my affective life

· my thesis advisor Dr. Deborah Wilhelm for coaching me with a growth mindset

· my reader Msgr. Stephen Bosso who sparked my curiosity about homiletic formation in seminaries

· seminarian participants Ambrose, Bernardine, Charles, Dominic, Edmund, and Fulton for their generosity of time and effort

· all the parishioner participants, internship pastors, and vocation directors for their dedication to the formation of Catholic priests

· Dr. Karla Bellinger for showing me how to write like a Doctor of Ministry

· Alex Austin for transforming my crude sketch into a vibrant bridge

· Fr. Greg Heille, Sr. Sarah Fairbanks, and all the faculty and staff at Aquinas Institute

· all the members of D.Min. Cohort 2018

· Fr. John Kartje and all my colleagues at Mundelein Seminary and the wider University of St. Mary of the Lake

· my students in Homiletics II for helping me improve as a giver of feedback

· the men of 1 South for putting up with my split attention

· Fr. Evan Glowzinski for keeping me honest

· Lisa Ayres for her thorough editing

· Msgr. John Canary for his wise counsel

· Fr. Mark Augustine, Fr. Steven Borello, and Fr. Kevin McCray for their unwavering support and brotherhood

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