Theology degrees offer the salvation of spiritual growth


As many families are finally packing away their Christmas decorations to prepare for a new year, some university graduates are reflecting on the annual event that will become a major part of their yearly professional calendar.

For theology graduates who celebrated their first Christmas as ordained priests, the recent festive season held additional meaning.

Father Isaac Falzon, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, studied theology and philosophy at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Banyo campus in Queensland as part of the formation of priests at Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary and was ordained in June 2023.

The pathway to priesthood

December last year marked the first time he celebrated Catholic Christmas liturgies as a priest. While it was a significant time in his journey as both a tertiary graduate and a Christian, Father Falzon says the
meaning behind Christmas “must be understood in terms of our entire spiritual journey”.

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“In the lead-up to Christmas, we are invited to prepare ourselves for Christmas when our Saviour comes,” he told EducationDaily. “But in order to welcome the Saviour properly, we must be aware of the fact that we have something that we need to be saved from.”

Father Falzon began his degree in theology with the design of “loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind”.

“This journey of theology has helped hone my compassion, broaden my perspective, and cultivate a better harmony between my heart, soul, and mind,” he says.

“This type of academic journey involves a deep responsibility to comprehend the depths of God, fostering spiritual growth, intellectual rigour, and emotional maturity.”

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Theology is a life-long study

The biggest lesson that he’s taken away, he told EducationDaily, is “that the journey of theology never ends”.

“It’s a journey that exceeds books and classrooms, and that calls for a transformation of someone who is imbued with truth, empathy, critical thinking, and cultural appreciation,” he says.

Since starting work as a priest immediately after his graduation, his focus now is to further develop those skills he set out for during his degree.

“Working as a leader in the Church means being a role model for love, service, guidance, and community, even if it means putting aside personal desires for the greater good,” he says.

Critical thinking and Christianity

“My theology degree has helped me to understand what it really means to theologise. Namely, theology involves critical thinking, caring about others, understanding different cultures, correct ethical decision-making, and fostering personal and communal spiritual development.”

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Those characteristics learned throughout his degree, Father Falzon says, “form the foundation of who I am as a leader in the Church”.

“Furthermore, they make it easier to understand different beliefs and points of view, easier to guide people through tough times and create a home where everyone is welcome.”

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