Dinner and a Course 2017-18

A Project of Professional Faith Development (PFD): Keeping Faith Afloat

Following on the success of previous Dinner & Course programs, we've arranged another set for you!

Come to St. Joseph's College (UofA) for a four-evening course on issues of faith that matter to you.
All sessions run from 5:00 to 8:00pm starting with dinner in the College Dining Room.
Cost includes parking, dinner and the course!


Over four evenings, discuss issues on:

"Two Pastoral Issues Faced by Catholic Teachers: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Alberta Education Guidelines Regarding Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions"

Facilitated by Fr. Glenn McDonald, csb
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

With the help of St Kateri Tekakwitha and the Holy Spirit, this session will explore theological concepts that can assist Catholic Teachers respond to the TRC and the Alberta Education Guidelines with goodness, reverence and love.

Fr. Glenn is Chaplain of St. Joseph's College and has spoken to youth and educators throughout the Archdiocese. He is a Basilian Father, who was raised in southern Alberta and has taught for the College previously.

"Building Resiliency in Faith-Based Schooling and the Home"

Facilitated by Dr. Suzette Bremault-Phillips
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Resilience is both the ability to survive (positively adapt in the face of adverse or challenging circumstances), and thrive (learn positive skills, strategies and routines that enable a person to live a happy, fulfilling, and meaningful life). This session will explore strategies, intentional activities, and values that foster resiliency among children, youth, adults and families.

Suzette is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, with a background in occupational therapy and spirituality. She has practiced in a number of settings, teaches at the College, and brings a wealth of knowledge about resiliency-related topics to Dinner and a Course.

"Life, Death, and Suffering: Catholic Thought on Medical Assistance with Dying"

Facilitated by Dr. Doris Kieser
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

After 30 years of legal battles over dignified dying and patient autonomy, medical professions can now assist in the death of a patient. Strangely, this conversation is sparse on meaningful discussions of the meaning of life and the place of suffering in the human experience. This evening will include a brief overview of the current Canadian situation, Catholic perspectives on MAID, and the legislation's implications for youth and Catholic educators. Discussion is encouraged!

Doris is Associate Professor of St. Joseph's College and teaches about bioethics, sexuality, women's spirituality, and dying and death. Combined with her research on adolescents, she offers a helpful viewpoint for discussions around suicide, life and suffering for educators today.

"Catholic Education in a Secular Age"

Facilitated by Dean Sarnecki, MRE
Wednesday, April 18, 2018  Note revised date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's been suggested that we are living in an age where secularism dominates. Things are much different from the Middle Ages, or even modern times when many forecasted the end of religion. Instead, philosopher Charles Taylor argues that today secularism means that we live in a society that is diverse and pluralistic. What does this setting mean for Catholic education? How might we use Taylor's observations to engage Catholic schools in the public forum?

Dean is the Executive Director for the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association, a former principal and chaplain in Elk Island Catholic Schools, and teaches courses on religious education at the College. He is working towards a doctorate in the Faculty of Education and presents some of these insights for Dinner and a Course.

What is it?

  • A serious yet less formal non-credit course facilitated by a variety of St. Joseph's College faculty members.
  • Topics focus on 'dinner table issues' that Catholics face today.

How much does it cost?

  • $240 for four evenings (parking, an updated dinner menu, and the course included).
  • You may wish to include this program as part of your professional growth plan.
  • The course intends to build community among educators over several nights; for this reason, a single evening price is not offered.
  • Those attending any 3 of the 4 sessions will receive a certificate of completion.

Will I need to submit a paper?

  • No. This is a non-credit professional development course.
  • Prior to the beginning of each session, we will email you a short two to three page article. It can be read prior to class in preparation for discussion.
  • After dinner, professors will offer mini-lectures, short readings and/or videos to stimulate learning and discussion on the noted topics. You’ll have a chance to dialogue and engage a specialist in the area of study.

How do I apply?

  • Click here to register online
  • Contact Ms. Sara McKeon at the College at 780-492-7682 or by email at:
  • Enrolment will be capped at 30 registrations

'Dinner and Course' engages educators with kitchen table issues faced in our schools, homes, and communities.


Please note: The 'Dinner and a Course' sessions are separate from the Master of Educational Studies (MES) partnership between St. Joseph's College and the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.
The MES program is a cohort- and project-based Master in Catholic Education, beginning in the Summer of 2018. It is a two-year program that enables teachers and administrators to continue working while taking face-to-face graduate courses in the summer and online courses during the school year.
For more information, go to