Centro Semillero Offers Master's Programs and Possibilities
You may have heard the motto, "Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." This principle strongly applies to two Houston-area educators who, through Centro Semillero at University of St. Thomas-Houston (UST), have confirmed their callings as teachers and fortified their faith. Moreover, they are applying the academic program’s four pillars — kindness, discipline, knowledge, and community — to everything they do.
Angel de Jesus Garcia, Current Master’s Student
One of them is Angel de Jesus Garcia, a college advisor at Houston Independent School District and currently enrolled in Centro Semillero’s Master of Sacred Scriptures Program.
"When my friends told me that St. Thomas was about to launch a master's degree program in Spanish, I went to orientation and decided to give it try,” Garcia said. “That's how I became part of the first generation of Spanish-speaking theology students, and I thank God for that decision."
Garcia made this decision because it perfectly supported both his profession as an educator and his after-work role as a leader at his parish's youth ministry where he attends pastoral meetings, plans retreats, and creates Christian formation programs.
About Centro Semillero
Centro Semillero was created in 2019 as a graduate studies program in pastoral and biblical studies theology at the UST School of Humanities. Offered online and 100% in Spanish, Centro Semillero offers two postgraduate programs: a Master's in Pastoral Theology and a Master's in Sacred Scriptures.
"Centro Semillero," according to its director Father Dempsey Rosales Acosta, “is inspired by the book of Proverbs 2:2-3 when fulfilling the invitation to incline our hearts to the understanding and study of God to grow in his love. Our center offers the opportunity to fulfill this goal of personal and professional growth by obtaining a postgraduate degree in pastoral or biblical studies at UST from the comfort of your home with our 100% online programs."
Iris Lai Nayas, MAPT ‘21
For Iris Lai Nayas, a 9th-grade Spanish teacher at Pasadena Independent School District, and a graduate of the Pastoral Theology program in 2021, the concepts she learned have opened a door for dialogue with colleagues from other religions.
Nayas said, "The program has helped me find pastoral strategies for interacting with my colleagues, who are not necessarily Catholic. The strategies enable me to dialogue with all of my colleagues and live experiences of faith without losing the essence of mine."
Most importantly, the program has made her realize that through her interactions with her students and peers, she can be a testament to God's presence.
"Today, schools they have taken God out of the classroom but thanks to this program, I understand that God has never been outside, and it is up to me to present him, through values, justice, love, prudence, prayer, and faith," adds Nayas.
Thanks to her graduate degree, Nayas is also a facilitator in the Small Communities of Salt and Light of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
How to Enroll
Centro Semillero has open enrollment for new students. To learn more about Centro Semillero click here.