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From Campus to Consecration

One of the newest bishops in the Episcopal Church thanks the St. Norbert College Master in Theological Studies degree program for its significant role in his formation. 

“The breadth of perspectives offered in the M.T.S. program helped grow my theological education and opened me to so many different perspectives,” reflects the Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez M.T.S. ’11 as he settles into his new role as Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania.

Gutierrez was elected earlier this year after serving as canon to the ordinary, chief operating officer and chief of staff for the Diocese of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, N.M. He was consecrated in his new calling last summer.

The new bishop did not begin his religious studies until he was well into his career in public service; service that included stints as chief of staff to the Albuquerque mayor and as director of the Bernalilo County Economic Development Department. A history and political science major at the University of New Mexico, he later added a master’s degree in public administration. In 2007, he earned a diocesan certificate in Anglican studies from the Trinity School of Ministry.

Gutierrez was ordained to the Episcopal diaconate and priesthood in 2008 and began serving parishes in Albuquerque, but felt called to do more. He then enrolled in the M.T.S. program, which is offered both at SNC’s De Pere campus and at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey in Albuquerque. “It was a good fit,” says Gutierrez, who moved into ministry work full-time after completing his degree. “The diversity of the faculty and students allowed me to go deeper into my theology studies. Understanding and knowing the differences among the denominations was very profound. It is very helpful to hear someone else’s faith journey.”

St. Norbert launched the M.T.S. program at its main campus in 1987, and in Albuquerque in 1998. Director Howard Ebert ’74 says, “Education is an ecumenical mission at both campuses – here and in New Mexico.” Ebert co-taught a class this fall with a Presbyterian minister. “Bringing together faculty from different religions, we are promoting better understanding among the students and everyone in the program.”

Gutierrez’ local diocese first assigned him to help rebuild two struggling parishes in the Albuquerque area. The consecrated life may appear very different from life in public service, but the new bishop says there are commonalities: “In my previous jobs, I felt like I was helping others and reaching out – something I definitely do in my ministry work.”

He says: “The Norbertines do a wonderful job. They are not only great educators, but they are also wonderful spiritual guides. The Norbertine tradition grounds the entire M.T.S. program.”


March 17, 2017