The new year brings a new semester for St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry in Albany, with new and traditional courses and new, returning or regular instructors:

•  On Monday evenings, beginning Jan. 22, REV. MARK REAMER, OFM, will be teaching a course in pastoral leadership. This course is new. Through the lens of Bowen systems theory, students will explore leadership as a Christian practice with emphasis on mission integration and ongoing professional development of self and staff. This course will prepare students to have the ability to minister to and lead with others through change.

•  On Tuesday nights, REV. GARY GELFENBIEN will be teaching spiritual formation, looking at spiritual formation in a broad context. There will be opportunities for students to visit various religious sites, and to explore their own spirituality and the methods they use to sustain it.

•  Scripture-based courses being offered this spring are introduction to Hebrew Scriptures with REV. JOSEPH MALI and Pauline and Deutero-Pauline writings with MARCUS GIGLIOTTI. Both of these professors dig deeper into Scripture to help students hear it in a new way.

To take any of these courses for credit or to audit them, call (518) 453-6760....

During National Migration Week, Jan. 7-13, the Sisters of Mercy sponsored a seven-day social media series, "Mercy for Immigrants: Share the Journey," on the experiences of immigrants to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Sisters of Mercy in the Albany Diocese advocate for immigrants by rallying at the State Capitol, urging elected officials to end harsh immigration policies and welcoming immigrants at the Circles of Mercy social service agency in Rensselaer and Maria College in Albany. Information on National Migration Week was on the sisters' Facebook and Twitter sites and at