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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

On a Mission to Learn. Lead. Serve.

By John LeComte

Approximately 8,200 miles from campus, in a building in Malawi, Africa, Wallace Nyirongo shares his newfound knowledge with a group of teenagers. They call it the School of Faith. His mission now is to teach others about faith, community and Jesus Christ.

Nyirongo's own educational journey started nearly two years ago through the Institute's online program He had never taken any online course before. Since taking the VLCFF online course, he has felt a deep connection to the University.  

"I thank God for the opportunity to study through the University of Dayton," Nyirongo told me via email.  "I can't believe I have completed 13 courses!"

The Virtual Community for Faith Formation brings diverse groups of adult learners together to share in faith, truly making a difference in the lives of people around the world. Courses include Scripture, Sacraments, Catholic Doctrine and Music in Liturgy. The global reach of our online program continues to grow and spread across continents.

Wallace is a member of the Diocese of Karonga, one of the VLCFF partnering dioceses. and one of 80 partnering (Arch)Dioceses across the globe, including Canada, the Caribbean and Australia.

"I have studied with University Dayton, taking a course in Catechesis," he said. "I have just completed my last course  which makes me qualify for the Certificate in Catechesis. My experience has been so rewarding and educative.  With all the knowledge and experience that I have acquired throughout these courses, I see myself as an agent of real evangelization to others."

"I have already started sharing with others, especially the youth in our parish.  I'm also teaching school teachers, medical staff and parishioners about faith and passing along my knowledge."

Wallace's story reaffirms our mission to improve the world and demonstrates the very essence of the Marianist philosophy, Learn,Lead,Serve.

"The VLCFF online courses provide a platform where so many experiences are shared by different people from all over the world. The discussion boards are super!  Your courses are user-friendly and your facilitators are pure professionals,  deep in faith. Courses are very well structured and quite manageable.  I can’t believe that I have covered thirteen courses with so much stuff in it."

"To the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at University of Dayton, continue doing the good work."

We will Wallace, we will.

The VLCFF distance learning program offers over 100 course subjects in English and Spanish, with 5-week e-courses or 3-week e-seminars.  Check out the course list.   HR covers the cost of courses for faculty/staff and alumni can pay the reduced rate of $50 for a 5-week course.  The Marianists presence in Malawi includes the Chaminade Catholic Secondary School & Miracle Technical College in the Karonga District. UD students regularly travel to Malawi to engage in research and service-learning projects. Contact our office at 1-888-300-8436.


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