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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Life-Changing Learning

By John LeComte

It began three years ago when I first contacted Benedict Nyondo as he embarked on his online faith journey.

Nyondo completed online courses such as Images of Jesus, Sacraments and Introduction to Prayer, all hosted by the university's VLCFF (Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation).

From the beginning, he was growing in faith to help others grow in their faith.

“It was my first time learning online,” Nyondo said.  “This marked a change in my life, made me competent and my faith strengthened with fellow learners across the world.”

Taking advantage of the University of Dayton online courses, Nyondo, who is the father of five children, is taking the necessary steps to become a Permanent Deacon.

“There haven’t been any Permanent Deacons in Malawi,” Nyondo said. “The Diocese of Karonga has very few priests. We need to take care of the faithful in order to help the church in different ministries.”

Presiding over the ceremony was Bishop Martin Mtumbuka, who acknowledged the university’s platform as the main reason for this important celebration.

“The University of Dayton provided the online scholarship and formation for Benedict,” the Bishop said.

“Without this collaboration, we would not be talking of his steps today.”

Nyondo will be ordained Permanent Deacon in July 2022 and offered some final thoughts about his VLCFF online learning experience.

“I am grateful to the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives for the formation I received, yet I look forward to more learning and formation," he said.

As the ceremony ended and it was time for the final photo shoot, above their heads were these words painted on the sacred building, “God will take care of us.”  (Gen: 22:8)

Start your faith journey by going to   Learn more about the online classes, programs and opportunities available to you.  Courses are in three languages, English, Spanish and Arabic and run three weeks  or five weeks depending on the course.  For scholarship inquiries or to donate, email Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski:

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