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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Military families keep the faith through online classes with UD's VLCFF

By José Amaya

From Germany to Spain, from Korea to Japan and from countries across the globe, U.S. military catechists connect online with the University of Dayton.

The partnership between the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) and the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) began in 2009. VLCFF provides excellent faith formation e-courses to military catechists, coordinators of religious education and adults worldwide. An estimated 1.8 million Catholics (active duty and their immediate dependents) depend on the global Archdiocese to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs.

The asynchronous VLCFF platform and online delivery permits participants to engage in the course with ease of mind and dedicated hearts. The three-week e-seminars or five-week e-courses are led by trained, credentialed facilitators, inviting the adult student to be a member of a community of faith.

With a robust catalog of online courses in English, Spanish and Arabic, the Archdiocese benefits from the partnership with the university by allowing catechists to meet the requirements toward basic certification and advanced certification. VLCFF has been instrumental in implementing the AMS’s vision for catechesis by designing an e-course titled Catechetical Methodology, as well as a Missionary Disciples e-course that supported the National Fifth Encuentro process.

VLCFF is an accessible option for Coordinators of Religious Education (CRE) to complete the certificate in two years from any point in the world. The online e-courses and certificate programs have inspired some catechists and catechetical leaders to continue into a Masters of Theology. The platform equips the catechist with the knowledge and skills to proclaim and teach the person of Jesus Christ to those entrusted to their pastoral care and accompaniment.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA was established as an independent Archdiocese by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers. The AMS-endorsed priests serve at more than 220 U.S. Military installations in 29 countries and 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the United States.

Thank you to the University of Dayton VLCFF for the partnership to support the Archdiocese, providing quality and accessible faith formation to AMS catechists around the world. 

José Amaya is the Director of Faith Formation of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. He is responsible for implementing the vision for catechesis in this global Archdiocese as established in the AMS forming disciples for the New Evangelization: Archdiocesan Religion Curriculum Guide. He travels across the United States and overseas to train catechists for certification in this global Archdiocese.

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