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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

VLCFF: A gift from Heaven

By Deacon Freddy Medina

The University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation's (VLCFF) partnership with the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, is, in my humble opinion, an example of divine Intervention.

First, without the VLCFF’s asynchronous online learning method, much of this diaconal class would not have been able to participate. When we talk about forming men for the diaconate, we talk about men who have commitments to family, jobs and parishes, so they don't have flexible schedules. With VLCFF, these candidates can set their timeframes for learning and aren't required to do it at a specific time. One of our deacons would start his day at 4 a.m., while his family slept, so he could keep up with his studies. 

Second, two class members whose primary language is Spanish would not have been accepted for formation if we had continued with our former method for the intellectual dimension. And, yet, the two have contributed significantly to this class in so many ways that I cannot envision our formation program continuing without offering tracks concurrently in Spanish and English. VLCFF facilitates this tremendously.

The service, nay, the ministry provided by VLCFF facilitators is unmatched. The facilitator’s attention to detail and the students' capacity to follow along and participate in the class greatly enhanced each learning experience. I received feedback regularly from our students describing their amazement with their facilitator’s willingness to share their knowledge, guide the student to seek more profoundly into the subject matter and challenge their worldview.

So, why do I refer to divine intervention? If it weren't for our partnership with the VLCFF, the Deacon Class of 2022 would have undoubtedly become the class of 2024. Because of the pandemic, we could not meet in person for 12 months, or 20% of their formation period. Yet, the course continued non-stop with their formation in all four dimensions.

The Diocese of San Angelo is truly blessed to use VLCFF for formation classes.

This was indeed a gift from Heaven.

Deacon Freddy Medina is the Director of the Office of Diaconal Ministry for the Diocese of San Angelo. To see a list of year-round classes, check out the VLCFF course calendar. Read testimonials below of some of the Permanent Deacons ordained June 4.   

"The classes from VLCFF were enormously important to me! I am a cradle Catholic, went to Catholic schools most of my life and, yet, I knew so little about my religion. These classes opened my eyes to the rich history of the faith!"  

- John E. (Johnny) Rodriguez

"When I first started diaconal formation I knew that I needed a strong foundation to build on in order to be a successful Deacon. VLCFF has provided that foundation and confidence I need to be successful in my ministry."   

- Stan Sienkiewich

"The VLCFF brought the faith to life, a perspective beyond just our west Texas area, and brought more depth to our learning about Church history, doctrine and most of the information we needed to be formed. The VLCFF was an invaluable tool in formation." 

- Scott Randolph 

"VLCFF aided my journey to becoming an ordained deacon by gaining much knowledge of our Catholic faith and tradition as well as Holy Scripture. I plan to utilize VLCFF for continuing education and faith formation!"

- Pete Madrid

A wonderful experience. All the facilitators were very helpful by giving their own insights and opinions on the subjects we studied, and I'm forever grateful to VLCFF and its staff."

- Alfonso Moreno

"University of Dayton’ VLCFF online was vital to our Deacon formation program, afforded each student flexibility of time that was essential for each student with family, church ministry and work responsibilities to participate in an educational program." 

- Alonzo Landin 

"One thing that made the biggest difference, these online classes kept me focused during the pandemic when we could not attend our face-to-face classes. These classes are a must in the academics for formation."   

- Billy Garcia 

"When the world was affected by Covid-19 many schools and universities were shut down, but we were able to continue our journey with no hesitation whatsoever thanks to VLCFF. It's so convenient to be able to log in from any location; home, work or on vacation. VLCFF is available 24/7."

- Bobby Porras 

"VLCFF provided an opportunity to experience the online courses with amazing facilitators who brought a deep understanding of our Catholic faith to me. It was a great journey!"

- Mike Hernandez 

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