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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

All about Mary, online

“How well do you know Mary?”

A new series of online classes created by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives is available in 2023 through the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (

The Marian Studies Certificate Program includes five courses, each running five weeks, and is intended to give participants a greater appreciation of Mary and her role in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church.

“As a Catholic, Marianist University, our VLCFF online program must deepen appreciation, understanding and devotion to Mary,” Director of the Institute (IPI) Sister Angela Ann Zukowski said. “This certificate program has created solid theological, spiritual and pastoral e-courses, and supports our desire to animate a Marian Studies program for the 21st century.”

Through discussions with graduates and priests from the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) at the university, the first level of courses consist of five required courses that would provide students with a foundation in Mariology.

The e-courses (click for course descriptions) available in the program include:

  • Part 1: Who is Mary of Nazareth and Why should We Care?
  • Part 2: Scripture, the Soul of Mariology
  • Part 3: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Part 4: Mary in the Liturgical Life of the Church
  • Part 5: Mary and Spirituality; a Journey of Holiness

“Mary plays a significant role in our salvation history, and, with her 'fiat', she fully participated in the incarnation of Christ, our Savior,” said Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey, Ph.D., CPO, the curriculum designer and coordinator of adult catechesis for the institute.

“It behooves us (IPI) to assist the faithful in getting to know Mary as Mother of God and our mother.”

Asynchronous VLCFF classes allow students to learn on their schedule. To register for a course, simply create a profile (provide basic information, including your diocese and username/password). Once a profile is created, a participant can log in and register for a course. Alumni can choose the University of Dayton Alumni association option.

To register for the Marian Studies certificate program, email Sister Angela Ann Zukowski.

Be sure to check out all the available VLCFF Online courses.

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