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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Finding Faith

By Andrew Hadcock, M.A.

I must admit, I did not know the University of Dayton existed until I enrolled in classes through the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.

This was my first online learning experience. My first classes were limited to only specific courses, and all of my classmates were fellow diaconate candidates from New Mexico. We gathered remotely and shared thoughts on what we were learning. I enjoyed the convenience of asynchronous classes and was able to complete assignments at any hour.  

But my excitement for VLCFF online classes increased exponentially when I found a wide array of topics that I could choose on my own. I've learned how the Church can improve ministry to people with disabilities, the needs of the elderly, how the sacraments are available to people who are on the Autism spectrum and, most importantly, what other people are doing in their own parishes around the world from New Orleans to Tonga. That is what is amazing to me. 

I have learned so many new ways other people are overcoming challenges for our faithful. It is refreshing to have different cultures and ways of life and witness living examples of how to share the faith in ways I never imagined. There is a positive attitude in the people I’ve interacted with that encourages finding solutions for situations that once seemed hopeless or futile.

I’ve been completing VLCFF classes since 2017 and will continue to take more courses and learn as much as possible because there are so many ways we can be Christian in our actions with others. Every Catholic needs to know about the vast knowledge and friendships that await through the University of Dayton's VLCFF.

The VLCFF online is year-round, with three-and five-week courses in English, Spanish and Arabic, plus certificate programs, diaconate courses and more. For 2023, see the schedule and list of courses.   

Andrew Hadcock is currently a real estate broker in New Mexico and will will become a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on June 3. He says he has no intention of retiring once ordained.

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