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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

O Canada!

More than 2,000 adult students from Canada have spent the better part of the past decade learning from the University of Dayton's Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.

Four Canadian students shared their stories regarding their continuing education online with the VLCFF and its global participants. The students tell us it's a blessing, especially since many did not know the VLCFF existed.

“It’s a blessing I found out about the VLCFF on the Archdiocese of Toronto website,” Edith Vasquez said.  “I have used the gift of time wisely instead of wasting it on worldly social media. Not only have I gained more knowledge, but the VLCFF has deepened my faith and I am fired up to evangelize.”

Dilcie Ferrera, from the Diocese of Hamilton, says she's learned so much from the courses, and it's given her a broader perspective of the Catholic Church.

“I must admit, I didn’t know a thing about the VLCFF,”  Ferrera said. “I would’ve never imagined connecting with people from the United States and all over the world about my faith. We all have different faith journeys."

A fellow participant in the Diocese of Hamilton, Donna McGreal assisted with an Indigenous awareness program called 'To Inform, Encourage and Heal: A Canadian Response in Light of the Residential School Crisis.' Her work came out of a class with the VLCFF. 

“I have been faithfully trying to be an ally for Indigenous peoples in Canada since they have suffered so greatly as a result of colonization,” McGreal said. “The truth and reconciliation journey together with Catholics and Indigenous peoples in Canada will be a long road, but many of us are determined to walk together with them as Pope Francis has asked us to do."

According to Christina Mines, Director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Hamilton, these success stories through its VLCFF partnership offer effective and robust adult faith formation and development for ministry.

“These opportunities allow us to target the learning to meet the needs of our cohorts and invite in experts in ministry from a Canadian perspective of Church,” Mines said. “These formation experiences provide meaning and value for the lived experience of the minister out in the field, but also foster friendships and collaborate support amongst peers in ministry.”

In the Archdiocese of Toronto, the online platform and adult learning method provided by the VLCFF has led to the to creation of the Archdiocesan Catechist Formation Program, which uses VLCFF closed-section courses (only participants from Archdiocese of Toronto), plus seminars and live discussions targeted to their unique situations.

“Our partnership with the VLCFF has opened spaces for learning and faith formation and allows for flexibility and a willingness to adapt in order to create programs that meet our specific needs,” said Constance Price, M.Div., Ph.D., Associate Director of Catechesis for the Archdiocese. 

“A few years ago we sponsored three people for completion of the Certificate in Special Needs. Their training and networking in turn laid the groundwork for the beginning of disabilities ministry here.”

For Tamika Royes, the ease of use of the VLCFF online platform has made it possible to communicate with members of her Toronto catechist formation cohort, grow in faith and prepare for the future.

“I would like to share what I have learned with others in my parish through study groups, presentations or participation in adult faith formation programs,” Royes said.

“Evangelize, evangelize, evangelize!”

The VLCFF online program offers a wide variety of possibilities for global archdioceses/dioceses. Contact a VLCFF staff member for more information. VLCFF online is year-round, with three-and five-week courses in English, Spanish and Arabic. For 2023, see the schedule and list of courses.

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