Adult Faith Formation agency the Centre for Faith Enrichment has last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Notre Dame enabling students to gain credits from Archdiocesan-led courses.
The Pathway Program will enable students to gain credits towards formal recognition of Theological studies, with UNDA Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell signing the MOU prior to last week’s event.
Held on Thursday 28 February, at the UNDA Fremantle campus, the event included Archdiocesan Episcopal Vicar for Adult Faith Formation and Education Fr Vincent Glynn signing the MOU on behalf of the Archdiocese of Perth.
Present for the occasion were UNDA Faculty of Education, Philosophy and Theology Executive Dean Caroline Mansfield, UNDA Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, Dr Lawrence Pang, and Centre for Faith Enrichment Director, Dr Marco Ceccarelli.
Courses offered for the Pathway Program include ‘Rediscovering the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist’ presented by Fr Glynn and Archdiocese Director of Office of Christian Initiation Dr Carmel Suart, ‘Discovering Catholic Values: An Introduction to the Basics of our Faith’ presented by Mrs Laura Firth and Understanding the Old Testament: An Ancient Text for Modern Times’ presented by Dr Peter Christofides.
In his opening remarks for occasion, Dr Pang said the pathway program sprung from a desire to give opportunities for Catholics and Christians to deepen and enrich knowledge of their faith.
“The church is constantly being pushed to the wayside in a very complex and ambiguous world. And I think we have some contribution to make to the church through this pathway,” Dr Pang said.
“I’m delighted that now this seed is planted, it is beginning to break through the surface of the ground, seeing the light of day and it’s just the beginning.
“We hope we can do more – We’ll need your help and help the community to make this something that will bear fruit for the community,” he added.
Dr Ceccarelli remarked that the program offers those with a desire to deepen their study of Theology, the opportunity to take those extra steps towards tertiary studies and work towards a certificate or diploma.
“Students undertaking specified courses from the CFE, at the approved standard of teaching and learning, may obtain advanced standing or credit for these courses in the Undergraduate Certificate in Theology or a Diploma of Theology,” he explained.
“At present, I am glad to say that we have students enrolled in courses focusing on Christology, Basic Catholic Values and Sacraments of Initiation. The courses are hosted at our headquarters in Doubleview, but we have also had a very positive response from the Parishes of our Archdiocese that have offered their halls as venues for the courses.”
Dr Ceccarelli added that the program is designed to enrich the life of the CFE, of the university, of the archdiocese and the broader community. He pointed to the often-unknown agencies within our Catholic Church which do so much work for the community, from healthcare, aged care, chaplaincy, prison ministry, disability to pastoral counselling and mission integration.
“These agencies could benefit immensely from having a Pathway graduate in their ranks. Then of course we have education and teaching, journalism, research institutes and any agency that requires someone with skills in critical thinking, evaluation of arguments, teaching, problem solving and clear and creative writing.
“The world needs critical thinkers….in this case critical thinkers informed by the richness of a Judaeo-Christian tradition that values knowledge, wisdom, truth, justice, faith, the dignity of the human person, the call to family, community and participation, and the common good.”
After signing the MOU, Fr Glynn commended the people who worked hard to strengthen the good relationship between the Archdiocese through CFE and UNDA and continue to collaborate through faith and education.
“We need to always remind ourselves that UNDA grew out of the desire by Bishop Foley and a few laymen to seek Catholic Education at a tertiary level as a part of West Australia. And, of course, a lot of funds from the Archdiocese were put into this place when it first began,” Fr Glynn said.
“I see this pathway’s link, as kind of continuing that journey that began at the very beginning, and hopefully reminding us of an important link between the Archdiocese for CFE, and education here at a Catholic University of Notre Dame.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Prof Mansfield acknowledged the critical role UNDA plays in supporting faith in the Archdiocesan community and contributing to the faith formation of their graduates.
“This particular partnership will fulfill some of our goals as a faculty. Firstly, for us to be able to contribute to the common good of community and society and second, to form graduates whose excellence in their chosen calling serves the community,” she said.
“Certainly, when students from CFE come to us, we will be doing just that.”