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Institute for Ministry to offer courses in Africa

Loyola press release - May 26, 2009

Loyola Institute for Ministry in the College of Social Sciences has received a $35,000 grant from the Koch Foundation to offer its certificate in pastoral studies to students in Benin City, Nigeria, during the 2009-2010 academic year. The foundation funds efforts to spread the Catholic faith.

LIM plans to bring its successful distance-learning model of catechetical leadership formation to Nigeria, which has one of the fastest growing Catholic populations in Africa. While the Nigerian church is thriving in numbers and vibrancy, it faces the challenge of offering programs in religious education to keep pace with its growth.

Faculty will consult with Nigerian theologians and church leaders to create a program and learning materials that are adapted and appropriate to the Nigerian culture and context. The grant also provides funds to purchase an up-to-date theological library to give students access to the best in African and international theological, pastoral and catechetical resources.

While the Archdiocese of Benin City is the local sponsoring agency for the project, Cecilia Dimaku, a Sister of the Sacred Heart from Benin City and a graduate of LIM’s on-campus Master of Pastoral Studies Program, encouraged and helped LIM apply for the grant.

LIM Director Tom Ryan, Ph.D., is excited about this opportunity.

“LIM currently offers its programs in Belize, Scotland and England. This grant allows LIM and Loyola to extend their international presence, to teach students in new contexts and to learn from those students and contexts,” Ryan said.

CSS Dean Luis Mirón, Ph.D., agrees.

“Innovation and internationalization are priorities for the university and the College of Social Sciences, so I am very pleased with the LIM grant for work in Nigeria and the prospects it holds for the future,” Mirón said.