Male and female religious attend their biannual meeting on Feb. 27 in Hanoi. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
The archdiocese in Vietnam’s capital plans to offer courses on theology as an effort to develop local religious and Catholics holistically in their ministry work and evangelization mission.
Some 300 male and female religious attended their first biannual meeting at St. Mary Convent run by Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres in Hanoi on Feb. 27.
They were briefed on the coming courses in theology to be held by the new Martyr Peter Le Tuy Institute of Theology established by Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi.
The institute based in the Archbishop’s House aims to offer whole human development for religious and laity in their ministry life and missionary activities so that “all people, depending on their positions and duties, can cooperate in building Jesus’ body.”
The three-year courses include 130 credits with 54 subjects and seminars on philosophy, the Scriptures, church history, dogma, liturgy, ministries, morality, consecrated life and holy music. They aim at helping students grow up in their private and spiritual life according to the Good News, develop theological thoughts, and make pastoral and missionary initiatives suitable for the local Church’s conditions.
The institute, managed by Archbishop Thien, three priests and one sister, enrolls students from and outside Hanoi and starts its first full-time courses on Sept. 6. Students will pay a fee of 3 million dong (US$130) each per year and will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in theology and ministry.
A Lovers of the Holy Cross sister who attended the meeting said the new institute will create opportunities for local religious to further theological subjects since local congregations lack facilities and teaching staff. Some have to send their members to study in southern dioceses.
The nun, who asked not to be named, told UCA News that her 350-year-old congregation set up an institute for its members five years ago and invited priests to teach. Young nuns take two-year courses in theology and ministries.
The nun, an expert in spirituality, said that this year her congregation plans to send 20 nuns who will take their first vows in August to the archdiocese’s new institute, which can gather experts in church subjects.
According to church records, Hanoi Archdiocese is home to 31 orders and institutes with some 750 members. Only three congregations have their mother houses in the archdiocese.