Yet another milestone in Vidyajyoti’s history of theological education and formation of laity, clergy and religious! The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia had invited Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi, to start an overseas regional centre for the Distance Education Programme in Theology (DEPTh), in order to cater to the increasing needs of the Church in Malaysia. Responding to this invitation, Dr. Fr. P.T. Mathew, the then director of DEPTh, meticulously worked out the procedural details with Dr. Fr. Clarence Devadoss, Director of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute of Kuala Lumpur (KL). The enthusiasm of the people of God in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur is contagious and encouraging, and the response has already been overwhelming and beyond everyone’s imagination and many more are in the waiting list. Formal inauguration of the “Distance Education Programme in Theology” was held on 4th June 2016 in Loyola Hall in St. Francis Xavier Church, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
His Grace Julian Leow Beng Kim, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, was the chief guest for the inaugural function. In his keynote address, he emphasized on the need to learn theology in order to deepen one’s faith and to take active part in building ecclesial communities. Dr. Fr. Clarence, the director of the regional centre in KL, explained the dynamics of the entire programme and highlighted that the purpose of study of theology is not merely to expand one’s knowledge but to expand one’s love of God and neighbour. He also invited the students to take seriously the ‘Dual Mode’ method of learning - contact classes and learning at home - and to work with self-discipline to reach the goal of obtaining a Diploma in Theology. Dr. Fr. Rajakumar Joseph, the Director of the Distance Education Programme in Theology (DEPTh), spoke about the evolution of theology from the life context of early Christian Communities and stressed the importance to bring theology to public sphere by involving more and more laity in learning and integrating theology in day to day life situation. Hence the distance education programme in theology becomes vital and the need of the hour.
The main purpose of the Distance Education Programme of Theology (DEPTh) is to empower the laity in their theological journey and to deepen their faith and understanding of the Scripture and Tradition. Above all else, DEPTh is a ‘life-in-God’ enrichment programme, which aims at increasing the participation of the laity in forming and building ecclesial communities.
Now the distance education in theology is available online to students both in India and overseas. It is time to expand theological education and engagement to the best extent possible and not to look back. May God bless this new venture so that many more particular Churches, in the days to come, benefit from it and thereby spread further and farther the Reign of God.
You can contact us: www.vjdepth.in
Rajakumar Joseph S.J,
Vidya Jyoti College of Theology.