Program encourages faith formation amongst Latinos


first_imgThe Institute for Church Life (ICL) at the University of Notre Dame has launched Camino, an online faith formation program for Latino Catholics.Camino Program Director Esther Terry has developed Camino from its early stages, she said.“The program has been in the works for a long time and the pilot phase started in 2012,” Terry said. “The pilot phase started with just one course that was adapted from a course that we have in English.”According to its website, Camino is an online program of Catholic theology courses designed by University professors and leaders in Latino ministry. A facilitator, who must have a master’s degree in theology, instructs the course, which can last anywhere from four to seven weeks.Camino stems from Notre Dame’s Satellite Theological Education Program (STEP), a program developed in the early 1990s that aimed to provide high quality theology courses at affordable prices.“For a long time people had been taking these courses in English, and they had been receiving requests for courses in Spanish,” Terry said.On Camino’s website, Notre Dame professor of theology Fr. Virgil Alizondo said Camino is “a great way to use media and technology to give learning opportunities beyond the University.”The STEP program worked in collaboration with the SouthEast Pastoral Institute in Miami (SEPI) to develop Camino. Various dioceses are also involved with advertising the program to potential participants.“The people that take our courses are typically catechists, readers [and] serve in the music ministry,” Terry said. “[They] usually have some position in their parish and they want to have ongoing faith formation.”Terry said the program prides itself in the flexibility and accessibility of its courses. She said many of Camino’s participants live in rural areas or other places where learning resources in their native language are limited.“I think the flexibility of hours for taking an online course and the quality of what we are able to deliver in places where it would be very difficult for them to have this formation experience makes [this program] very important,” Terry said.Terry said she enjoys contributing to Camino.“It’s been so exciting to see people engage Scripture and engage the Catechism and see the sense of wonder and excitement that they have and how dignified they feel to be taking an online course with Notre Dame,” Terry said.Terry said her hope for Camino and other theological programs like it is that the intellectual resources at Notre Dame and other partners and affiliates are made available to an even more diverse group of people.“We want to share those resources with people in the pews, your average Catholics, and help them to see the beauty and the joy of our Catholic faith so that they can share that with others,” Terry said.Tags: Camino, Hispanic Catholics, ICL, Institute for Church Life, SEPI, SouthEast Pastoral Institute in Miami, STEPlast_img read more

2017/2018 Budget to Be Passed Today at US$562m


first_img(Far left) Chairman of the Joint Ways, Means, Finance & Budget Committee, Rep. Prince MoyeToday, the 53rd Legislature, the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, is expected to past their sixth (6th) and final annual national budget – the 2017/2018 – at US$562m.The Budget will be concomitantly approved in their separate and respective Chamber with health and security reportedly taking the lion share, according to the Joint Ways, Means, Finance & Budget Chairman, Rep. Prince Moye.According to the Bong County District # 2 and Unity Party (UP) Representative, health will be taking US$60 million of the total budget.In keeping with the Constitution of Liberia, the Executive branch of government has submitted to the Legislature the fiscal year draft budget 2017/2018 in the tune of US$ 526.6 million,  a 12.3 % reduction from the previous year’s budget which was passed at US$ 600.2 million but reflected a 3.5% decrease on the end of year forecast of US$545.5 million.The budget was presented two weeks behind schedule with a total revenue envelope comprising US$483.7 million in revenue raised from domestic sources (tax and non-tax revenue).In the budget presented to the Legislature, tax revenue of US$393.6 Million is decreased by 8.8 percent from the approved amount for an FY2016/17 budget with non-tax revenue of US$90.2 million with US$37.9 million in grants from external sources and US$4.8 million in contingent revenue from domestic resources.The budget also shows that non-tax revenue of US$90.2 is projected to decrease by 8.2 percent compared to the US$98.3 million that was approved in the FY-2016/2017 budget.According to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) this is an improvement to the current year-end estimate and is driven by anticipated increase in petroleum storage fees, forestry, mineral mining, cellular mobile networks, as well as expected improvements in state-owned entities (SOEs) like Liberia Petroleum Refining company, National Port Authority and others.The Ministry also told lawmakers during the draft budget presentation Monday that contingent Revenue of US$4.8 million will be sourced from government domestic revenue streams, driven by an increment in international trade and forestry.In the draft budget presented, the expenditure portfolio was constrained to US$526.5 million and consists of two major segments; recurrent investment plan (PSIP) of US$27.5 million of 5.2 percent.The major components of expenditure for FY2017/18 include; US$31 million for liabilities (debt services), US$10 Million for payment of domestic liabilities (debt) principal and interests and US20.2 million for the payment of foreign liabilities, principal, and interest.Also in the draft budget, US$19.8 million was allotted for the conduct of the October 2017 Presidential and legislative elections, US$296 million for compensation of employees, US$81.1 million for goods and services including supplies for education and health.The draft budget also has in it US$3.4 million in subsidies to non-governmental Service delivery entities and US$60.3 million in grants to government service delivery entities.Making a presentation of the Budget Monday, acting Finance Minister Tanneh Brunson said the economy of Liberia, like most in the world, is experiencing some turbulence due in large part to the global economic downturn.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more