A Whisper That Changed the World: The Annunciation of the Lord

The Annunciation of the Lord, usually celebrated on March 25th (April 8th in 2024), marks a pivotal moment in history. In a simple Nazareth home, the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, a young woman chosen for an extraordinary task: becoming the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mary's response, "Fiat," meaning "let it be done," embodies both humility and courage. She accepts this life-altering mission with faith, trusting in God's plan. This quiet "yes" set in motion a chain of events that would forever change humanity.

The Annunciation is a celebration of hope and new beginnings. It reminds us that God works in unexpected ways, often through ordinary people like Mary. Her unwavering faith serves as an inspiration for us all, encouraging us to be open to God's will and the transformative power of saying "yes" to his plans for our lives.

Blessed Chaminade: A Life Devoted to Education and Mary

April 8th marked the 263rd birthday of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a French priest who lived through a tumultuous time. During the French Revolution, Chaminade risked his life to continue practicing his faith. This experience fueled his vision for a renewed Church.

Inspired by the Virgin Mary, Chaminade founded the Marianists, a religious order dedicated to education and spreading the Gospel. The Marianists believed in the power of education to transform lives and communities. As Marianists, this focus on both religious and academic instruction is what continues to inspire the University of Dayton and the VLCFF today.

Blessed Chaminade's legacy lives on in Marianist schools and universities around the world. His birthday is a chance to reflect on the importance of education and the enduring role faith can play in our lives.

The Importance of Inclusion: Special Needs Certificate Program

At some point in our lives, special needs touch all of us. Whether it's a family member, a friend, or even ourselves, the importance of recognizing special needs cannot be overstated. Are you passionate about including individuals with special needs in your faith community? We offer a Special Needs Certificate Program designed to equip you for this rewarding ministry.

This program is ideal for catechists, teachers, and ministers who work in parishes, schools, or dioceses. Whether you're new to special needs ministry or looking to enhance your skills, the VLCFF program provides a flexible and enriching learning experience.

The program is divided into two levels. Level One covers foundational topics like disabilities across the lifespan and creating inclusive learning environments. Level Two delves deeper into specific needs, exploring strategies for teaching individuals with autism, ADHD, or chronic illness.

Taught by experienced instructors, the VLCFF program allows you to participate from anywhere in the world. The program not only educates but also fosters a compassionate community that upholds the dignity and potential of every individual, reflecting the inclusive heart of the Catholic faith.

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We Are a Global Catholic Community

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) is a vibrant global Catholic community that transcends geographical boundaries to bring together believers in faith and education. Operated by the University of Dayton, the VLCFF offers a wide array of online courses that delve into Catholic doctrine and promote religious education across the world. Whether you're in the United States, Latin America, Europe, or any other part of the globe, the VLCFF brings the classroom to You, in English, Spanish, and Arabic!

What truly sets the VLCFF apart is its commitment to accessibility and community building. Courses are asynchronous yet instructor-led, providing flexibility while maintaining a personal touch. Each class is limited to 15 participants, ensuring that every student receives individual attention and can forge meaningful connections with fellow learners. By participating in the VLCFF, members not only deepen their faith but also join a global network of like-minded individuals, all united in their spiritual journey and educational pursuits.

Trinity TV Collaboration

Trinity TV, a Catholic cable TV station broadcasting from Trinidad & Tobago, has launched an inspiring new program called Leap of Faith. Leap of Faith is the brainchild of Trinity TV station manager Lisa Bhajan. Her goal was to create a panel discussion program tackling issues affecting the modern Catholic Church.

To bring this idea to life, Lisa reached out to the IPI/VLCFF due to her over 20 year association with us. The VLCFF's Sister Angela Ann Zukowski enthusiastically supported developing the concept into a show. A regular episode of the half- hour show is called Ethos, and features well-informed guests from the University of Dayton and the IPI/VLCFF community. Feedback has been tremendously positive and we know you will enjoy the program. Individual episodes will be showcased here on our website, so check back often!

Leap of Faith, Ethos

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Growing as catechists and community online and offline


Our Mission

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) is a growing initiative to offer adult religious education and faith formation anytime and anywhere via the internet. The goal is to support the church's professional ministry of religious education and faith formation in cyberspace.

The VLCFF is coordinated and sponsored by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives (IPI) at the University of Dayton - a Catholic Marianist Institution.

From Eric F. Spina, University of Dayton President:
"The Institute for Pastoral Initiatives is a pioneer in the e-learning field, delivering 24-7 remote classes to dioceses worldwide long before the pandemic prompted schools to go online and offer hybrid learning. With a successful model already in place, the VLCFF is poised to reach [even] more people with faith formation classes."

A Brief History of the VLCFF

Explore Our Program


Getting Started

Certificate Programs

Institute for Pastoral Initiatives

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"I have completed many courses through University of Dayton VLCFF online. I keep thinking I am through but the classes you offer are so interesting and beneficial for my job and in my personal faith growth that I continue taking classes!"

Sybil, Virginia
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"I am eternally grateful to University of Dayton for treating me not as just a student, but as family. This was my first experience with online classes and I found myself struggling during a particular course since I was juggling studies, work, family and other activities. I felt swamped. I quickly fell behind and just as I was contemplating if I should quit, my facilitator taught me how to balance my assignments."

"So, every session has been awesome! Your facilitators take the time to give feedback on a personal level as well as reach out when assistance is needed."

Terrence, Trinidad & Tobago

University of Dayton Religious Studies

University of Dayton, St Mary's Hall

Did you know The University of Dayton offers undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in Religious Studies?

As a Catholic Marianist university, the mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to discover, explore, and analyze religious experience in its various manifestations emphasizing the Roman Catholic tradition, in dialogue with the other Christian traditions and with the world religions.

For more information visit the Religious Studies website.

Make a difference!
Support the VLCFF.

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation is a non-profit organization at the University of Dayton. Your tax deductible gift can help further our mission of religious education and faith formation.

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Sister Angela's Corner