Lumen Christi Institute

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Official name LUMEN CHRISTI INSTITUTE
Country / Continent Tanzania / Africa
Director of the institute P. Dr. Mathew Thazhathukunnel MSFS
Legal holder of the institute Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS)
Sponsor of the institute Missio Aachen, Drei König Aktion, Wien and Augustine Steward Fund, USA, help us to conduct progrmmes at the Institute. There is no particular sponsor for our Institute.
Year of foundation 2010
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Permanent Staff Members: 06

Visiting Professors (Priests): 04

Visiting Professors (lay people): 03

Volunteers: 04

Lay Employees: 12

Staff members of your institute Philosophy: We have 10 priests, both permanent and visiting, teaching Philosophy at the Institute. There are also other 7 lay visiting professors teaching at the Institute.

Pastoral Animation Programmes are being guided by priests, religious sisters and lay people.

Contact P.O.Box 1187,

Arusha,

TANZANIA.


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

LUMEN CHRISTI INSTITUTE

Director of the institute

P. Dr. Mathew Thazhathukunnel MSFS

Legal holder of the institute

Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS)

Missio Aachen, Drei König Aktion, Wien and Augustine Steward Fund, USA, help us to conduct progrmmes at the Institute. There is no particular sponsor for our Institute.

Vision / mission statement

"Education for Transformation and Integral Development"

Main areas of work

1. It is a centre for Philosophical studies. The Institute has seminarians who undergo philosophical studies.

2. It is a centre for pastoral animation: The Institute conducts catechetical courses (short term and long term), seminars for laity, retreats for religious and priests, seminars for priests and religious, seminars for formators and Mission oriented Kiswahili language courses.

3. Social Work: The Institute has a youth group from the neighbourhood and they are organised under the title: "Foster Life". The members of the Foster Life are engaged in campaigns against HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and other social evils. They conduct seminars in the villages, schools and parishes.

4. Medical Services: The Lumen Christi Institute has established a dispensary, after having realized the lack of basic medical facilities in Maji ya Chai and its surrounding villages, to provide medical services, to improve the quality of life and sanitation.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

1. Catechists and lay people: Most of our courses are for catechists and lay people for the faith formation. They are active in the parishes.

2. Priests and religious: The courses conducted for priests and religious focus on Pastoral life (eg. Clinical Pastoral Education), Bible (eg. Bibliolog), Psychology (Interpersonal relationships) and Formation ( eg. seminars for those who are engaged in training candidates for priesthood and religious life). Most of the participants are active at the parish level, Formation houses and a few at the diocesan level.

Year of foundation

2010 (We started the Philosophical programme in 2010, Foster Life activities in 2011, the pastoral animation programmes in 2012 and the dispensary in 2014.

Organisational structure of the institute

The Institute comes under the Superior General and Mission Superiors Africa Foram (MSAF) of the MSFS. MSFS East Africa Provincial is the delegate Superior of the Lumen Christi Institute. The Local administration is under the guidance of the Director and the permanent staff of the Institute..

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Permanent Staff Members: 06

Visiting Professors (Priests): 04

Visiting Professors (lay people): 03

Volunteers: 04

Lay Employees: 12

Staff members of your institute[2]

Philosophy: We have 10 priests, both permanent and visiting, teaching Philosophy at the Institute. There are also other 7 lay visiting professors teaching at the Institute. Pastoral Animation Programmes are being guided by priests, religious sisters and lay people.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

(enclosed)

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

- Faith Formation

- Catechesis

- Empowering the laity

- Marriage counselling

- Pastoral counselling courses

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

- Faith Formation

- Catechetical courses

- Leadership courses

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

The Lumen Christi Institute aims at making a vibrant Church in Tanzania/Africa by training the laity, religious and priests in the field of pastoral animation by offering courses for their personal growth and thus enabling them to be leaders at the grass root level. By forming these personnel, the Institute aims at deeper faith formation at the parish, small Christian community and family level.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

- Short and long catechetical courses for Catechists and small Christian community leaders who have no formal training.

- Training priests and religious in the field of pastoral counselling.

- We are offering our services at two parishes and five out-stations.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

- Leadership courses for laity

- Bibliolog seminar for priests and religious

- Pastoral Clinical Education for priests and religious

- Courses on Inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

We are living in an environment, where there are over 15 Christian denominations. In a family, we find the members belonging to different denominations. In our area, superstitious beliefs are still strong among the people. Many are confused with regards to their faith and ignorant about the basic Christian teaching. Therefore, we focus on faith formation and catechesis. The people who come here for training are Catechists or leaders of the small Christian communities. Their training enables them to deepen their faith and their fellow Christians. We also focus on liturgy, as many are not aware of the significance of our liturgical services. The courses that we offer help them to be at the service of the community.

What notion of God inspires your work?

God as Alfa and Omega ( God as the origin and ultimate end of everything inspires us)

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

All our works are based on Christian spirituality and we work towards the realization of Gospel values within ourselves and the people whom we serve.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

The Institute is the vision of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, after 25 years of missionary activities in East Africa. Through our lived experience here, through our personal contact with people of the parishes, through interviews and dialogues, we feel that there are several pastoral problems, such as lack of catechesis on faith and superstitions among our people here. It is in this context that we want strengthen the faith of our people through catechesis and pastoral animation of lay leaders, priests and religious

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

We are hopeful that through our faith formation programmes, we can deepen the faith of the people, which will strength the faith of the people as well as it will help them to stand against the superstitious beliefs and immoral acts which threaten the society.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

We are involved in offering seminars and courses for youth, catechists, laity, priests and religious.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

We do not have any publications. We make photocopies of the course notes and give to the participants. We are thinking of publishing a leaflet to strengthen the faith of the people and to fight against the superstitious beliefs in the society.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

Faith formation for laity and catechists.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

At the end of every course, we give the participants a questionnaire, which evaluates the course that we offered them. We also get feedback from the parishes from where they come.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

We started the pastoral animation programmes only in 2012. Short (one week) and long (one month). Catechetical courses are our focal point.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

Most of the catechetical courses that we conduct here are being partially sponsored by a project partner. We request from the participants a minimum amount for the course, as we want them also contribute something from their part. Even this small amount, many are unable to pay.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

One of the major challenges that we experience here is lack of infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of participants.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Our vision is to make this institute a centre for faith formation of the laity. At the same time, we are also planning to begin a one year Formators Programme for priests and religious who are engaged in training young candidates for priesthood and religious life.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

Educating the laity and empowering them is the major thrust of all our programmes.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

We participate in the meetings at the diocesan and deanery levels. It is in such meetings that I communicate our experiences with the local Church. We also meet Bishops and Superiors of various religious congregations occasionally and explain about the programmes of the Institute.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

Our Archbishop supports all our endeavours here. The local clergy also supports us. The Bishops' Conference is aware of our programmes here. Some of the priests who work at the Bishops' conference are our resource persons.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We are in touch with various diocesan authorities to conduct various programmes here.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

Missio Aachen and Drei König Aktion (Austria), ASFT, USA are our partners in our works here.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

We conduct Interreligious dialogue courses, focusing on Christian - Muslim relationship. The response is very positive as people are not very much aware of the teachings of the Church on Interreligious dialogue.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

We live in an ecumenical environment. We offer courses on ecumenism to enhance good relationship among various Christian denominations in our locality.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

We are not affiliated to any other Institute.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

We would be very happy, if you could help us to have contact with international organisations which are involved in faith formation and catechesis.


  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.