Lent on Line

A five lesson theology series is being made available free of charge on the internet. 

Lent on Line or LOL for short, is provided by NOSTRA, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies (TRS), Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick using the resources of the staff in the theology faculty.

“It is a service to the broader church, considering people may want to do a course but have other financial priorities at the moment,” course co-ordinator Fr Alan Hilliard told ciNews.  Over the first two days of enrolment, 40 people signed up including students from USA, South Africa and Korea.

Groups or individuals can watch the 15-minute lectures online and download transcripts to study.  There are links to scripture and other relevant sources and participants can share thoughts and ideas with others on the course via an online chat room.  A new lecture is posted on the NOSTRA website every week (starting on March 14) for five weeks coinciding with Lent.  Every lecture is given by a member of staff from TRS, and accompanied by study questions suitable for individuals or groups.

Fr Hilliard said that following the crisis in the church in recent times, the importance of formation has been highlighted and a good understanding of the nature of faith.  Many people depend on the Sunday Mass for formation.

“There are other ways of nourishing ones faith and I think it is the duty of people like theology faculties to make theology more accessible to people.  This is not a very highbrow course; there are five 15-minute lectures that give a good introduction.  People’s commitment to the church today is a more personal commitment than a culture and you have to support that commitment,” he said.  “There is a great treasure chest in the faith of the church which people tend to overlook, so making it accessible to people is an important task.”

Speaking at the launch of the lecture series, Professor Eamonn Conway (TRS ) said the talks are designed to help people explore challenging aspects of faith and culture in a serious and accessible way.  He acknowledged the partnership between TRS. www.churchservices.tv, and www.catholicireland.net in making the course available.

He said the project “represents exactly the kind of co-operation needed by Catholic agencies on this island if we are to have a vibrant and dynamic presence in the new media.”

He encouraged people to sign up for this unique venture. 

“When we set about planning this course we realised its value immediately.  Parish groups or any group of people who have an interest in theology can participate in this series in any location once they have broadband access.  NOSTRA is creating virtual learning communities for anyone interested in theology.” 

“The uptake on courses we offer identifies a need among people for serious engagement with theological issues.  We are responding to this need by providing this service free of charge to interested groups in Ireland and further afield.”

Lectures are posted every Monday on the web link and include: 

  • Week 1: Can God be found in human suffering?  Prof. Eamonn Conway (14/3/11)
  • Week 2: Talking to, for and about God in dark times.  Dr. Jessie Rogers (21/3/2011)
  • Week 3: Wherein lies hope?  Rd. Rik Van Nieuwenhove (28/3/2011)
  • Week 4: Can the Church govern itself?  Dr. Patrick Connolly (4/4/2011)
  • Week 5: Discerning God’s presence in all things.  Dr. Eugene Duffy (11/4/2011)

Access an extract of Professor Eamonn Conway’s lecture by clicking on http://www.nostra.ie/news/lol-lent-on-line/

To receive course instructions and enrolment key, free of charge, email mary.t.martin@mic.ul.ie
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