by Fr WILLIAM BURRIDGE, WF
The academic year at the Missionary Institute of London has ended with the conferring on six students of the degreC of Bachelor of Theology of the University of Louvain.
Two years ago the institute was granted affiliation with Louvain University, and Professor Charles Brekelmans recently came over to London to preside at the examination board before which the first students presented for the degree defended 'their theses._
The institute, which came into existence in 1968, is a joint undertaking of the seven principal missionary congregations and societies in England and Wales — Consolata, Divine Word, Holy Ghost, Mill Hill, Society for African Missions, Verona and White Fathers and is planned as a missionary academy for their own and other students.
The curriculum offers a range of missionary-orientated subjects over and above the normal studies for the priesthood, such as linguistics, anthropology, non-Christian religions and the contemporary Third World.
The lecture rooms and library. facilities arc provided by the Mill Hill Fathers at St Joseph's College and the White Fathers at St Edward's College, Totteridge Common, North
Although the other participant missionary, bodies have their own residences in the neighbourhood, their students attend the common lectures at !hese colleges as well as tutorials and other academic, liturgical and social functions. Their practical pastoral work is also assessed by the institute.
The academic staff is recruited from the missionary bodies themselves and from other priests, secular and regular, and laymen. The curriculum is organised in a way which makes some or the courses available to nonmissionary students and nuns and lay missionaries as well as missionary priests and brothers who wish to take refresher courses after sonic years in the mission field.
Students from 18 orders ant congregations, and some preparing for the secular priesthood in dioceses, have .availed themselves of the facilities of the institute and the Volunteer Missionary Movement for lay missionaries regularly holds its initiation courses there.
Besides providing the training for almost all the future missionary priests of England and Wales and Scotland, the institute also has students from six European countries, and from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Mexico. Mozambique and Ethiopia.
Professor Brekelmans, in his official report, declared himself' fully satisfied with the academic standards and facilities of the institute and gladly inaugurated the effective affiliation with Louvain by awarding the Bachelor of Theology degree to the first six candidates — one student each from the Consolata Fathers, the Verona Fathers and the Holy Ghost Fathers, and three students from the White Fathers.
The project for the creation of the institute, the only one of its kind, was ratified by the
Vatican's •Missionary Department. It enjoys the approval and patronage of hierarchy of England and Wales and is an outstanding initiative in this country's concern for the Church's missionary responsibilities in the modern world.