Extended reflection on the Christian tradition
THE KIMMAGE Mission Institute is the theology school of several Irish missionary societies and one of the most unlikely international campuses in Dublin.
According to Father Con Casey, who oversees many of its courses, the institute is designed for a variety of students: those who are seeking a comprehensive theological education or preparing for a pastoral ministry; people who wish to deepen their faith or be updated in modern spirituality and theology and learners looking for an interesting sabbatical break.
"Our BA in theology is a three-year course that involves an extended reflection on Christian tradition, life and ministry in today's world. It's all about studying other cultures and faiths while seeking to relate Christianity to them," he says.
There are 55 students - a third of whom are from developing countries - on this BA course. They have approximately 12 hours of lectures a week, prepare four major essays every year and sit exams in six subjects.
"It is widely-accepted that some of the most interesting theological thinking and Christian practice in recent years have come from missionaries in dialogue with other cultures and liberation movements.
"Our classes are full of people from different countries and backgrounds. This exposes students to issues from many different perspectives and makes our lectures very lively affairs."
Students study subjects including Scripture, issues of morality, systematic theology, the history of the church, anthropology and world religions (Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and other belief systems).
"Systematic theology is where students reflect on the major areas of the Christian faith - such as the Trinity, liturgy and sacraments - and how they are put into pastoral practice," Casey explains. "Students also study anthropology with particular reference to the developing world."
This BA in theology. in its fifth year of operation is accredited by the NCEA. It may also be taken part-time over a longer period than three years.