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Diocese of Venice Announces Partnership with Franciscan University of Steubenville

The Diocese of Venice has announced a partnership with Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, to offer graduate-level courses to residents of the diocese.

The partnership, between Franciscan and the diocese's Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, will offer distance-learning courses that residents can take in Florida through online and videoconferencing. Participants who qualify will be able to pursue a Masters in Evangelization and Catechesis from Franciscan, and courses also will be offered to those who do not wish to enroll as graduate students.

"Franciscan University is held in particularly high esteem throughout the country, and the partnership between the Catholic Institute and Franciscan University should be celebrated as an historic event," Bishop Frank Dewane said in a news release.

kleinleinA 20-year agreement between the diocese and Barry University in Miami expired in 2014 and the diocese began looking for another partner, said the Institute's director, Dr. Kathy Kleinlein (right).

With that agreement expiring, Dr. Kleinlein said, the diocese "began searching for an academic partner whose courses would serve diocesan needs, which include better preparing DREs (Directors of Religious Education) and Youth Directors to serve their parishes. Franciscan University in Steubenville is that ideal partner."

Dr. Kleinlein said in an interview that she was "so sorry that Ave Maria University discontinued its program," The Institute for Pastoral Theology, which provided graduate-level courses on a part-time schedule for 13 years until closing this year. "Ave Maria has wonderful theology professors and graduates," Dr. Kleinlein said, but AMU did not meet the diocese's needs for accommodation of part-time students taking classes at night.

The diocesan-Franciscan graduate program will begin in the fall of 2016, Dr. Kleinlein said, and participants will need to apply and be accepted into the Franciscan University program. Diocesan residents taking the courses through the Institute will save 30 percent on the cost and also will receive academic, administrative and technical support from profesors and staff at the institute. Pre-requisite courses will be offered by the Institute beginning in January, 2016, Dr. Kleinlein said.

For further background, click here for an article on the Diocese of Venice website, and click here for an Ave Herald article on the closing of the IPT program.

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