In the morning of October 21, 2017, at the Bishop’s House of Xuan Loc Diocese, the Catholic Institute of Viet Nam (CIV) held the first meeting of the new academic year 2017-2018 for its administrators, faculty, and staff. It was a good opportunity for all members of CIV to know one another and to discuss future plans for the Institute. The participants included the Most Rev. Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, Bishop of Xuan Loc Diocese, the President of the Education Commission, the Rector of CIV; Bishop Joseph’s Councilors: Rev. Anthony Nguyen Cao Sieu, SJ; Rev. Joseph Ta Huy Hoang, Sai Gon Archdiocese; Rev. Joseph Ngo Ngoc Khanh, OFM; Rev. Vicent Nguyen Cao Dung, SCJ; and 23 members of departments and offices of CIV: Faculty, Companion Team, Secretariat, Library, and Financial Department.

Fr. Joseph Ngo Ngoc Khanh opened the meeting with a prayer asking God’s blessing for CIV. Next, Fr. Vinh Son Nguyen Cao Dung, the Head of Secretariat, introduced all of the participants. After the introduction, Bishop Joseph welcomed the participants and expressed his appreciation to all members of the faculty, departments and offices of CIV, as the pioneers who have contributed to the CIV. The Bishop presented the advantages and disadvantages in forming the Institute at the beginning. He emphasized that the basic difference between CIV and other institutes (seminaries and religious institutes), is the purpose of training. CIV aims to educate candidates capable of thinking, research and teaching Theology for the Catholic Church in Viet Nam.

After Bishop Joseph’s statement, Fr. Anthony Nguyen Cao Sieu, the Head of the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) Program, presented his thoughts about “The Quest for distinctions for CIV.” The speech mentioned the diversity of the faculty in which professors come from a variety of educational environments of different countries and spiritualities. In addition, Fr. Anthony pointed out the active learning method at CIV that improves skills of critical thinking and research as well as skills of presenting theological thoughts scientifically and clearly. Language is one of the most significant factors that helps students not only obtain knowledge but also present their thoughts. The Institute focuses on strengthening Vietnamese skills as well as improving reading comprehension skills in English for students. Moreover, the Institute is interested in cultural values and particular religions in Viet Nam in order to build a theology appropriate to Vietnamese.

Fr. Joseph Ta Huy Hoang, the Head of Language Department, presented “English and Languages in the Educational Plan at CIV.” The speech described the concern to improve reading and writing skills in English for students, as well as informed about the specific details of English Program at CIV in the academic year 2017 - 2018.

After these speeches, participants contributed their ideas sincerelly to the Administrative Team about admission, program, study method, assistant tools (library and technology) and policies of CIV. All comments were welcomed by the Rector and his Administrative Team. These ideas will be considered to do in the future.

Finally, Bishop Joseph talked about the difficulties in the admission process. The priority of CIV is to educate potential candidates to be capable of researching and teaching theology for the Church in Viet Nam. Therefore, CIV needs professors to have not only solid expertise but also a good heart to lift potential students to be good future researchers for the Catholic Church.

After the meetings, all of the participants had lunch with Bishop Joseph and Bishop John Do Van Ngan, Auxilary Bishop of Xuan Loc Diocese.

As we know, on September 14, 2015, the Congregation for Catholic Education approved the establishment of the CIV in order to satisfy the learning needs and the desire for more cultivated knowledge of theology and pastoral care of the people of God in Viet Nam. In the academic year 2017-2018, there are 68 students in the three programs: STB Program (40 students), STL Program (18 students) and One-Year Preparatory Program for STL Program (10 students). All activities of CIV take place at the Pastoral Center of Saigon Archdiocese, 6 Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.

Sister Bình Minh