The Institute was founded in 1992, in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Undermining the family and destroying the Faith, the governments of the East built an atheist culture based on despair and mutual distrust. They shuttered churches and closed seminaries; imprisoned, tortured, and executed priests and religious; and made it all but impossible for the lay faithful to express and live their faith in the world. They also made it all but impossible for the Church to help, closing borders and blocking communication between Catholics in the West and Catholics in the East.
That began to change after the Berlin wall came tumbling down in 1989. Despite the Communist’s best efforts, pockets of the faithful remained. They were eager to begin the process of rebuilding. They just needed help.
Three years later, the Language and Catechetical Institute (LCI) was founded to provide that help, supplying Catholics from the East, who were eager to serve the Church in their native lands, with a foundational knowledge of both Church teaching and the English language, as well as spiritual formation.
In the years since, LCI has expanded its reach, welcoming students from countries currently living under atheist rule and from countries where the Faith has never been widely preached. These countries include China, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Cameroon.
- 1989 The Berlin Wall collapses
- 1991 Franciscan University of Steubenville launches its study abroad program in Gaming, Austria.
- 1992 The Language and Catechetical Institute is founded in Gaming, Austria by Franciscan University and welcomes its first students from Czechoslovakia.
- 1993 LCI expands its program, accepting 40 students from Albania, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and 12 other countries
- 2003 LCI is established as an independent institute, separate from Franciscan University.
- 2006 LCI welcomes its first students from China.
- 2007 The Byzantine Chapel for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Kartause is completed and consecrated.
- 2012 LCI celebrates its 20th anniversary. More than 100 alumni and supporters of the program are in attendance.
- 2016 The Sts. Cyril and Methodius Center for Evangelization is founded by LCI as a mission outreach program
Twelve Rivers Foundation began in 2001 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting evangelization initiatives, primarily those of LCI graduates working in their home countries. It was founded in honor of Fr. Sam Tiesi, TOR, the first chaplain of the Gaming Program. It was Fr. Sam’s vision to have chapels on “twelve rivers” in Eastern Europe, just as he had had as a missionary working in the Amazon; hence the name, Twelve Rivers Foundation, reflecting the idea of a greater reach of LCI’s work. In 2003, this already established nonprofit became the main fundraising arm of LCI. It is located in the State of New Hampshire, with an office in Steubenville, OH, and is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LCI Co-director | Gaming, Austria
LCI Co-director | Gaming, Austria
Mrs. Chari Hust
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher | Houston, TX
Papal Foundation | Lauderdale-Sea, FL
Rev. Juraj Terek
Chaplain, International Theological Institute | Trumau, Austria
Chief of Staff, Rep. Mia Love | Washington, DC
President, Verita Bella Consulting | Steubenville, OH
President, National Lawyers Association | Kansas City, MO
Joseph Dougherty, MD
Silver Spring, MD
Jennifer has been with the LCI since its founding in 1992, first as a volunteer, and then as a full-time teacher and administrator. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she also holds a Master’s degree in art history and is an adjunct professor for Franciscan University. She is responsible for program operations and development.
Bobette Huzovic is a mother of five, catechist, and English teacher. She began her career with LCI as a volunteer in 1992. She spent a year teaching in Slovakia, where she met her husband, Maroš. She is a graduate of N.E.T. Ministries and Franciscan University, where she earned a degree in communications. She is working toward a Master’s degree in pastoral theology at the Maryvale Institute in England. She is responsible for course curriculum and student life.
THEOLOGY TEACHER & FORMATION DIRECTOR
Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh
Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh is a Byzantine Catholic priest of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo (Ukraine). He studied philosophy and theology in Ukraine, Austria, Oxford (England) and Krakow (Poland) where he completed his doctorate in 2010. From 2005-2015 he taught theology at the International Theological Institute (ITI) in Gaming/Trumau, (Austria) where, from 2010-2015, he was Dozent for Patrology and Eastern Christian Studies and Director of the Centre of Eastern Christian Studies. His research and teaching interests are patristic theology and anthropology, Christian marriage and family, and ascetical and mystical theology in the Christian East. Since 2015 Fr. Veresh has served as Academic and Spiritual Director of the mission outreach program at LCI. He is also a Visiting Lecturer in Eastern Christian Studies at the Theology and Philosophy Faculty of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, (Ukraine).
U.S. MISSION OFFICE
Michelle Asci has volunteered for LCI in several capacities for well over ten years. She now manages LCI’s USA office in Steubenville, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and six children.