Catholic Faith and English Language
Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, for the past 25 years, LCI has welcomed Catholic students from the East to Gaming, Austria. There, living and studying alongside American students from Franciscan University, they are immersed in the study of the Catholic Faith and the English language, as well as Catholic life and culture.
Over the course of two semesters, LCI prepares students by providing:
- Practical English-language training
- Basic theology and catechesis
- Formation in the spiritual life through prayer, Scripture study, Adoration, and other devotions
- Bridge-building opportunities between the cultures and spiritualities of the East and the West through shared experience of Christian community life and the celebration of both the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Liturgy
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The primary course material for LCI students is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Class size is always small, so the professors are able to tailor the course to the level of language and theological background of the students. Students can also choose other theology classes offered on campus, such as Scripture, Christian marriage, and Catholic moral principles.
In addition to their coursework, students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for daily Mass or Divine Liturgy and Eucharistic Adoration, as well as organized times for prayer and reflection on Scripture, the lives of the saints, or the liturgical season.
Everyday activities as well as weekend socializing and travel are organized so that the students can naturally integrate their faith into every aspect of their lives. Christ is at the center of all events and activities, forming the students and bringing them joy.
Total Immersion Experience
The English language program at LCI is not merely a course. It is a total immersion experience in which the students are plunged into an English-only environment. Students take five hours of class in English every day, where they quickly learn how to communicate in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Specialized classes in writing for academic and business purposes, public speaking, and drama are offered as well.
The skills students learn in class are reinforced and expanded throughout the day, as they are surrounded by native speakers in the cafeteria, in the residence hall, and in virtually every area of campus life. The more advanced students can take other classes with the American students on campus, and thus extend their knowledge of the language in specific fields related to their future work, such as theology, psychology, or business.
To recruit students, LCI works directly with the Bishops’ Offices in Eastern Europe and beyond. Based on the needs of the dioceses, bishops will recommend and request scholarships for candidates to attend LCI for various reasons. There are three basic student profiles:
- A priest, seminarian or religious sister who needs English training to work effectively in the diocese
- A young Catholic who shows leadership potential and a desire to work for the New Evangelization
- A young Catholic, perhaps newly baptized, from a post-communist, atheist culture who has never had the opportunity to learn about the Faith.
Lera from Kazakhstan
Lera comes to us from Kazakhstan where she teaches children acting and loves to teach them English and about the Catholic faith, but wants to be able to teach them even more. That is one of the reasons she came to the LCI. She also came to LCI because of the strong influence of her pastor at home from Slovakia who once attended the LCI.
So far during her time with the LCI, Lera has enjoyed growing in her spiritual life. “I see big differences between spiritual life in Gaming and in Kazakhstan. It is much deeper here. Here I feel like I am in such a holy place.”
The experience of different cultures has also been very important for Lera. Here, she reflected that she has been able to not only observe the differences and similarities between Americans and Kazakhs, but also Chinese and Americans.
When Lera returns home after her year at the LCI she is excited to take with her more knowledge of the Catholic faith. “In Kazakhstan we don’t have Catholic universities or Catholic education. Here I can take classes with good Catholic professors.”
“I want to teach children and young people in my parish about the faith in Western Kazakhstan. There are many teachers and priests in Northern Kazakhstan, but in the West we only have missionaries from Europe and America. We have none of our own people teaching about the faith and I would like to help change this.”
Michal from Slovakia
Michal grew up in Bratislava, but has been studying in seminary in Presov to become a Greek Catholic priest. Here in Gaming he helps our own Byzantine priest, Fr. Yosyp, with Divine Liturgy whenever it is celebrated on campus. Some of his hobbies include rock climbing, singing, reading, dancing, and being in nature.
Michal has really enjoyed getting to know people from other cultures. He explains that before coming to the LCI his only experience of other cultures was just through movies, books, or songs. Here in Gaming, he has had the opportunity to know people from different cultures in real life and those stories became real. “Although we are all from other cultures we are more similar. We are all different, but we have the same faith, the same desires. Some things are different but the main part of who we are remains the same.”
Michal is most excited to use this year to grow in whatever way God allows. He wants to grow in his relationship with God and with others and to grow in virtues as well. He hopes his experience here will help him to continue to grow even more when he returns home.
After his time with the LCI, Michal spoke about how he hopes to share his faith back in Slovakia. “If it is God’s will I will be priest. I want to be able to teach people about the faith and I want to be with them in their struggles and show them the way to Heaven while remembering that it is always God who works through me.”
Marci from Hungary
Marci is from Budapest where he studied at a Franciscan high school. This is where he first learned about the LCI in Gaming because Franciscan students came to speak to his class on mission. The friar of his school invited him to go to the LCI this year and he was excited to take up the opportunity!
Marci loves to play sports and be outdoors whenever possible. One of his favorite things about being in Gaming is getting to connect with people from different parts of the world. He especially loves connecting with new friends at the “fun court” in Gaming to play whatever sport anyone is willing to play, even if it is covered in snow. He has also enjoyed the opportunity to go on a mission trip with the American students and expressed that his mission trip to Romania in the Fall was a very impactful trip for him. On this trip, Marci witnessed the openness of the American students about their faith and about God’s love for all of us which was very inspiring for him.
After his time with the LCI, Marci is looking forward to sharing his faith more with his group of friends at home and to continue his journey of faith with all of them. “I think we can learn something more from each other every day.”