Vatican appoints ACU theologians for missionary formation

Published: Thursday 27th October 2016

Photo of Dr Gemma Cruz and Dr Edmund Chia.

Dr Gemma Cruz and Dr Edmund Chia have both been appointed as Faculty Associates of the Pontifical Missionary Union.

Two academics from the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy have been appointed to the Vatican’s Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) to support the evangelizing mission of the Church.

Both Dr Gemma Cruz and Dr Edmund Chia were appointed as Faculty Associates of the PMU, a secretariat of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (previously known as  Propaganda Fide), which oversees all the local churches in mission territories.

Founded in 1916, the purpose of the PMU is to increase missionary work and to support the Church to carry out its evangelization work. At its centenary celebrations this year Pope Francis advised the PMU to radically reform and renew itself so as to be able to give priority to those at the peripheries.

It’s currently focusing on missionary formation for local churches in Asia, Africa and Oceania and has sought to collaborate with theologians from around the world, particularly those who have expertise and knowledge in these areas.

Dr Cruz and Dr Chia, both of whom grew up in Asia, studied in Europe and have taught in North America and now here in Australia, will develop and run some of these formation programs for local churches in Asia.

“It is indeed an honour and privilege to be invited by the Vatican to assist in missionary formation,” Dr Chia said.

“We will do our best to be of service especially since we ourselves have been blessed with being nourished by the Asian Church toward a vision of theology that is of service to the world Church,” Dr Cruz said.

Faculty of Theology and Philosophy Executive Dean Professor Dermot Nestor said the appointment of Dr Cruz and Dr Chia to the PMU was a fantastic acknowledgement of their service to the discipline of Theology and to the mission of the Church.

“It is also an affirmation of the international calibre of scholarship and Mission Leadership which resides within the Faculty as whole,” Professor Nestor said.

“Finally it is to be understood as an endorsement of the Vice-Chancellor’s vision for this University: one which excellence is to define all areas of its activity and its engagement.”

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