Holy Communion

About the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives

The Institute for Pastoral Initiatives mobilizes the resources of the University of Dayton for partnerships with the Church that create and implement innovative pastoral initiatives designed to meet the needs of the Church and to articulate faith within the context of contemporary culture.

What do we provide?

Resources for Inclusive Catechesis: The Institute for Pastoral Initiatives serves as a support network and resource to individuals with disabilities and their families by providing DVDs and print resources, consultations, and networking opportunities. 

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation: A growing initiative to offer adult religious education and faith formation anytime and anywhere via the internet.

The Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders: A two-year program for students of the University of Dayton. The goal is to prepare students to become outstanding catechists or religion teachers. 

History of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives

What follows is a brief history highlighting the evolution and development of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives.  Here are a few - certainly not all - of the significant works accomplished over the years.  The Institute had several different titles since 1970 as it shifted to address the emerging needs of the church.  The University archive holds the detailed historical records.  

  • 1970 Center for Christian Renewal founded by the Marianist Foundation and the University of Dayton address the pastoral, catechetical and lay leadership formation needs of the Church.
  • 1995 Center for Christian Renewal et al merge into the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives.
  • 1997 IPI establishes the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.
  • 2000 VLCFF begins diocesan partnership.
  • 2006 the VLCFF adds Spanish courses.
  • 2008 VLCFF reaches 35 diocesan partners.

Who funds the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives?

IPI is funded by a grant from the Marianist Foundation, contributions from the University of Dayton, outside funding agencies and income from workshops, lectures, seminars, consultations, publications, etc. of the staff. 

How does the Institute relate to the University?

The mission IPI is mobilize the resources of the University for partnerships with the Church; thus, the Institute is constantly alert for engaging various entities of the University to address the emerging needs and issues of the Church.  The Institute also collaborates with the School of Education and the Center for Catholic Education of the University.

Our Missions

The Institute addresses critical issues of our time by:
  • Researching trends and new developments in pastoral and catechetical ministries.
  • Educating through online courses, workshops, seminars and publications.
  • Consulting with local, national and international communities for Pastoral Communications, Catechetical and Ministry Planning.
  • Convening forums to explore new ways of being Church.
  • Providing pastoral and catechetical resources for diocesan an lay ecclesial leaders.

Our Director

Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski is a Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart. She is the Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives and is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Dayton.

Sr. Angela Ann is the former World President for the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television (1994-2001) known as UNDA and former member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (Vatican 1989-2001). She served as a member of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart Community Leadership Service Board from 2000 to 2008. Sr. Angela Ann has been involved with distance or e-education for over 40 years. She began with Cable TV in 1971 and continued to advance into radio, satellite communication, multimedia, computer technologies and now the Internet and ISDN conferencing and courses. Her current work in this area is the new Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.

She also coordinates the Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders, a program for UD students that animates young catechists/Catholic School religion teachers engaged in faith formation.

Institute for Pastoral Initiatives Staff

Richard Drabik
VLCFF Assistant Director

Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey
Curriculum Design & Adult Catechesis Coordinator

Johnson Romero-Rosas
Hispanic Initiative Coordinator

Robert Stewart
IT Projects Manager

Jeaninne Chaffin
Administrative Assistant

Margaret Shufflebarger
Administrative Assistant

Margaret McCrate
Administrative Assistant

Laura Franklin
Administrative Assistant

Contact Us

Mailing Address
University of Dayton
Institute for Pastoral Initiatives
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-0328

IPI Office: 937-229-3126
IPI Fax: 937-229-3130

Sr. Angela Ann

For general information and partnership inquiries
Richard Drabik

For certificate program information
Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey

For student payment questions
Margaret Shufflebarger

For ordering course materials
Margaret McCrate

For VLCFF in Spanish
Johnson Romero-Rosas

For website issues
Robert Stewart

For information about NICE and ordering materials
Margaret Shufflebarger

For general information
Jeaninne Chaffin