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Two Marists are awarded a diploma in safeguarding children



A new licentiate degree in child protection is now also available

14/02/2018: Italy - Photo gallery

The Centre for Child Protection of the Gregorian University of Rome awarded 18 students of various congregations from 12 countries, including two Marist Brothers, a diploma in safeguarding of minors on Feb. 9.

During the ceremony, president of the CCP Father Hans Zollner also announced the launch of a new two-year licentiate degree* in safeguarding, which will begin in October at the university, with only 12 vacancies.

Brothers Jeff Rhey Reston Antiquisa of the Philippines and Okechukwu Venatius Anochie of Nigeria are now among the five Marist Brothers who have obtained the diploma since the Centre began offering it in 2016. Brother Fortune Chakasara of Zimbabwe received it in 2016, and Brothers Shanthi Liyanage of Sri Lanka and John Katumbi of Malawi, in 2017.

Br Okechuwu was among the five students who presented their research project during the graduation ceremony, under the title ‘child street hawking in Nigeria.’ Br Jeff’s research was on ‘Catholic educational institutions and their leading role in child protection in the Philippines.’

Br Jeff stated safeguarding children in the Philippines is important because “with a population of 100 million of which 31 per cent are children, many are left behind, like the children of oversees Filipino workers.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to safeguard these children because they are the hope of the future of the Filipino society,” he stressed. “It’s a wonderful course, the course itself is tough because it involves emotion and if you experience listening to victims of abuse, you will be really moved and touched by their stories.”

Spain’s Cardenal Cisneros University College in Alcalá de Henares is already running the Centre's e-learning programme for 97 teachers. Three other Marist universities – the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil, the Universidad Marcelino Champagnat in Lima, Peru, and the Universidad Marista de Mérida, Mexico – are still in the process of introducing the programme.

Fr Hans, also a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, underscored that “the diploma course is important because we need to know a lot about the roots of abusive behaviour, which has many causes.”

“We need to do whatever can be done to understand better how to protect children and young people and what we can do to prevent abuse in those who feel attracted sexually to young people,” he told the general house communications office on Feb. 9.

Superior general Brother Ernesto Sánchez, vicar general Brother Luis Carlos Gutiérrez and FMSI’s Brother Rick Carey attended the ceremony on behalf of the general administration, as well as other Brothers from the general house community.


*In pontifical universities, the licentiate degree is a post-graduate, research degree, considered above the master's degree and below the research doctoral degree, generally conferred by the authority of the Holy See and in the name of the Pope.

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