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Doctoral Thesis Defended on Catholic Charismatic Retreat Centres

By Joy Kaipan, SDB
Fr. Varghese Kapplikunnel (third from left), after the successful Defence of his Doctoral thesis, poses with his Guides and examiners.
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Kolkata, May. 25.   (UPS - Rome)  Fr. Varghese Kapplikunnel of the Province of Bangalore (INK) successfully defended his doctoral thesis ''Catholic Retreat Centres in Kerala as Loci of Catechetical Learning for Adults - An Empirical Study from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Perspective,'' on 22 May, 2013 at the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome.
The two-volume thesis has seven organic and integrally developed chapters with pertinent notes and a massive bibliography. It consists, apart from the main exposition, a survey-questionnaire and interview-transcripts both in Malayalam as well as in English. This is an original, significant, and a first-of-its-kind research that analyzes the role of Catholic Retreat Centres in Kerala, that adopt the Catholic Charismatic Renewal spirituality.

This explorative empirical study with creative theoretical conviction focuses on the five retreat centres of Kerala, striking a balance between orthodoxy and orthopraxis. The theme is well-articulated through four objectives: study of the catechetical learning opportunities on offer at the week-long retreats; verification of the pedagogic-theological ambient that enhances adult catechetical learning; examination of the influence of Catholic Charismatic Renewal; and proposed suggestions to further enhance adult catechetical learning.

The research-guide was Prof. Jerome Vallabaraj, SDB. Prof. Medeiros Damasio, SDB and Prof. Cyril De Souza, SDB were the second and third guides respectively. The defense panel included Prof. Carlo Nanni, the Rector Magnificus of the University and Fr. Jarosław Rochowiak SDB, the Secretary General.

Fr. Kapplikunnel drew extensive praise for his tremendous effort and was greatly appreciated for his capacity and ability to utilize the vast amount of literature on adult catechetical learning and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, while contextualizing the research theme within the particular context of Kerala.

The many queries of the examiners were responded to with great �lan and composure by Fr Kapplikunnel, resulting in thunderous applause and ovation, signaling the closure of the defense.

The filled-to-capacity auditorium resounded with congratulatory echoes and warm embraces of thrilled confreres, friends and well-wishers. The delicious laddoos and samosas, post-defense, ensured that the intellectual enrichment was sweet and delightful to the palate too!


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