ICLA: An Institute, A Home
ICLA’s vision is to be a center for doing theology to revitalize spirituality and mission in emergent churches in Asia. It provides academic – formative programs that are geared toward strengthening discipleship through different forms of Christian life for religious, clergy and laity.
But there is more to ICLA than just being an institute for higher learning. Faithful to its original purpose, it sees itself as “a home away from home,” a community away from the students’ own communities in their provinces or countries. Yearly, the institute houses about 90 - 100 male and female students coming from different parts of Asia. ICLA is like a “little Asia”. Here, they are taught how to live their vocation well and to work side by side with each other in building an intercultural community. During their two years in ICLA, it is hoped that the students will actually experience “the transforming power of the Spirit through lived spirituality.”
Majority of these resident students are still young and eager for a deeper integral formation. Many of them evidently lack basic human formation and pastoral care. Away from their countries for the first time and struggling with the English language, they can be overwhelmed by the class requirements as well as their daily intercultural encounters with co - students. They need “time and space” outside class hours, where they can reflect, process, understand, express and resolve the emerging issues in their personal lives. They definitely need more mature companions to guide them in this important phase of their spiritual journey.
Responding to this particular concern, ICLA has created a program of integral formation called CARES, or Center for Accompaniment, Renewal and Empowerment of Students. As the name suggests, the center serves the students in three main areas:
• Spiritual Direction
• Spiritual Conversations
• Ministry of presence
Facilitating Activities for Renewal and Refreshment
• Prayer and Sacramental Life
• Monthly Recollection, Retreats, Days of Prayer
Empowering Students through
• Helping them organize and monitor in–house Community Services
• Conferences/ Workshops on Formation Issues
• Exposure and immersion programs
The CARES Program is still in its developmental stages, yet some of these services are already in place. Other activities may be included in the future, as the need arises
A balanced team of competent tri-sectoral staff members (clergy, religious and lay) facilitate the CARES’ activities. The team members will ensure that the institute’s vision of integrating academic learning and formative processes is actualized. Always acting in coordination with the ICLA Director, the Department Heads, Administrative personnel, and together with the resident students, the CARES team members will work towards creating a healthy, inclusive and supportive community environment that fosters spiritual growth.
The CARES office is located at the Ground Floor of the Women’s Residence Building.