Home » Events » M.A. Thesis Defense of Fr. RICHARD S. SUMERA, S.J. (Philippines) on 27 June 2024

M.A. Thesis Defense of Fr. RICHARD S. SUMERA, S.J. (Philippines) on 27 June 2024

Jun 25, 2024

The Theology and Ministry Program of the School of Humanities invites you to the online oral defense of the M.A. Thesis entitled “STRUCTURES OF GRACE: FLMFI’s Help for the Kaulayanan Coffee Farmers” by Fr. RICHARD S. SUMERA, S.J. on 27 June 2024, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. The Board of Examiners is composed of Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J., S.T.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner), Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, S.J., S.T.L., Ph.D., and Fr. Peter Pojol, S.J., S.T.D. The M.A. Thesis Adviser is Ms. Stephanie Ann Puen, Ph.D. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with a field of specialization in Systematic Theology. It is open to the public.

Abstract: The thesis explores the intersection of Catholic Social Thought (CST), business, and social entrepreneurship within the indigenous context of the Talaandig community in Sitio Kaulayanan, Talakag, Bukidnon, Philippines. It examines the socio-economic challenges and the structures of sin experienced by the Talaandig communities and the beneficial role of the Fr. Leoni Mission Foundation, Inc. (FLMFI) in fostering structures of grace and solidarity through its program called Hope, Empowerment, Light, and Promotion of Culture (HELP) for Kaulayanan Coffee Farmers. The study aims to develop a faith-based formation and social entrepreneurship program that complements FLMFI’s existing capacity-building initiatives for the Talaandig’s engagement with social entrepreneurship.

The study relates business and social entrepreneurship with the concepts of structures of sin and structures of grace articulated in CST with the experiences of the indigenous Talaandig communities. The thesis proposes that an integrative faith-based formation program must necessarily be rooted in the theological, cultural, and entrepreneurial contexts of the Talaandigs in Bukidnon for it to be sustainable. The formation program designed by integrating both CST principles and the Talaandig contexts into a culturally sensitive theological framework intends to strengthen the community’s capacity for authentic human development through indigenous social entrepreneurship initiatives.

The study contributes a CST-based theological framework on business and social entrepreneurship in the context of the indigenous communities. The modular faith-based formation program empowers the Talaandig coffee farmers to live out their faith and culture through sustainable development initiatives that foster structures of solidarity and grace. The contextualized formation program provides the indigenous communities with concrete handles in fostering structures of grace and also in overcoming prevalent structures of sin in their pursuit of authentic human development.

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