Fr. Jacob Dankasa – My Blog

Archive for March 2016

In my church community (St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Richardson, Texas), we have a small gathering place called the ‘forum’. People meet, relax and study in the forum, with coffee, donuts, cookies and free Wifi. But my most impressive moment is what takes place at the forum among some of the older members of our church everyday of the week after our morning masses.

Every morning, many senior citizens of our church community gather together in the forum after the morning mass and share their time together. This is an informal gathering where they have some coffee together and share stories. The joy that radiates from these older members of our community knows no bound. They talk and chat with strength that is unimaginable of people their age, and express their inner happiness in laughter that is so infectious. Sometimes they celebrate their birthdays. Some among them may be struggling with illnesses or the weight of old age, but none of these deters them from this magnificent communal expression of joy which is seen from the energy they exude. Certainly, they have found their strength in their faith community and their joy is unstoppable. Their expressions of happiness and sense of life-fulfillment give me hope that old age is not a burden but a gift. I admire them, I love them and I envy them. May God bless their hearts.

I have talked to a few of them and asked them about the gratification they derive from coming together every morning. The answers I received were amazing. They expressed how they go to bed at night always hoping to be gathered in the morning; they feel stronger when they listen to the stories of others and share theirs; and they find comfort in one another. For some of them, it takes away loneliness and isolation, and makes them feel that life is worth living.

What else can someone of that age ask for than to live life in happiness feeling the sense of a family. This is what the church community is and this is what it should provide. The very elderly in our communities should find a second home in their faith communities, they should feel loved and welcomed. I invite more older members of our community to come share this joy and live life at its best. Make your 80’s feel like 20’s again!

I dedicate my blog post this Holy Week to all senior citizens in our various faith communities. May the Passion of Christ strengthen and brighten your days.

Go and find a home in your faith communities!

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The sacrament of reconciliation or penance is a very important sacrament of the Church. The Catholic Church in its teachings encourages the faithful to utilize this sacrament as a free gift of God’s forgiving grace. Going to confessions to receive absolution and forgiveness heals the soul of the penitent. In a state of mortal sin, confession is required before reception of Holy communion, except a grave reason prevents one from approaching the sacrament. In a state of venial sin, however, a good act of contrition can be said before reception of holy communion.
However, as important as the sacrament of confession is, it must not be used as a pretext to remain in the very acts that cause one to sin. One should not feel too comfortable in perpetually committing sin simply because the sacrament of penance exists. Efforts are needed! The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1451) states that “among the penitent’s acts, contrition occupies first place. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.” If you find yourself going to confessions every day or every week, or at any opportunity of seeing a priest, then you may also need to examine yourself if you are making enough effort to stay away from those sins that take you to confessions all the time.
Our efforts to stay away from sin is very important. As we seek the gratuitous mercy of God and are encouraged to approach the sacrament of penance this season of Lent and in this year of mercy, let us also make a renewed effort to abstain from occasions of sin.

Jesus disappointed the scribes and the Pharisees by not presenting them with the type of answer they had hoped for. Instead, he challenged them to learn the virtue of mercy and compassion. Jesus clearly did not endorse the sin of the woman caught in adultery because he told her to go and sin no more. Jesus helps us to understand how the mercy of God works. God does not condemn us as long as we are alive. He gives us the opportunity to turn from bad to good, and His mercy is endless and gratuitous.

Those who tried to stone the woman caught in adultery represent the hearts of humans that are saturated with judgement and condemnation of other people without taking into account their own individual sins. When we learn of the sins of someone that have become public knowledge, before we say it serves him/her right and throw stones on the person, we should ask ourselves if we have no secrets that resemble what the person is accused of. Let us learn to pray for each other and wish our brothers and sisters good. No one deserves mercy, we all deserve justice. But mercy comes as a free gift from God. We should allow people the opportunity to find this gift through prayer and compassion rather than judgement and condemnation.

Published in the Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice, Vol. 3, No. 3. Click here to read the full journal article.

Abstract

Despite the number of developed theories, it still remains a difficult task for some established and emerging scholars in various academic fields to clearly articulate new theories from research studies. This paper reviews and collates the views of scholars on what a theory is and how a good theory can be developed. It explains the concept of a theory, and the different components that make up a theory. The paper discusses the different processes of theory development by emphasizing what theory is and what theory is not. This review found that scholars differ in their definition of a theory, which leads to using terms such as model, paradigm, framework, and theory interchangeably. It found the lack of theoretical constructs in a study to be one of the factors which explains why articles are rejected for publication. This paper may be of benefit to established researchers who may be struggling with theory development, and especially younger academics who are the future of scholarship in various academic fields, particularly in information science.

This is an electronic version of an article published in the Journal of Religious & Theological Information, Volume 14, Issue 1-2, pp. 13-29. (2015). Click here to read this version.

Abstract

This paper examines the information seeking studies carried out on the professional roles of the clergy, their use of information resources, the place of the Internet in their information seeking behavior, and the studies conducted on the clergy across different religions. Results show significant relationship between clergy’s doctrinal position and their information seeking behavior, which changes with work roles of the clergy. The clergy use both formal and informal sources depending on the particular work role they assume. However, not many models of information seeking behavior have been tested in studies of religious professionals. The paper argues that most previous studies of the information seeking behavior of clergy resulted in similar findings because the areas of focus have been limited in scope. Hence, there is a need to look at the issue from different perspectives using diverse methods and contexts in order to broaden the understanding of the clergy and their information seeking habits. The paper points out areas for further research with recommendations of suitable theoretical frameworks, which if applied or tested in information seeking research with religious clergy, may add value to the understanding of this issue.

The published article is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/pWTKFJRTrt7Mdx65MQBv/full. DOI: 10.1080/10477845.2015.1035196

Published in the International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, Vol. 3, No. 2.

Abstract

Mobile technologies are promising features that point to the future of instruction and learning. This paper reviews literature on mobile technology in order to identify areas of focus for researchers with interest in Africa towards contextualizing the use of mobile technology for mobile learning (m-learning) within the African experience. It examined the uses of mobile technologies as explored by researchers and pointed out the benefits and drawbacks. This paper extracted the recommendations of researchers on how to overcome or correct the setbacks to the implementation of mobile technology into the learning environment. It recommended offline access to learning materials on mobile devices to be seriously contemplated for m-learning in Africa. There is need for further research in the developing world of Africa to measure the outcome of offline mobile learning and its effects on cost reduction, and to develop theoretical frameworks that will evaluate programs, learners and instructors for building effective instructional design using the mobile technologies. This paper draws a roadmap and sets the ball rolling for designers of mobile learning modules, instructors and researchers in the field of education to work in situating learning with mobile technology as a method of choice in the learning environment. It also demonstrates to learners the much functionality their mobile devices offer them in attaining their educational goals.

Click here to read the full journal article.