At the age of 88, Vincent Brennan, PhD, has become the oldest graduate at South Africa University of KwaZulu-Natal’s, (UKZN recent autumn graduation ceremonies, receiving a doctor of philosophy (PhD), P in Theology.
Brennan’s study analysed the Church’s various callings in a Christian community. He explored the community’s division into an elite clergy and a passive laity, the nature of the call to discipleship, and the type of leadership required by a community model of the church. Brennan’s involvement in the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and his experience in organising programmes inspired him to conduct a comprehensive study of Christianity.
Brennan’s thesis provided a theological foundation for stewardship to assist other churches in critically examining their stewardship programmes and broadening them into a way of living as disciples. His research aimed to assist the Church in Southern Africa and beyond in shedding clericalism and instilling the theology of communion in the life of every diocese and parish. He hopes to translate his findings into a user-friendly publication that will be widely accessible to the Catholic Church and other churches struggling with similar issues.
Both left me very free to pursue my own research, but I felt challenged in a refreshing way by the experience and questioning and suggestions of two people whose background and training and life experience were very different to mine,” he said.
Although juggling work and study was challenging, Brennan persevered and received great support and encouragement from his supervisors, Professor Susan Rakoczy and co-supervisor Professor Herbert Moyo.
Brennan believes that prayer is the key to overcoming every temptation and advises his fellow travellers to persevere through difficult times.
“My advice to my fellow-travellers is that they deal with this as they do with every temptation: pray not to be overcome by it and carry on,” said Brennan.
Furthermore, UKZN’s autumn graduation ceremonies saw a record number of female graduates, with nearly 65% of graduates being women, the highest percentage in the university’s history.