Breaching the gate…

Image @ The sword of Peter on Facebook

Learning The Faith. Sharing The Faith. Living the Faith.

 

Stained Glass window at Maryvale, Birmingham, at the shrine of The Sacred Heart.

I attended a Maryvale Institute study day yesterday as I am enrolled on the Certificate in Catechesis course. It’s  two years long, finishing for me at the end of 2013. The correct title for Maryvale being: International Catholic Distance-Learning College for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education.

These study days are as intense as they are uplifting, and I leave these sessions exhausted but itching to learn more. The aim of this course is to unpack the true teaching of the Church through knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so that as messengers we can pass on the truths of the Faith accurately. We then spend the next three months studying and submitting essays and workshop topics. There is much to cover and sticking to a recommended hour a day reading and researching is a must in order to keep up with the workload. (the content is so absorbing that I end up spending as much as 2 hours a day reading and researching, when time allows.)

We start the study day with Mass and then go straight into lectures, facilitated by an enthusiastic Catechist with many years  experience under her belt. After a tea break and a delicious lunch, the two afternoon lectures are given by a visiting priest. The day concluded with Vespers (just so beautiful!!) and we felt blessed to be joined by a seminarian from the English College in Rome. Everything about the day is always just right. Not too much, not too little, just right.

Why have I decided to do this course? With the year of Faith upon us I want to be armed and ready with the Truth of our Faith when the opportunity comes along to share it. This piece sums up my feelings exactly:

The truth is that religion is important.  In fact, man is religious by nature.  We are created by God who made us for Himself.  God is always calling us to Him, drawing us toward Him, and our hearts naturally want to respond to that call.  St. Augustine famously said that our hearts are restless until they rest in God.  Religion is how God calls us and how we respond.  It’s how we enter into and sustain (and hopefully grow in) our relationship with God.  That’s why we can say that religion is natural to man.  To deny it, whether at a personal of societal level, is unnatural.  We are not fully human if we are not religious.  It’s also why government has to ensure its citizens the right to practice it freely.  Because the right to practice religion is not given to us by the state; it is given to us by God because He made us to be religious.

As members of the Church, we have an obligation to not only learn our faith but also to help others to learn it.  This is especially true for clergy and for parents who are the first teachers of the faith to the children that God has entrusted to them.  As Catholics, we believe that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the faith.  As human beings, we have a natural thirst for truth.  But truth ultimately is not a thing or an idea; it is a person.  Jesus Christ is Truth, and he who possesses truth possesses God.  That of course is a lot to possess, so we always have to continue studying our faith. (fatheracervo.com)

 

FASCINATING!

Biltrix

Two great things about today’s Feast

First, it’s a feast! So we need to celebrate like it’s a feast.

Second, it’s a feast to honor the Mighty Archangels, which gives us an opportunity to talk about something completely different for a change.

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A truth.

I believe in Christianity.

‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.’   C.S. LEWIS

 

A new desktop image for the end of September.

Image@http://www.loyolapress.com/3minute-retreat-desktop-image.htm

Herewith the last screensaver from Loyola press for the month of September.

Sharing the riches of our Catholic Faith.

 

This week welcomed the two introductory programmes to be used in the coming Year of Faith: Evangelium and Catholicism.

Image@evangelium.co.uk

Evangelium : Jesus said,“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” If we are to fulfil Christ’s command to preach the gospel to the people of own time, we must first attain a comprehensive and authentic knowledge of the Catholic Faith. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council encouraged lay people to “devotedly strive to acquire a more profound grasp of revealed truth.”2 Furthermore, this striving for deeper knowledge benefits our own salvation as well as that of others. Jesus tells us, “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

To attain deeper knowledge, however, requires good teaching. Such teaching needs to communicate authentic Catholic truth in effective and inspiring ways. Yet the provision of such resources is a challenge. Our society is suffering from an ‘educational emergency’ 4 and “the failure of catechesis, over the past three decades, to provide a sufficiently solid and integral presentation of the doctrine and practice of the Catholic faith.” 5 Yet there are also many opportunities today. New technologies, for example, have greatly facilitated communications, especially of beautiful images that illuminate the eternal truths of the gospel.

The Evangelium project has been established to provide resources to address these challenges and benefit from these opportunities. ‘Evangelium’ is the Latin word for ‘gospel’, a word expressing both proclamation of the faith and fidelity to the Catholic tradition. In partnership with the Catholic Truth Society, the project published the EVANGELIUM catechetical course in 2006, principally to assist parish catechesis. In 2007, the CREDO pocket catechismwas published as a tool for mission and ready reference. In 2008, a firstsummer conference for young people was held to assist in explaining the faith in the modern world. In 2009, the APOLOGIA pocket apologetics booklet was published as a tool for answering difficult questions about the faith. Future plans include the development of a DVD version of the EVANGELIUM course, a post-RCIA course on Church history and a course for teenagers preparing for Confirmation. (Quoted from the website)

Last night we watched the 6th of the 10 episodes contained in the Catholicism series. Everything about the presentation is engrossing from the content to the visual depictions and the glorious music. We spent about 2 minutes at the end of episode listening to the beautiful music. This series includes notes and questions for discussion. These questions  and our responses were discussed afterwards. It starts at 8pm and finishes at 9:30.  An informative evening with lively banter and a great feeling of purpose and invigoration as a Catholic Christian: WE MUST SHARE THE RICHES OF OUR CATHOLIC FAITH!

Here is a taster of Fr. Robert’s teaching style.

How-do-we-know-we-are-encountering-God-.aspx

 

A beautiful post on the Feast of Today.

Biltrix

Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle

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Little Way Week

Image@http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk

I received an email from the Schools Commission this week with details of resources for primary and secondary schools during the course of a special week called ‘Little Way Week’. It’s to be celebrated in the week before the beginning of the Year of Faith, which begins on the 11th of October.

 

Thérèse of Lisieux
“In my little way there are only very
ordinary things… Miss no single
opportunity of making some small
sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there
by a kindly word; always doing the
smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Little Way Week is inspired by the spiritual teaching and example of St Thérèse of Lisieux and runs from the 6 to the 12 October 2012.  All resources are ready to be picked up and easy to use. You will find them here.

The initiative takes its inspiration from St Thérèse of Lisieux, the universal Patroness of Mission, who gave to the Church a teaching called the ‘Little Way’ –  the saint lived by this pathway which is a commitment to do small tasks every day with love. It is a simple way of witnessing to the love of God and neighbour.

The initiative is being offered in support of the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK who said to those gathered in Oscott in 2010: “I know that you will take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources. In their teaching document Choosing the Common Good, the Bishops of England and Wales underlined the importance of the practice of virtue in public life. Today’s circumstances provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message.”

Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference and Patron of the initiative said: “In our communities many people are in need and it is the task of every Christian to reach out to them in love and service. You are invited to be especially attentive to those who might need help, ready to share as appropriate the reason for your actions – that you are following the command of Jesus Christ to love your neighbour as yourself.”

Little Way Week is a wonderful initiative that the whole school community can participate in
to witness to God’s love through service. Let us imitate St Thérèse as someone who found
deep and lasting joy and happiness in doing little things for Jesus and those around her.
Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis

It’s a matter of coming back to the drawing board time after time.

Image@faithworks.org