A course we would never forget! When a group of us from the Central and Southern Vicariates assembled in the conference room of the La Romaine RC Church Hall, on February 8, 2011, to attend this course, we never envisioned that we were signing up for such an interesting, informative and well researched experience, in such an informal setting.
This follow up course to ALPHA, which was covered in seven three-hour sessions, had a tremendous effect on us. We felt empowered as Catholic Christians because of the information imparted. There was always an Ah ha! moment, as explanations and presentations clarified many misconceptions. We also noted and understood the marrying of ancient tradition, biblical evidence and Magisterium teaching.
The visual impact, combined with references, music, research was well documented and complemented with the humour of Fr James Mallon, a Canadian priest and author of the course, making the material easy to absorb, understand and appreciate. Sr Columba Byrne and Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan, Catechetical Coordinator for the two vicariates aptly facilitated by fielding questions and facilitating sharing on confused thoughts and opinions. Many challenging hurdles were crossed relating to fundamental Catholic beliefs. Participants dared to voice unpopular opinions on issues for clarification because of the relaxed environment. At the end of each session a clearer vision of “Church” emerged.
Presentation and discussion of topics, current, scientific and controversial kept us on the edge of our seats. The thorny issues of contraception, pre-marital sex, abortion, the death penalty, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, Mary and the Saints and the Sacrament of Reconciliation were very intriguing. Another notable reflection focussed on by participants was the awareness of the role of the Eucharist in our lives. Christian morality had its impact on one’s consciousness and stirred up new insights, especially as it relates to today’s society.
Some Comments from participants
I am now equipped to defend my religion. – Yvette Lake Harford
The role of Mary in the Church was crystallised in my mind – Sylvester Charles
There is a wealth of information in the material and ongoing reference is facilitated – Sandra Corbie
I understand my faith in a much deeper way…and more open to reading the Bible and Catechism of the Church– Jennifer Lewis
It would be remiss of me, however, not to mention the delicious snacks and camaraderie! Special mention also of our cheerful greeter, Mrs Punch, with her wide variety of reading material, CDs and DVDs.
Celta Weeks’ thoughts exemplifies what each participant felt; she wrote: “This course enlightened me in a much deeper way about the foundation and pillars on which the Catholic Church was built, and the explicit explanations of the facilitators were extremely helpful.”– Annette Alleyne, Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Carapichaima