Faith is a relationship
Resurrect Your Faith, organised by the Catechetical Coordinators of the Suburban Vicariate, began on Saturday, May 3. This faith enrichment experience for adults, as well as catechists interested in completing the Basic Faith Formation courses, was held at the parish hall of Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe, Bourg Mulatresse, Lower Santa Cruz.
The opening session was addressed by the Vicar, Fr Ferdinand Warner OP, who urged the 60-plus participants to put into action all that they would receive from the interactive talks.
Beginning with “What The Church Believes”, Sr Marie Young CHF explained that the basic beliefs of the Catholic Church came from the Creed, Sacred Scripture, Church Councils and Encyclicals. Our Christian faith is expressed in the Creed, celebrated in the Sacraments, lived through Catholic morality, and sustained through prayer. The Nicene Creed expresses the central truths of our faith. We learned that faith was not a list of beliefs, but about a relationship – an intimate, dynamic relationship with the Trinity.
On the following Saturday, Fr Warner mesmerised us with “Prayer and Spirituality”. He noted that, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2558) describes prayer as a relationship. This relationship is based on a specific dynamic – the human person’s search for God (#2566). God calls to the human person who responds in the form of prayer (#2567).” What is distinctive about our Christian spirituality is that it is a way of being, seeing and acting that has its source in, and takes its inspiration from, the person and vision of Jesus Christ.
What a pleasant surprise we had from Fr Arnold Francis, parish priest of Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe, as we entered the church for our third session – “Liturgy and Sacraments”. A dedicated team of parishioners had mounted a detailed display of the vestments, vessels and other sacramentals used in the celebration of the Liturgy and Sacraments. In his energetic presentation, we heard that the Liturgy of the Catholic Church was its official public worship. Liturgy is ritual, i.e. an organised pattern of words, symbols and actions. Through it God is worshipped and humans are sanctified. It is not only an encounter with God but with others for it is a celebration of God’s people. Vatican II calls for “full, conscious, active participation” of the people in the Liturgy.
In the sacraments, Christ communicates himself and his saving love, and to do so he uses earthly realities such as people, words, actions, water, oil, bread and wine. In every sacrament, the Risen Lord is very active. He is the visible, tangible, and saving presence of God, to those who have gathered to celebrate that sacrament.
Midway on the journey we got an “Overview of Scripture”. Fr Francis used The Bible Timeline (The Story of Salvation by Jeff Cavins, Tim Gray and Sarah Christmyer) which provided a visual overview of all the books of the Bible. He went in-depth into each period of salvation history and we learnt about the major people, places and events of the Bible, and discovered how they all came together to reveal the remarkable story of our faith.
At our final session for May, all eyes and ears were focused on Sr Juliet Rajah CHF as she presented on, “The Person of the Catechist”. Sr Juliet highlighted Ten Commandments for catechists. These commandments offer a challenge to all catechists to keep in touch with God, to be informed and to be open to the truth. She concluded by posing three questions and participants were placed into groups to develop oral replies.
After a break for reflection, the adult faith formation series will resume on Saturday, June 14 at the parish hall of Our Lady of Fatima, Bushe Street, Curepe, where we will complete the last four sessions of our faith enrichment experience. On June 14, Fr David Khan will take us through, “Christian Living”. We will have group work on June 28 and will be able to review the course. On July 5 & 12, Sr Marie returns to explain how to teach the faith, “Methodology 1 and 2”, using the five movements of The Shared Praxis Method used in the catechetical textbooks.
– Suburban Vicariate Catechetical Coordinators