Well, folks, I’m back from a blissful week away. Photos to follow soon I hope. I jumped straight back into a jam-packed week, complete with a final deadline for the Confirmation programme (which, thankfully, I met 🙂 ). What with a planning meeting for our RCIA process next year, a Called and Gifted practice teaching session, and lots more, there have been moments this week when I’ve dreamily returned to floating on the lake in the sun, the Alps in the distance. Aaahhh…
The photo above is from the new Faith movement website. Go and have a look – I am so impressed! This is a real treasure trove of some brilliant resources for apologetics, catechesis and evangelisation. Fantastic articles, videos, free downloads… Faith has done an enormous service to the Church in this website alone. Having friends whose faith has been nurtured through the Faith movement, this seems a really exciting move into new evangelisation through new media.
(An aside: one of the “frequently asked questions” made me chuckle: “Why does matter need a cause?” I mean, aren’t you just asked that all the time?! You gotta love Faith.)
A project I’m helping with is setting up a new RCIA process at the cathedral. Fresh from our Witness to Christ course, we have seven brand-new RCIA catechists: three for ‘enquiry’ and four for Catechumenate. We’re moving right away from a “programme of sessions” approach, and towards a “process of conversion”. This means that the enquiry period will be offered all year round so that anyone can drop in whether it’s October or March. (According to the RCIA, when evidence of “first faith” and the “first stirrings of repentance” are present, that is when someone enters the Catechumenate (which is normally a year long).) For us right now, Catechumenate is way ahead in the future. The main thing we are focusing on is the enquiry or evangelisation period. I feel this is the really crucial period.
A few people have been interested in how this new approach works, so watch this space! It is an approach we implemented in Balham over three years, but it is very different doing it in another place with its own culture. Thankfully, we are off to a good start with really enthusiastic and supportive priests, and seven excited catechists!
As you know, Sherry Weddell trained a teaching team for Called and Gifted while she was here in the Diocese. Our first workshop is in the autumn, and we plan to teach multiple workshops next year. We are all going through a thorough process of preparation so that we can deliver to a high standard. Even on hot days like today (!) we are meeting in small coaching groups to practise teaching a section and receive feedback from each other. It is a brilliant idea, and I’m so glad we’re doing it. It’s rare (in a Church-context) that you receive feedback (positive and constructive) on your teaching. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover that annoying thing you do while you’re speaking that no one has has ever told you! I have a feeling we should do more coaching like this with catechists.
How can I finish this post without mentioning our dear Christian brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq. I am so distressed to hear of the senseless evil that is being done. There is nothing to say about it, except Lord, have mercy!
“Your strength is not in numbers, nor does your power depend upon stalwart men; but you are the God of the lowly, the helper of the oppressed, the supporter of the weak, the protector of the forsaken, the saviour of those without hope” Judith 9:11