Transformed in Christ: The Parish Inside Story
Ever since the launch of the Confirmation programme, I’ve been keen to chat to priests, deacons, catechists who are beginning to use Transformed in Christ. I’ve been eager to know how they are using it, what they are finding helpful, how they are fitting it to their own situation. If young people are evangelised and catechised through this resource, it will be because of the catechists who are using it – no other reason! It is the catechist who is the agent of conversion…
So, I’ve been dying to get up close and personal with catechists on the ground using this resource, and I’m delighted that my first stop is Holy Innocents’ Parish in Orpington – Deacon Wayne and catechists Kath and Sue – whose candidates are due to be confirmed in May 2015.
TIC: Tell us a bit about yourself, your parish and your role in the parish.
Wayne: I am a newly ordained deacon in the Parish of Holy Innocents’ (Orpington), now acting as the parish clergy link to Confirmation and RCIA catechesis.
Kath: I moved into the Parish in 1996. Since then I have worked with the Children’s Liturgy Group and Holy Communion groups. I am at present on a three-year Youth Ministry course organised by the Archdiocese of Southwark.
Sue: My family moved to Orpington in 1966. I have worked in Holy Innocents’ parish for a number of years. I first became involved with Children’s liturgy when my daughter was young and worked with the group for ten years. Leading on from this I worked as a catechist for Confirmation for the next seven years; feeling I could offer more to the First Holy Communion group I became a catechist for them in 2006.
TIC: How long have you been a Confirmation catechist? What do you love about it? What challenges you?
Wayne: This is all new to me, I have no previous experience. I see my challenge as being to provide something worthwhile to our young people, that will continue to draw them into a closer relationship with Christ and the Church in future.
Kath: I have assisted on a couple of Confirmation courses however this is the first one I have helped co-ordinate. I feel the youth of today especially within the Bromley area need somewhere to go (our LEA has no Catholic secondary school) and to be shown how to maintain their faith.
Sue: Although I have had previous experience working as a Confirmation catechist, I am looking forward to working with our young people again, teaching them to share and explore their faith.
TIC: Why did you decide to use the TIC programme? What does it offer that you perhaps couldn’t find elsewhere?
Wayne: For me it’s a well organised and presented programme that is tried and tested in that it has been developed over several years of practical implementation, that is doctrinally sound, places important emphasis on liturgical and pastoral formation of Confirmation candidates, and is very well structured and oriented to young people by varying methods of catechesis in each session (e.g. video clips, breakout sessions, group discussions, etc) and makes good use of modern media familiar to young people.
Kath: The course was suggested to me by my son who had met Hannah at some stage and he thought this programme would be an ideal catalyst to rejuvenate Confirmation within our Parish.
Sue: Looking at the programme I feel it has so much to offer, it has a structured format that I am sure will keep our young people interested and involved.
TIC: How long is your programme and how often will you meet?
Wayne: We’ll meet from November 2014 to May 2015 (with breaks over school holidays, Christmas and Easter) plus hopefully some sessions after May 2015. We plan to meet weekly for up to 90 minutes, plus a one-day retreat in November 2014. We plan to cover the first 16 sessions of the TIC Confirmation Programme in this time.
TIC: What are you doing to prepare? Both yourself, and the practical arrangements?
Kath: Wayne and I are attending Youth Ministry training provided by Southwark as well as meeting as a core group to plan and prepare ourselves for this ‘adventure’.
Sue: We’re meeting as a core group to discuss and prepare the new programme, sharing our ideas and experiences.
TIC: By the time your young people are confirmed, what would you hope to see in terms of their discipleship? How do you think you will recognise this?
Kath: We are hoping that the Confirmation date is not the end of their journey. We have planned sessions after the Confirmation date and hope the youth become active members of our parish family. That they become more visible to others and groups within the parish will accept youth volunteers to help them in their work within our parish and the wider community.
Sue: By the time they reach their Confirmation we hope the candidates will have gained the knowledge and confidence to become involved in our parish and beyond.
TIC: Do you hope to follow-up with the candidates after Confirmation? If so, how?
Wayne: Yes, we hope to complete some of the remaining sessions in May and June 2015 after the Rite of Confirmation with our young people.