WHAT IS FAITH FORMATION?
Faith Formation is more than just Adult Education or a series of Faith Enrichment classes. Rather, Faith Formation is, ultimately, the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and practical preparation for our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ sent out in to the world to spread the Good News of Salvation and work for the transformation of the world.
As men and women who have been baptized into the very death (and life) of Christ (Rom 6:3-4), we have a critical role to play in His mission of salvation to the world. As Jesus said:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
This command to make disciples was not simply given to the Twelve, but to the whole Church, lay and ordained alike. Each of us has been sent out by Christ to carry on His mission of salvation. In fact, the word "mission" originally meant the "act or instance of being sent," and it is linked to the word we use for the Celebration of the Liturgy of Christ's Sacrifice, "Mass." Therefore, being sent out intimately connects to our experience worshipping at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. By offering our very lives to God and uniting this sacrifice with Christ's one sacrifice of Himself to the Father, we bring the world (with it's joys and hopes, its brokenness and pain) to the Eucharist. Strengthened by His Body and Blood, we then bring this Eucharist back out into the world.
As lay people, we are apostles (literally 'sent ones') called especially to be Christ for the world-to proclaim the Gospel of Salvation in word and deed, evangelizing individuals as well as our culture, and seeking their transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also called to give of our very selves (our talent, experiences, and spiritual gifts) to work toward changing the structures of society in order to render them more truly just and human.
Because of our baptismal call to serve the world, lay men and women require formation that is equal to the dignity of this call. As we grow our Faith Formation opportunities here at St. Mary's, we will insure that they help all parishioners:
- Deepen their relationship with Christ and live as intentional disciples
- Understand what the Church teaches and why
- Apply that teaching to their life in the world
- Become effective witnesses in the world to the Gospel of Christ
Adult Faith Formation Group
Adult faith formation is the means by which people consciously grow in the life of Christ through experience, reflection, prayer and study, [and] must be "the central task in (this) catechetical enterprise," becoming "the axis around which revolves the catechesis of childhood and adolescence as well as that of old age."
These words were written by the Bishops of the United States in order to awaken a passion for renewal in the ministry of adult faith formation in our country. Adult faith formation takes place in a multiplicity of ways in parishes.
In fact, every parish activity and event can become an occasion for adult faith formation. The renewed focus on adult faith formation is not only exciting but it addresses a critical need in today's world as Catholic adults seek to understand their faith, discover its relationship to their lives and find their way to Christ.
R.C.I.A.: The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation is designed for adults who wish to become full members of the Catholic Church. The RCIA process is for non-Catholics who wish to become Catholic, and for those Catholics who have been baptized, but have not received First Communion or Confirmation. Programs begin in September or October and end a few weeks after Easter.
Few people realize there is a connection between Christopher Columbus and the Holy Spirit. "Christopher" means "Christ Bearer" and "Columbus" comes from the Latin word meaning "dove" which is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. True to his name, Columbus was a bearer of Christ to the New World. Under his leadership, perseverance, and many hardships and ocean expeditions, the Gospel came to the West-ern Hemisphere. The Knights of Columbus continue this strong witness to our Catholic faith through their many charitable projects on behalf of the needy, unborn, retarded, youth, and our great country. They offer scholarships, loans, and insurance programs for Catholics, and, in some are-as, they sponsor catechism courses. Socials, breakfasts, din-ners, and clothing drives are also conducted. Their founder, Fr. Michael McGivney, is under consideration for beatification. You can learn more about the Knights of Columbus from books in our Spiritual Center Library or stop in at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Crystal Lake Ave. in Haddon Township on a Monday or Friday evening. All Catholic men are invited to join. It is the largest global Catholic mens' service organization and often praised by the Vatican for their excellent contributions on behalf the Church.