BY Peter Diamond | January 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


New catechesis initiative launched to bring people back to the Faith

A day for catechists in Dundee on January 12 ended with great hope for the establishment of missionary disciples in each of Dunkeld Diocese’s 45 parishes.

Last Saturday more than 80 people attended the event hosted by Bishop Stephen Robson to launch a new initiative in a bid to bring more people back to the Faith.

Speaking after the event at the diocesan pastoral centre in Dundee, Mary O’Duffin, RE Advisor for the diocese, and Jim Leary, a trainee deacon, said the event was well received and marks the start of a renewed journey of Faith for many attendees.

Both described a great atmosphere and a real energy from within the room as speakers Bishop Robson, Ms O’Duffin and Canon Kevin Golden laid out the mission for re-evangelising people and parishes, creating a ‘school of catechesis.’

Ms O’Duffin, who gave three talks on the day, said: “Saturday’s event was very good and their was great hope throughout the day as the bishop outlined his vision and call for creating a catechetical school across the diocese.

“There appeared to be a real hunger from the participants that this was something many had been longing for sometime and we received great feedback on the day and over the course of this week.

“We have great hope for building something that is very much in God’s hands, because it is God’s work.”

The day started with morning prayer led by Canon Golden. Bishop Robson then spoke about ‘Our Shared Vision’ before Ms O’Duffin spoke about ‘The Challenge We Share’ and ‘The Way Forward.’

A Faith-sharing exercise followed where participants were asked to answer five questions. Some of the questions asked participants to list a belief that they or fellow parishioners struggled with, another asked what spiritual practice would their parish benefit from the most.

Within the sharing exercise, participants were asked to provide personal accounts of their relationship with Jesus Christ, how that relationship has grown, and their prayer life.

Welcome home

In the afternoon sessions, Canon Golden and Bishop Robson spoke about a programme called ‘Welcoming Catholics Home,’ which will help structure some of the outreach work Dunkeld will undertake over the next year.

Bishop Stephen also shared with participants his encounter with Pope Francis during the Ad Limina in September and the view of creating missionary disciples within each parish in the diocese, to form a school of catechists.

Mass was celebrated and gave participants a chance to reflect on the Gospel of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and how over the next year they too will be accompanied by Jesus on their road to becoming missionary disciples.

Jim Leary, a parishioner of St Peter and St Paul church, Dundee, is currently studying to become a deacon at Kinnoul Monastery, and attended the Dundee event.

He said: “I really enjoyed Saturday’s event. It was great initiative on behalf of Bishop Stephen, Canon Kevin and Mary O’Duffin who all spoke with real enthusiasm.

“I think from a participant’s point of view there was a brilliant atmosphere in the room and from a personal level it felt as if there was a consensus within the room that we needed this in our diocese and parishes.

“We will take this on and hope to improve on adult learning and Faith formation and appreciation.
“The pastoral room was full to the brim and it was great to see people who were asked to take part in an event like that respond with such positivity. It felt worthwhile.”

Future events

A follow-up to the event will begin on Monday February 25, with several future meetings and events planned throughout the year.

A series of Faith talks will take place over 11 Monday evenings for participants of the catechesis school and there will be guided prayer throughout lent, before a Eucharistic Congress weekend in May which will be based on providing teaching through adoration and Mass.

In September, the relics of St Therese of Lisieux, the patroness of missions will visit Dunkeld Diocese and an event will be held in October for the month of Missionaries.

It is hoped that an outreach programme will be launched in Advent of 2019 where the students of the catechesis will be able to reach out to those who are not engaged with the Church.

Ms O’Duffin added: “Everyone in the room on Saturday could think of someone they knew in their family or friendships who was no longer connected to the Church.

“I think the best way to describe it is that sitting for dinner at Christmas where friends or family are no longer there or they are absent for whatever reason and for many of us that’s what it feels like when we are at Mass.

“There are people missing that should be there and we will try to get them back but first we need to be a listening Church with a gentle heart—but we need to know the answers if they have questions and that’s what this year is about.

“We have gifts from our Baptism that are still to be unwrapped and this is about discovering them. God makes things grow and the diocese is just creating the conditions for the Faith to flourish.”

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