I attended a Maryvale Institute study day yesterday as I am enrolled on the Certificate in Catechesis course. It’s two years long, finishing for me at the end of 2013. The correct title for Maryvale being: International Catholic Distance-Learning College for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education.
These study days are as intense as they are uplifting, and I leave these sessions exhausted but itching to learn more. The aim of this course is to unpack the true teaching of the Church through knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so that as messengers we can pass on the truths of the Faith accurately. We then spend the next three months studying and submitting essays and workshop topics. There is much to cover and sticking to a recommended hour a day reading and researching is a must in order to keep up with the workload. (the content is so absorbing that I end up spending as much as 2 hours a day reading and researching, when time allows.)
We start the study day with Mass and then go straight into lectures, facilitated by an enthusiastic Catechist with many years experience under her belt. After a tea break and a delicious lunch, the two afternoon lectures are given by a visiting priest. The day concluded with Vespers (just so beautiful!!) and we felt blessed to be joined by a seminarian from the English College in Rome. Everything about the day is always just right. Not too much, not too little, just right.
Why have I decided to do this course? With the year of Faith upon us I want to be armed and ready with the Truth of our Faith when the opportunity comes along to share it. This piece sums up my feelings exactly:
The truth is that religion is important. In fact, man is religious by nature. We are created by God who made us for Himself. God is always calling us to Him, drawing us toward Him, and our hearts naturally want to respond to that call. St. Augustine famously said that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. Religion is how God calls us and how we respond. It’s how we enter into and sustain (and hopefully grow in) our relationship with God. That’s why we can say that religion is natural to man. To deny it, whether at a personal of societal level, is unnatural. We are not fully human if we are not religious. It’s also why government has to ensure its citizens the right to practice it freely. Because the right to practice religion is not given to us by the state; it is given to us by God because He made us to be religious.
As members of the Church, we have an obligation to not only learn our faith but also to help others to learn it. This is especially true for clergy and for parents who are the first teachers of the faith to the children that God has entrusted to them. As Catholics, we believe that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the faith. As human beings, we have a natural thirst for truth. But truth ultimately is not a thing or an idea; it is a person. Jesus Christ is Truth, and he who possesses truth possesses God. That of course is a lot to possess, so we always have to continue studying our faith. (fatheracervo.com)