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An introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:Do you know why there is a Catechism?

I came across this video here. The CCC is such an important document, that all Catholics should own one. This comprehensive video gives you the reasons why it’s a good idea and is explicit in its content with regard to why and how it was put together.

The Catholic Faith is explained in detail in the CCC, and warrants further discussion within a parish group context.

 

 

School of Faith.

A super opportunity to get to learn more about the Catechism of the Catholic Church from experts in their fields. I found biographic for some of the speakers. Most impressive!

A new study course on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the Year of Faith

9 January – 23 March 2013 at the Centre for Catholic Formation at  Tooting Bec.

Join us from January on Wednesday evenings for a light supper,to hear expert and dynamic speakers, and to join in small group discussions culminating with two lectures during the day on Saturday 23 March.

Speakers:

Archbishop Peter Smith – Archbishop of Southwark

Archbishop Peter Smith

Archbishop Peter Smith

Bishop Philip Egan – Diocese of Portsmouth

Bishop Philip Eagen

Bishop Philip Eagen

Dr. Petroc Willey – Biography: studied theology at King’s College, London and philosophy at Liverpool University, where he received his doctorate in moral philosophy. He later gained his STL from the Pontifical University, Maynooth. From 1985-1992, he was Lecturer in Christian Ethics at Plater College, Oxford. He has worked at Maryvale since 1992.

Dr. Petroc Willey

Dr. Petroc Willey

 

Msgnr Keith Newton

Mgr Keith Newton is the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Born on in Liverpool in April 1952, Mgr Newton was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1976. He was ordained an Anglican bishop on 7 March 2002 serving as Suffragan Bishop of Richborough and Provincial Episcopal Visitor in the Province of Canterbury 2002-2010.He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on 15 January 2011 by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. On the same day he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the first Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Fr Tim Finigan – Blog- The Hermenuetic of Continuity

Fr. Tim Finigan

Fr. Tim Finigan

Sr Judith Russi 

Sr. Judith Russi

Sr. Judith Russi

Consultant at EDUCARE M: Teacher of Religious Education and Drama. Taught across a wide range of schools at both primary and secondary levels in rural and inner city situations. Author of a series of texts and resource books including RE, Worship, Circle Time and resources for spiritual, moral, social and cultural education and citizenship for primary and secondary schools. Worked for the Archdiocese of Westminster for 18years as an Education Adviser and Inspector. Has specialized in providing training for schools on articulating the vision and mission for Catholic schools today.  Assists in the formation and training for leadership in Church schools.

Fr Stephen Wang : Blog- Bridges and Tangent

Fr. Stephen Wang

Fr. Stephen Wang

 

Fr Kevin Hale parish priest from Our Lady of Lourdes and St, Joseph, Leigh-on-sea, Essex

Fr Kevin Hale

Fr Kevin Hale

Mgr John ArmitaMsgnr. John ArmitageFr David Gibbons – Director of the Diocesan Centre for Catholic Formation

Fr. David Gibbons

Fr. David Gibbons

He has degrees in Classics from Durham University (BA) and in Theology from Oxford University (MA), as well as Post-graduate Certificates in Education and in Theology. In addition to his responsibilities at the CEC, he is Chairman of the Art and Architechture Committee of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission and serves on the Ongoing Formation of Priests Committee.

Dr Caroline Farey:  

Dr. Caroline Farey

Dr. Caroline Farey

B.A.(Hons), M.Phil(Cantab), M.A.(Theol), STB, Ph.L, S.T.L, Ph.D(Lateran).
Job Title: Academic Assistant to the Director for Ecclesiastical Development,   Head of Catechetical Formation   Course Director BA Applied Theology(Catechesis), Course Director License in Catechetics, Reader in Catechetics.

Canon John Redford:

Canon John Redford

Canon John Redford

Senior Lecturer in Sacred Scripture, St.John’s Seminary Wonersh, 1970-82

Director, Southwark Diocesan Catechetical Centre, Tooting Bec, London, 1982-86
Editor, The Universe Newspaper Supplement Faith Alive, 1986-87
Director, the Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Maryvale Institute Distance Learning Degree, 1988-2008
Director, Master of Arts in Catholic Theology, Maryvale Institute, 2008-current
Director, Master of Arts in Apologetics, 2010-current

 

For any enquiries or general questions about this course, please use the link below.

Follow this link to the website of the Centre for Catholic Formation where you can register for the course.

Telephone Numbers:   
Tooting Bec Offices: 020 8672 7684
Facsimile: 020 8672 8894
West Malling Office: 01732 842839

E-mail Addresses:

Office: office@ccftootingbec.org.uk
Bookshop: bookshop@ccftootingbec.org.uk

…the mother of giants.

I’ve been wrestling with the challenges propositioned  by the virtue of Humility for some time now.  This journey of discovery has proved to be a rocky road with its fair share of pot-holes, hard knocks and falls which results in bruised feelings, denial and finally much introspection.

Today I attended a retreat day which was facilitated by Maryvale.  I ‘m busy working towards a certificate in Catechesis and part of the course demands that we students attend a retreat day. What bliss! To say that I’m happy to be working my way through this course would be an understatement. The course materials, course facilitators and amazing guest priests speakers stretch my thinking, and plant little seeds of knowledge that encourages my Faith to grow little by little and then grow some more. Today’s experience has been no exception to the rule. What never ceases to amaze me is the visiting priest:- his gifts are so unique, so well-developed and authentic that I cannot fail to be inspired by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and not least of all, his love for Christ.  Today I met a philosopher… I’ve always wanted to meet a philosopher!…who happens to edit the Catholic magazine, ‘Faith‘. Someone who debates and discusses faith and reason with the likes of Peter Atkins on one hand, and on the other cares for the spiritual well-being of the dying and the infirm  at two Catholic hospices in London. He is also someone who will spend his Saturday sharing his wisdom, experience and Faith to the likes of a mere mortal such as I!!!

The humility of these priests is tangible and exemplary. Many of these men have doctorates and have written thesis or have conquered many years of study and yet, I continue to be struck dumb by their ‘ordinariness’. Their focus is on the Lord and His work. That is their job. Their love. And I in turn love and respect them for their dedication in caring for a sinner such as I.

Today I was enticed to think more deeply about what it means to  ‘submitting intellect and will to God,’ to, ‘submit freely to the Word…amidst the gales and deluges this life on earth throws in our path’. And then I made the connection: to submit totally to God in everything , everything, is to understand the cornerstone  of the mother of the giant of all virtues-

H U M I L I T Y! If I can freely submit my intellect and will to the Word, to God, I’ll be journeying on a well-lit road that leads to love, and freedom from the trappings of the world we live in. How apt I thought, that I’ll celebrate the  feast of Christ the King tomorrow with a new understanding of this mega-virtue called humility.

Intellect without Will is dead. The Word needs to be put into action. Holiness involves the Intellect and Will. I seek holiness.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.  Philippians 2: v3-5

A bit of reading to do during the Year of Faith.

Papa Bene has asked that the faithful read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

  • Everything that the Church believes is  contained in this impressive publication. If you’d prefer to receive bite-size chunks at a time, click on the link on the left of this block and sign up for daily mails from flocknote. Not an easy read, but amazing just the same.
  • YOUCAT is a new publication aimed at teenagers. Both available at any reputable bookshop. Click on the link and take a look at the resources available on-line.  Hip, happening and user-friendly! Irresistible ..This is how our Pope introduced this publication to the youth: (my emphasis)

Today I recommend for your reading an unusual book. It is unusual both because of its content and because of the way it came to be. I would like to tell you a little about how it was written, because then it will be clear why it is so unusual.

You could say that it came to be from another work, whose origins go back to the 1980’s. It was a difficult time for the Church and for society worldwide. New guidance was needed to find the path to the future. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and in a changed cultural situation, many people were confused about what Christians actually believe, what the Church teaches, whether in fact she can teach anything at all, and how everything can find its place in a culture that had changed from its very foundations. Is it still reasonable today to be a believer? These were the questions that even good Christians were asking.

At that time Pope John Paul II made a bold decision. He decided that bishops from all over the world should together write a book in which they would answer these questions. He gave me the task of coordinating the work of the bishops and seeing to it that from the contributions of the bishops a book would result—a real book, not just a haphazard collection of all sorts of documents. This book would have the old-fashioned title Catechism of the Catholic Church but would be something entirely new and exciting. It would show what the Catholic Church believes today and how one can with good reason believe.

I was alarmed by this task. I must admit that I doubted whether something like this could succeed. For how was it possible that authors scattered all over the world could together produce a readable book? How could men who not only geographically but also intellectually and spiritually lived on different continents create a text with an inner unity, one that would also be understandable throughout all those continents? And there was the further difficulty that these bishops would not be writing as individual authors but would be in contact with their brother bishops and with the people in their dioceses.

I must admit that even today it still seems to me to be a miracle that this project finally succeeded.’
Furthermore…he expounds after discussing the process by which he and Pope John Paul worked on the Catechism : (my emphasis)

So I invite you: Study this Catechism! That is my heartfelt desire.

This Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life. It places before you the Gospel message as the “pearl of great value” (Mt 13:46) for which you must give everything. So I beg you: Study this Catechism with passion and perseverance. Make a sacrifice of your time for it! Study it in the quiet of your room; read it with a friend; form study groups and networks; share with each other on the Internet. By all means continue to talk with each other about your faith.

You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if your faith is not going to dry up like a dewdrop in the sun, if you want to resist the blandishments of consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless.
If you are now going to apply yourselves zealously to the study of the Catechism, I want to give you one last thing to accompany you: You all know how deeply the community of faith has been wounded recently through the attacks of the evil one, through the penetration of sin itself into the interior, yes, into the heart of the Church. Do not make that an excuse to flee from the face of God! You yourselves are the Body of Christ, the Church! Bring the undiminished fire of your love into this Church whose countenance has so often been disfigured by man. “Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord!” (Rom 12:11). When Israel was at the lowest point in her history, God called for help, not from the great and honored ones of Israel, but from a young man by the name of Jeremiah. Jeremiah felt overwhelmed: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jer 1:6). But God was not to be deterred : “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak” (Jer 1:7).
I bless you and pray each day for all of you.

Benedictus P.P. XVI

 Youcat website

 

THIS IS AN EXCERPT OF THE INTRODUCTION TO THE COMPENDIUM ON THE VATICAN WEBSITE:

”The Compendium is not a work that stands alone, nor is it intended in any way to replace the Catechism of the Catholic Church: instead, it refers constantly to theCatechism by means of reference numbers printed in the margins, as well as by consistent reliance on its structure, development and contents. In fact, theCompendium is meant to reawaken interest in and enthusiasm for the Catechism,which, in the wisdom of its presentation and the depth of its spirituality, always remains the basic text for catechesis in the Church today.

Like the Catechism, the Compendium has four parts, corresponding to the fundamental laws of life in Christ.

The first part, entitled “The Profession of Faith”, contains a synthesis of the lex credendi, the faith professed by the Catholic Church, as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed which is further elaborated by the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. In the liturgical profession of the Creed, the Christian assembly keeps the principal truths of the faith alive in memory.

The second part, entitled “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery”, presents the essential elements of the lex celebrandi. The proclamation of the Gospel finds its authentic response in the sacramental life, through which Christians experience and witness, in every moment of their existence, the saving power of the paschal mystery by which Christ has accomplished our redemption.

The third part, entitled “Life in Christ”, recalls the lex vivendi, through which the baptized manifest their commitment to the faith they have professed and celebrated, through their actions and ethical choices. The Christian faithful are called by the Lord Jesus to act in a way which befits their dignity as children of the Father in the charity of the Holy Spirit.

The fourth part, entitled “Christian Prayer”, summarizes the lex orandi, the life of prayer. Following the example of Jesus, the perfect model of one who prays, the Christian too is called to the dialogue with God in prayer. A privileged expression of prayer is the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus has taught us.”

Learning The Faith. Sharing The Faith. Living the Faith.

 

Stained Glass window at Maryvale, Birmingham, at the shrine of The Sacred Heart.

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)

 

Images speak a thousand words. What do you think?

A voyage of Discovery!

The following prayer accompanies the image of the Year of Faith on our bulletin:

Bestow upon me, O God,
an understanding that knows You
wisdom in finding You
a way of life that is pleasing to You
perseverance that faithfully waits for You
and confidence
that I shall embrace You at the last.
Prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas before study.

Year of Faith CATECHIST

Take a little time to think about what these images are telling us about the coming Year of Faith. My immediate response to the top picture is,’ Surely every year should be the year of Faith?’ My next immediate thought is,’The Church never does anything without good reason!’

There is a need for resting Catholics to discover the Truths and beauty and fullness of their Faith and to get closer to the Lord in Holy Communion.

What is your parish doing in the Year of Faith?

Please share what your parish is initiating for the coming Year of Faith? Our newsletter today includes numerous invitations that were publicised at the beginning of the Summer holidays:

1. ‘If you’re not a Catholic, or have not yet been Confirmed, and would like to explore the Catholic Faith as an adult then come on Thursday evenings’. EVENGELIUM: Come and find our what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. No strings, no commitments (at this stage), just come and see, and/or bring a friend.

2. Take A Stand is a Catholic Youth initiative for 14-30 year olds, meeting once a month and welcoming Young Catholics in neighbouring Parishes, getting involved in its main activities of YouCat(the Youth Catechism), building international solidarity among young Catholics and providing inspiration on a day to day basis.

Youcat

Youcat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

www.takeastand1.weebly.com

Take A Stand started at World Youth Day, Madrid 2011 where millions of young Catholics were inspired by the WYD theme ‘Firmes a la Fe’, standing firm in the Faith.

XXVI World Youth Day

XXVI World Youth Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 We were among them. Returning to the United Kingdom, we were inspired by the goal of learning the Catechism of the Catholic Faith (Youcat) spreading the message to others and becoming faithful followers of the Lord Jesus. TAKE A STAND has grown into a vibrant network, organising regular events and continually seeking to find new, innovative ways of evangelisation.

3. The Year of Faith starts on 11th Oct. Every Catholic home needs a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or

the Compendium or You Cat. All our homilies & activities will link with this.

4. If you’re a Catholic who wants to deepen your Catholic Faith during the Year of Faith- none of us should miss this opportunity – then come on 5 consecutive Fridays (or those that you can manage) 8 – 9.30pm, upstairs in the Pastoral Centre starting on 21st September 2012. CATHOLICISM

Image@EWTN.com

The Catholic Connection: Part 3

The earliest Christian symbol: @1catholicsalmon

All my life have I been steeped in Catholic Tradition but I ‘ve taken it for granted, merrily assimilating them as part of the Catholic me.  I have always known the shepherd is symbolic of Christ. I can’t even remember when I acquired this knowledge. I never questioned why or where it originated. Well, on my trip to Rome I realised just how much Tradition is part of the Catholic Faith. It rests on it firmly and unequivocally, as far back as the times the time of our ancestors in the Old Testament!

I attended part of a course on Catechises (that of passing on of the Faith) at Maryvale College, in which the above symbol was presented as a matter of course during discussion.  It was pointed out as being the symbol present on the cover of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This changed my perception of the symbol: a simple picture of a shepherd with his sheep, used to grace the cover of the document outlining the Tradition of the Church? It must be of much significance then!

Well, it is.

On the inside cover of the CCC is this explanation for the use of the symbol:

‘The design of the logo on the cover is taken from a Christian tombstone in the catacombs of Domitilla, in Rome, which dates from the end of the third century A.D. This pastoral image, of pagan origin, was used by Christians to symbolize the rest and the happiness of that the soul of the departed finds in eternal life

This image also suggests certain characteristics aspects of the Catechism: Christ, the Good Shepherd who leads and protects his faithful (the lamb) by his authority (the Staff), draws them by the melodious symphony of the truth (the panpipes and makes them lie down in the shade of the ‘tree of life’, his redeeming Cross which opens paradise.’

Image@http://www.vatican.va

On this trip to Rome, I didn’t get to the catacombs of Domitilla, but did visit the catacombs of St Calistus. The photograph above,  is of this wonderful symbol used by the Christians of ancient Rome to communicate their affinity with Christ and with one another. As it was used as pagan symbol the adoption of it by the Christian communities in Rome ensured that they would meet safely to participate in the Eucharist without fear of reprisal or capture.

The objective of this post? To point out that the links to Catholic Connection Tradition runs deep and wide. It is far reaching and extensive. I experienced it in the garden and catacombs of fellow Christians who have gone before me.

Take a little time to unearth them  and see for yourself.

I give thanks and pray about this as written by St Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:3:

‘We are indebted to give thanks to God for you always, my brethren, as it is necessary, because your faith grows all the more and the love of each and every one of you increases toward his neighbour.’

Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 96

96 ‘ What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.’

The Faith of the Catholic Church.

I have returned from a wonderful life-changing, eleven day experience in Rome.  I found this quotation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: perfect for  ‘beginning at the beginning’, as a way in to describing how my understanding of Christ’s command to the Apostles has been carved into the paths, cobble stones, buildings , dungeons, churches and history of Rome. The seat of Christianity. 

Uncomfortable.

 

Image @knowhislove.com

Alleged private revelations have occurred throughout the history of the Church and continue to occur today. Many Catholics are confused about the status of such events. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private revelations’, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith” [para. 67]. The only way that Catholics can avoid being led astray in the matter of alleged private revelations is to be completely docile, humble and obedient to the Church’s legitimate declarations at all times.

Perhaps the most persistent local ‘apparition’ of recent times is that of ‘Our Lady of Surbiton.’ Operating as the Divine Innocence Trust, it has been the subject of many reports in the secular press over the years, including a very sympathetic article in The Spectator early in 2002. Its founder, Patricia de Menezes, lays claim to 2,000-3,000 followers in 42 countries. Patricia alleges that around 1984 she began seeing the Virgin Mary and Jesus in a pine tree located in a new housing development in Surbiton, south London, where, she says, Our Lady continues to appear to her at 12 noon Monday-Friday and 9pm on weekends. She also claims to have been personally catechised by Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Official Response
The then Ordinary with competency in this matter, Archbishop Michael Bowen, declared that Patricia’s messages are not of supernatural origin. It has also been categorically stated by Archbishop’s House, Southwark that Patricia’s messages are not being examined by the relevant Congregation in Rome with a view to eventual approval. Official representatives of Divine Innocence have been less than honest about this when contacted. A phone call was made to Divine Innocence querying the official position, and the representative stated “The (local) bishop hasn’t conceded yet. It’s all gone to Rome now, so we’re just waiting…”. Other inquirers have also been given this sort of information – or more correctly, misinformation – as there is nothing to wait for. Patricia’s works are not being examined by the relevant Congregation in Rome.

Patricia and her followers often make much of the fact that her writings have been well received by certain theologians, but any opinions offered by these theologians, no matter how positive in tone, are only their private opinions and as such are of no consequence in this matter. It would be very misleading of anyone to claim otherwise. In recent years, many renowned theologians supported the fraudulent ‘seer’ Vassula Ryden, until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith officially stated that her messages contained error and could not be considered to be of supernatural origin. 

What I find really disturbing is the Divine Innocence followers continue to ‘believe’ and exist without the Pope’s blessing! This already throws doubt on the authenticity of the group. Move askance  from the Pope and the Magistarium, and do so in error and at great risk.

I have had direct contact with this group over a number of years and they are definitely set themselves apart from  mainstream Catholics. Their way of life is very conservative with seemingly little contact with anyone outside of the group. The children are cosseted and ‘protected’ from secular activities deemed unsuitable for young children. There are many of them. The women present as having an inferior role in parenting the children to those of men. They are a close-knit group that seem suspicious of anyone outside of their ideals.

Surely we should be in society to make a change in society?

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