We are into week four of the Catholicism series, and I wanted to share with you how it’s going. In the week leading up to the first session on January 12th, each day brought new surprises. The phone was ringing off the hook and the emails were going mad. At the beginning of the week we had around 30 wanting to take part in the course; by the end of Thursday we had 94! The number continued to rise – we now have just under 100. We had to send to the States for more study binders which thankfully have arrived now which gives our photocopier a breather. In this last week before we started, not only was I trying to stay afloat of the admin involved, I also needed to rope in more small group leaders and give them last minute training. Thankfully God provided: we have some wonderful leaders.

I’m happy to say the course is being hugely blessed. The first night there was quite a bit of excitement around buying Catechisms and, for many, delving in for the first time. The DVDs are an all-round hit, although I would say that for most people the content needs some unpacking. We do this in a ten-minute catechesis after the episode either given by myself or Deacon James Bradley. The small groups have been working well too, with everyone benefitting a lot from the discussion but in agreement that there simply isn’t enough time to discuss as much as they’d like. We have given this thought, and decided it’s better for people to come away wanting more than make the evening unmanageably long.

What has struck me most is the desire in people to know their faith. This has not been taken seriously enough in our Church. A young woman told me in the pub afterwards that her eyes had been opened to how much she simply didn’t know. People speak of how nourishing the material is and how it makes them hungry for more. We had to start a blog in order to answer all the questions being asked each week. One man has already decided he would like to become a Catholic.

I don’t want to detract from these good fruits; I would just like to make an observation: If these are the fruits one course can reap in one small corner of London, why are we not making more of a priority of adult formation in our Church? I admit it – I am angry when I see the budgets given for disability awareness or for social justice when the work done in the sphere of adult catechesis is negligible. Adult catechesis is treated as a luxury when it should be a normal part of every adult lay Catholic’s life. Courses like this should not be a novelty, they should be very ordinary. The Church’s task is to teach and sanctify her members, but when I teach after the episode each week, I know that the only teaching most of these people have ever received in their faith is the homily at Mass each week, since they were a teenager. That is why they don’t know the basics of their faith: let’s not sweep this under the carpet – it is a scandal.

To end on a positive note: this is a wonderful course, and a great gift to the barren desert of adult catechesis in our country.

About transformedinchrist

I live in Southsea and work for the Diocese of Portsmouth. My first love is for catechesis and evangelisation: until January 2013, I worked for a busy, thriving parish in south London coordinating the catechesis - sacramental programmes and adult formation. In November 2013, I completed my MA in catechetics at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. View all posts by transformedinchrist

7 responses to “Catholicism

  • James Bradley

    “…barren desert” – pun intended?

  • berenike

    “, I know that the only teaching most of these people have ever received in their faith is the homily at Mass each week, since they were a teenager”

    Yes! Which is why it the more frustrating that the homily at Mass each week is usually (if one is lucky, as I am ) a fervorino, with at most a drop of moral doctrine in it! I wish my PP read English.

  • Alan and Angeline

    Dear Transformed in Christ

    We’ve just been shown your blog by a friend who has been hosting a small group watching Fr. Barron’s Catholicism series in Chester. This is indeed a splendid resource and it is good to read of the way grace is drawing people to your study group!

    You also make many true points in this blog-post.

    Good on you for setting up this blog – and with beautiful Fra Angelico images too!

    In Christ
    Alan and Angeline

  • Father Robert Barron tours England to present ground-breaking “Catholicism” series |

    […] Here is a catechist’s account of the success of “Catholicism” in the Southwark diocese. Share this:TwitterFacebookDiggRedditStumbleUponEmailMorePrintLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Catholic Culture, Church Teachings and tagged Catholic Teaching, Catholicism series, Father Robert Barron, Word on Fire. Bookmark the permalink. ← Papua New Guinea – Sisters struggle against forced marriage and child trafficking: Aid to the Church In Need. […]

  • Hidden One

    Even penny-pinchers should realize that money spent on good adult catechesis – a spectacular spiritual investment – is also a good fiscal one.

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