The Catholic Parish

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet for the first time William O’Leary, Director of Religious Education at Ascension Parish in Kansas City. I have known William through Catechesis in the Third Millennium for about a year now, so it was great to meet him in real life. It goes to show – even in this enormous country, there is a myriad of links connecting Catholics – Dorian at the Art and Beauty Course happened to know William too!

When I get stressed out back home in my parish, I need to remember Ascension. They literally have hundreds of children in their catechetical programmes. When I visited, the summer formation programme was in full swing, and nearly 200 kids were coming in every day for two weeks of catechesis. Parents can choose whether to take the year-round option, or the summer-intensive option. So I got to help out with first-graders, take part in a music session, and see a fifth-grade class too.

These programmes need an army of catechists and helpers, as you can imagine, and William has done an incredible job in preparing the programme, manuals for each grade, and providing catechist formation. Every catechist had created a sacred space in their classroom.

Ultimately, it’s encouraging and exciting to see how truly ‘universal’ the Church is – how universal human nature is, too (we encounter all the same problems they do… how refreshing). How wonderful to be a Catholic and come and experience a parish thousands of miles away, with the same, universal vision for catechesis, and the same passion in implementing it. May we continue to journey together, learning from each other.

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

2 responses to “The Catholic Parish

  • javs10

    Great post, hope you’re learning a lot over there HanšŸ™‚

  • William

    Hannah,

    It was great to have you get to see our program! I loved your thoughts in the last paragraph. Big or small, America or England, the issues we face are so often the same. And also it’s great to be Catholic where no matter where you are catechists are aiming to pass on the rich deposit of faith and seeking to do it in a way that is engaging students and helping them encounter Christ!

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