Tag Archives: Dr Petroc Willey

The Year of Faith

I am already excited about the Year of Faith. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published a Note with proposals for living the Year. It is a great Note, with some very concrete suggestions for everyone from the universal Church to episcopal conferences, and from dioceses to parishes. What is significant is the frequent mention of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (woo hoo!), given that the Year of Faith begins on the twentieth anniversary of its promulgation. Catechesis is at the heart of the Year of Faith and the Church in this country is like a dry land when it comes to catechesis… Although for the most part she does not know she is dry.

Faith in Christ brings healing and life - From a Roman catacomb, 3rd Century

So, what gifts does God want to give the Church in this Year of Faith, and how best can we be disposed to receive and respond to them?

There are some more general proposals, such as for each diocese to review its reception of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (and this means both its structure and content) particularly in its catechesis. Two big areas arise here – both the materials we use, in schools and parishes; and the theological formation received by our catechists. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful sign if dioceses took this particular call seriously? Not just ticking a box – but looking at the real need for catechetically sound materials and authentic, theological formation of catechists.

I would love to hear your own ideas for the Year of Faith! Here are two very practical suggestions I have taken from the CDF’s note:

1. It is desirable that each Diocese organise a study day on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, particularly for its priests, consecrated persons and catechists. I hope Dr Petroc Willey will be in high demand in this Year of Faith to teach such days – his knowledge of the Catechism is second-to-none (perhaps to the Holy Father 🙂 ) – he is truly an expert on this book and this doesn’t seem to be recognised enough.

2. The Note calls for groups of the faithful to work towards a deeper understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Again, Maryvale offers a fantastic Certificate in Studies in the Catechism which would be a superb undertaking for groups of lay people in parishes.

What other ideas do you have? Both within dioceses and within parishes?


Maryvale

If you haven’t heard, there’s been some wonderful news for Maryvale this week: Petroc, or “Professor Willey” as the Americans love to call him, has been selected as one of fifteen consulters to the new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation 🙂 More details here. If you’ve had anything to do with Maryvale, you will know that their catechetical work is second-to-none in this country – far surpassing the quality of any other formation in catechetics you could receive. The time is long overdue for dioceses and other centres of formation in this country to use Maryvale for formation of their lay people – something which we all know there is an enormous need for, and which Maryvale does so well. Recently I gave a lecture at St Patrick Evangelisation School in Soho, and the students commented that there was “something special” about the teachers they had who had studied at Maryvale.

Speaking of catechetical formation: The Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis, a two-year, distance-learning course, will begin in January in New Malden, a local centre for Maryvale. This course is an excellent formation for catechists in both content and methodology, and is approved by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. All parish catechists would benefit enormously from this course. A lady I know who began it last year in Ealing told me how impactive it has been on her growth in faith and her vocation as a catechist. I am trying to get a little group of our catechists together to begin this course. We already have three this year completing the certificate in RCIA catechesis. If you, or catechists you know, want formation that nourishes the mind and heart, and forms them thoroughly for the mission of catechesis, get in touch with Carol Harnett at Maryvale (mcc@maryvale.ac.uk) to find out about beginning the course in January.