1. Giving catechesis on the Our Father to the catechumens. In the Fifth Week of Lent, they are presented with the Lord’s Prayer as a ‘foretaste’ and reminder of the Father who will be theirs after their Baptism. What I love about our catechumens is – they really know they will become children of God the Father 🙂
2. A great Confirmation catch-up class: two brilliant, bright girls with some fantastic questions about Genesis, the historicity of the Gospels, the meaning of evil… More teenagers like this please!
3. A brilliant Catholicism session on prayer: small groups shared about their own experience of prayer, and we talked about the ‘fasting of the senses’ as a means to deepen our prayer.
4. Showing the first half of the Human Experience to our Confirmation class – a powerful film to get them thinking about the dignity of the human person and the real meaning of happiness.
5. Adoration with our First Communion children. Every term they have half-an-hour of led prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
We’re halfway through our Confirmation programme and Catechumenate, but even so, January is a great time for us all to come back to them fresh. For both, the next few months involve catechesis on sacramental life in Christ – that is, we’re trying to tie together the teaching on the liturgy and sacraments, and moral life in Christ, as much as possible. Why is this? Because we can only live a fully moral life through the grace we receive in the sacraments. The two are very interconnected. Next weekend, the Catechumenate embark on their retreat at Ampleforth Abbey to prepare them spiritually for the final stretch of catechesis before Lent. This is the time now when they will be challenged to live truly this life set before them – deeply in prayer, and authentically in moral life.
For the Confirmation candidates too, much of their moral formation we hope will be an inspiring and challenging experience for them. We use the film, The Human Experience, to root much of the moral teaching – we draw from it themes such as the dignity of the human person, what freedom is, the Beatitudes, the two greatest commandments, and the human and theological virtues. If you haven’t seen it, The Human Experience is a beautifully made, deeply inspiring film – I want to live so much better each time I watch it! We have found that rooting moral formation in some of the people and issues of the film makes it more alive and real. And following the classes, the candidates will hopefully visit the Friars of the Renewal and the Missionaries of Charity to witness the work they do with the poor. This is our plan, and I will let you know how it works with our candidates 🙂
The biggest new beginning we have this week is the first session of Catholicism, our new adult formation programme based on Fr Robert Barron’s DVD series. We’ve been so encouraged by the response to this programme – we have between 30-40 adults signed up, many young adults, from many different backgrounds and with lots of different reasons for taking part. The absolute deadline for bookings is Wednesday and at the moment, we have capacity for a few more… Come and join us! 🙂 I am really looking forward to a wonderful few weeks of deepening understanding of our faith, new friendships, and hopefully a renewed commitment to the Lord for many people. Please keep this project in your prayers!
I doubt The Human Experience will be new to most of you, but it is such a wonderful, profound film that it’s definitely worth watching more than once. I remember when I first watched it a year and a half ago, there were many quotations and comments which invited me to reflect more deeply. The film asks what it means to be human, why life is worth living, what the meaning of suffering is, what the secret to happiness is. Two brothers go in search to the answers to these questions. They spend their time over the course of a year with the poor, with people who are suffering (the homeless in New York, orphans in Peru, lepers in Ghana) so the answers they uncover are surprising. This film will make you want to live your life WELL!
We will be showing it next week to enquirers to the Catholic Faith. It is a great film for precatechumenate and evangelisation since it shows the beauty of being human, of human dignity…and today people are converted by beauty!