By John Conway
WELLMAN — “The four years just went so fast!” That comment was used most often by our faithful Sunday night Why Catholic? small group participants.
Our group of 12 parishioners from St. Joseph Parish in Wellman learned from each other almost as much as we learned from our resource material for Why Catholic?, a Scripture-based adult faith formation program. It was a metamorphic event as we slowly emerged from our “private” feelings about why we were Catholic and blossomed with openness and eagerness to ask, explore, question and absorb the faith and life of our church.
It was fortuitous that we were able to meet together at the same time. We were all at different points along the path of faith and had arrived at those points from diverse backgrounds. Some were single, some were married, some widowed, some young and some not so young. Some had 12 or more years of formal Catholic education. Some had recently converted to Catholicism.
Some had been away from the church and were in the process of “coming home” to their faith. Some were “cradle Catholics” who didn’t see much of a need to analyze the “why” of their religion. The one thing that ensured our time would be well spent was our awareness that there was so much more we could know about our church than what we did know.
We discovered that while the Catechism of the Catholic Church can seem daunting when holding the 800-plus-page volume in our hands, it is less formidable when taken in small doses of the study guides. Our comfort level gradually expanded as we built the base of understanding through discussions and following up with other resources.
Though there are no more sections of “Why Catholic?” available, our group has decided to continue meeting during the same periods of the year that we met for this program. We will be doing a structured study curriculum of the Bible. It seems a fitting tribute to the success of the “Why Catholic?” program that our group wishes to continue to grow and learn and enjoy our shared faith.
(John Conway is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Wellman.)