By Mary Wieser
To mark the Year of Faith that begins today, the Diocese of Davenport is inviting all Catholics to participate in its new “Living Catholic” formation program to deepen their knowledge of and love for their faith so they can share it with others. The adult faith formation program was developed by the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., in partnership with “My Catholic Faith Delivered.” It includes opening and closing sessions at parishes, with four weeks of online learning based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Living Catholic” is an opportunity to learn the central elements of our faith in an accessible and engaging manner. Cardinal Donald Wuerl says in an online introduction to the course, “Living Catholic: Foundations for the New Evangelization,” “It is my hope that many in the Archdiocese of Washington will take advantage of ‘Living Catholic,’ to strive to live more fully as a follower of Christ… (and) to grow in our love for and knowledge of Jesus.” These are the sentiments also expressed by Bishop Martin Amos for our diocese. He wants all of our adults to have the possibility to participate.
The diocesan website www.davenportdiocese.org includes a link to the “Living Catholic” website. The program’s online learning component, which includes videos, narration, prayers and opportunities for interactive sharing of the faith, goes live today, which is the start of the Year of Faith.
“Living Catholic” is for everybody, including parish leaders, staff, volunteers and all adult parishioners. We hope parishes and schools will express an interest in participating. Our objectives are to draw participants closer to Jesus Christ and teach them the basic truths of the faith so they can grow in confidence and share their faith with others.
Many of us, as adult Catholics, don’t have a full understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches. Yet in this complex world, we are asked to make complex decisions. It’s like being asked to do algebra when we never learned the basics first. “Living Catholic” will help us build a better foundation.
The Archdiocese of Washington developed the course content and the online portion is hosted by “My Catholic Faith Delivered.” We have the flexibility to participate in the online portion at convenient times at home, with interactive components that allow participants to share their faith with other participants from their parish.
Content includes the basic Gospel message, a Bible timeline, the Creed, sacraments, morality, prayer, writing a testimony, inviting someone to church and sharing the faith. The program’s focus is to help participants deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ in the context of prayer and learning about their Catholic faith.
This is catechesis for the New Evangelization. This learning is intertwined with simple activities to help us grow in confidence in our faith and practically share it with others.
The “Living Catholic” course costs $10. The program, which will be offered in English and Spanish, requires a total of about 10 hours of time, with the four catechism-based online courses on the Creed, the sacraments, life in Christ and prayer.
Parishes that offer the program this fall can also offer it to new participants for the next 18 months, perhaps as a Lenten faith formation program. For people who complete the program and want to learn more about their faith, the diocese will make available an online Faith Foundations and Catechesis 101 adult faith formation programs through the diocesan website. We know when people start learning and discussing their faith, they want to continue.
“Living Catholic” presents a wonderful opportunity to bring Catholics to learn and speak a common language, the language of Jesus’ teaching. It is a chance to grow as a people and to know Jesus in Scripture and Tradition. This should draw us to the Eucharist with full, active and conscious and active participation.
Other formation programs:
Catechesis 101: “My Catholic Faith Delivered” and the Diocese of Sacramento have created an online course designed to help catechists develop their teaching, spirituality and methods. This course gives an overview of the deductive and inductive methods of learning and introduces a powerful catechetical method, comprised of five simple steps: preparation, proclamation, explanation, application and celebration.
Faith Foundations: presents the teachings of the faith in an interactive format through video presentations which draw heavily from Scripture. Using a mix of personal stories, prayers and discussion questions, this course makes it easy to learn and understand the Church’s teaching about topics such as the Bible, Mary, prayer, the Mass and the sacraments.
(Mary Wieser is the Davenport Diocese’s faith formation director.)