Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As a Church, in these past 50 years we have struggled in handing on our faith. As much as we try in our schools and religious education programs, it has been becoming harder and harder to help young people see the importance of faith and how it is a foundation in their lives that will support them in all they do. In particular we have tried to make the faith simpler and more relatable, but the only result has been that so many have not been taught the most basic beliefs of what we believe and why. I am sure even among those who are involved in the Church, we can feel like there is so much we do not understand.
Many of you may remember the very different days of the Baltimore Catechism:
Who made the world? God made the world. Who is God? God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things. What is man? Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God. Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.
The benefit of those times was that the faith was clear and direct. We were given all the questions and the answers that we needed. Of course the trouble, and I do not doubt the reason why there was a desire for change, was there could be a rigidity and disconnect from lived experience. The faith should be personal as well – though going to that other extreme has proven just as unsuccessful.
Like most things, our challenge is to find that healthy balance. We have the responsibility of learning about our faith, but not just as a textbook exercise, rather in a way that transforms us and impacts our everyday lives. We must know not only what being a Catholic means, but also how it translates in our daily decision-making.
You will see in the bulletin that this November I will be offering a couple of sessions called “Stump the Priest.” It is something I have done in the past, and it has proven to be a great opportunity for people to come together and grow in their knowledge of the faith in this balanced way. I begin by briefly offering some basic tenets of our faith, and the rest of the session is an opportunity for all of us to explore those tenets and ask questions which we may personally struggle with. The hope is that it creates an environment where people are comfortable asking any questions, simple or complex, and where they feel free to bring forward any misgivings which may be holding them back from a deeper relationship with Christ. I hope to see many of you in the Church at 7:30PM on the 8th or 14th!
Yours in Christ,