Faith Formation & Spirituality

Faith Formation and Spirituality

One of the key services offered by Parish Pastoral Support Services is the provision of faith education opportunities and faith formation resources.

The provision of access to regular adult faith formation opportunities is an important component of the services offered within the Archdiocese. The significant role that lay people play in the life and ministry of the Church requires the ongoing formation of lay leaders. In the school context this formation takes on an added urgency where lay men and women are central to the provision of the Catholic formation of the children who have been given into their care.

There is more to the development of competent Catholic leaders and teachers than simply providing them with information. University level courses are an excellent way to gain knowledge and qualifications. However, they are inherently unable to provide for the essential experiential/subjective component required to assist in the personal integration of the material studied. With this in mind, the Archbishop’s office offers faith formation opportunities (both formal and informal in nature) to help provide a link between academic knowledge on the one hand and personal experience and application to life on the other.

The Current Situation

  • Approximately ten per cent of baptised Catholics in this country practice their faith in a way that accords with a traditional understanding of Catholic practice: weekly Mass, appropriate attendance at the sacrament of Reconciliation, a deep life of prayer, a commitment to living a moral life in accord with Church teaching, and a heartfelt commitment to proclaiming the faith with which they have been gifted.
  • Many Catholics are struggling in the current environment to make sense of what they are experiencing. This impacts on their willingness to practice their faith, engage in ministry within the Church, or to allow themselves to be identified as Catholic as they engage in their baptismal mission in the world.
  • Many draw their understanding of their faith from the bits and pieces they learned as children, or from popular culture. The possible exception comes in the form of the Sunday homily for those who practice regularly.

Driving Principles in Faith Formation

  • Catholics have a right to accessible ongoing faith formation, allowing them to explore and deepen their experience of faith, and grow in their understanding of and confidence in their baptismal vocation to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world.
  • The purpose of faith formation is to take Catholic theological insight, gleaned from Catholic Tradition and the best of contemporary theological thought, and guide individuals and groups towards its integration into their personal spirituality and to the living out of their baptismal mission.
  • Faith formation has a threefold focus: 1. To assist in personal faith development. 2. To form those involved in ministry within the Church (parish councillors, sacramental coordinators, ministers of the Word and of the Eucharist etc.) towards expanding and deepening their understanding of their ministry for the service of the Church. 3. To challenge and assist all Catholics to understand and fulfil their baptismal mission to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world with their words and their lives.

Resources

Advent and Easter online programs are developed each year for individual and group use. Access to other recent faith formation and spirituality resources produced by the Archdiocese can be gained here.

Formal Faith Formation Programs

Cert IV in Christian Ministry and Theology (FaCT1)

The Faith & Catholic Theology 1 (FaCT 1) course provides an introduction to significant elements of the Catholic faith and practice. It currently consists of four Modules:

  • Introduction to Catholic Faith & Theology
  • Introduction to Understanding, Praying & Living the Scriptures
  • Introduction to Catholic Sacraments & Liturgy
  • Introduction to the Mission of the Catholic Church

For each module there is an introductory seminar, 10 weeks of guided reading, 2 discussion group sessions, and a final assessment. The introductory seminar and the discussions can be accessed remotely.

It should be noted that this is not a heavily academic program. It involves reading, reflection, writing and discussion in the company of likeminded Catholics as we journey together to a deeper appreciation of how God is at work in our lives. Click here to view our FaCT course.

Diploma in Christian Ministry & Theology (FaCT 2)

Faith & Catholic Theology 2 (FaCT 2), which builds on FaCT 1, provides a Diploma in Christian ministry and theology. FaCT 2 is planned to be offered to interested graduates of the 2014 and 2015 FaCT 1 cohorts in 2016.

Informal Faith Formation Events

Faith education seminars are held throughout the Archdiocese upon arrangement. Monthly seminars are offered at the Rheinberger Centre, corner of Weston and Loch Sts, Yarralumla. These seminars will be of interest to all participants, irrespective of educational background or faith experience.

Please view the Archdiocesan calendar for upcoming seminar dates and times.

Parish and school leaders are invited to contact Parish Pastoral Support Services to arrange the delivery of seminars in their own region, parish or school. Upon contacting Parish Pastoral Support Services, the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Faith Formation and Spirituality will be in touch with the parish or school leadership to discuss the type of faith formation event envisaged and to arrange timing, fees etc.

Please contact Mr Shane Dwyer at shane.dwyer@catholiclife.org.au or call (02) 6163 4300 to discuss options.