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.