Having been baptised in the Spirit, I was drawn to a deeper prayer life. The Sacraments became more meaningful and also my interest in the Church (people). I had inner convictions as to what was more important and my sin became clearer to me, not in a shameful way but Love and Mercy go hand in hand. I had a loving Father in God who through His Son Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit would be with me.
I was going through a very difficult trial in my life and I felt doing the catechism course was an opportunity to help. I believe Faith and knowing who we are in Christ is the answer or strength to face life’s difficulties.
I saw the catechism course as a counselling session, a way to gain self knowledge , and the knowledge of God brought to a deeper understanding. It proved all of these to me, and the interaction with the other participants made it what I see our faith should be, enjoyable and fulfilling. We didn’t have all the answers but the questions gave us food for thought and a few laughs.
I am convinced of the treasure and challenge of our Catholic teaching. I was encouraged by the potential of others who hopefully would possibly bring the course to every parish supported by our priests.
Doing the assignments was my biggest challenge but it was very beneficial.
Now I need to do it again……(joke)
I believe that the new evangelisation is the greatest priority for the Catholic Church today. And I am convinced that the study of the Catechism taking place throughout Ireland today is the most important evangelising force in this country since the arrival of St Patrick. If we are to spread the good news, thus gently but firmly helping our families, our friends, our fellow parishioners to grow in faith and to renew their love for the Church and embrace the beauty of its teachings, then we need to be informed about our faith. The more I study the catechism the more I see the beauty of God’s loving plan for us His children. Every single piece of this beautiful symphony that is Catholic Church teaching is ordered for the glory of God and the good of His children. Until now I never knew what the fullness of Truth meant. Now I do and I am eager to discover more! Roll on year 2!! -Geraldine, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
Three years ago, I undertook a Catechism course which was to last for three years. My prime reason for doing the course was to help me understand and learn more about my faith. On the first evening, 23 adults sat opposite a desk where our tutor was seated. Like frightened school children we sat fearful we would be asked a question. However, this was to change as the weeks went by and as we all got to know each other.
From the outset, I realised that the course was what I needed and as time went by I actually enjoyed it. I decided to undertake the Certificate which meant that I would be assessed on my assignments. This , I was to learn, was a good decision because in order to obtain the Certificate I had to research on the various topics and as a result gain more knowledge. I would strongly suggest to future participants to undertake the Certificate as it will be of great personal benefit.
I found the course to be educational, interesting and challenging. In the group discussions , the opportunity was available to voice your opinion. It was in this forum that we actually learned from each other.
After a number of weeks it became obvious to me how little I knew about my religion and in particular the Catechism. An example of this would be the Our Father prayer. This is the ‘complete’ prayer which comes to life at every Mass. Each line of it illustrates the different part of the Mass. It is a powerful prayer. In the Catechism, there is an answer to all questions, from birth to the grave.
To conclude, I would strongly recommend that the Catechism course should be made available in all parishes. Also, I suggest that a topic from the Catechism should be included in the Homily on one Sunday in every parish in every month. This, I believe, would give much needed exposure to the Catechism and over time could be the key to unlock the heart of those who hears it, as well as remove any obstacles to embracing a spirit-led life. The course was enjoyable and informative as well as being a crutch on the journey of life. In fact, the course could be repeated with the assurance that you would learn something new from it each time. It is, in essence, the salmon of knowledge. The greatest compliment I could give the course is that I miss it and look forward to a follow-up course.
Studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church will change your life! I can promise you that. My life is so very different now two years on from starting this course. It will challenge you and make you evaluate every part of your life. It will literally open your eyes and your ears! It made me fall in love with my faith and most importantly Jesus again. I say again, because I had stopped practising my faith and had huge misgivings about our church after all the scandals to hit it in recent decades. You will put down roots in your faith. Roots that will keep you grounded when all the world seems to be questioning the Catholic faith. As a parent the responsibility of depositing the faith to our children was one of the first things I learned on this course. This course has changed all our lives. We are now a practising Catholic family and so proud to be one. We do weekly Eucharistic Adoration together, attend mass most days, are deeply involved in our local church. This is only a small example of how our lives have changed, through me studying the Catechism. We begin our final year in September which begins with the Ten Commandments. I’m dreading it (but thank God for Confession), but I’ll be there every Wednesday night.
“When I received the email advertising the Adult Studies in Catechism of the Catholic Church my husband had just completed his year of discernment to the Permanent Diaconate. Having announced the news of his vocation to family and friends, I found myself being asked many questions about our Catholic faith. What really surprised me was the fact that when asked these questions, I was not totally sure of the correct answers. So the timing of this course seemed perfect. Having completed two years, I can honestly say it has been the best adult studies course I’ve ever attended. We have a great group including our spiritual director and facilitator.
I have completed the assignments for the four modules to date, and having attended the Study day with the Further Education Programme Director I now truly feel that I am a student of the Catechism and I really look forward to completing the final two assignments to qualify for the certificate.
The greatest gift I have received from doing this course is understanding the Holy Spirit’s guiding role in our lives. I can truly say that I entrust our future into the hands of the Holy Spirit and this gives me such strength as we joyously continue on the vocation that the Lord has called us.”
We relocated to Ireland in 2013 having lived in London for many years and the previous six in Malaysia. Our Parish church was Saint Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya, Selangor run by the Jesuits. Mass attendance was high and there was a thriving youth presence. It was sad to return to an Ireland who had forgotten her Christian roots and despised her Christian heritage. I had been doing Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in Kuala Lumpur, a Protestant bible study group but wonderful, enthusiastic, bible loving people and open to all denominations. It didn’t weaken my love for my Catholic faith but made me more hungry for it. So once we were settled in Ireland I began to look for a bible study group to satisfy my desire to be around people of Faith and to explore deeper God’s Word. When you seriously look for God with a heart full of desire, He more than satisfies and in my search for a bible study group, He opened the door to an even greater quest – the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which not only includes knowing the bible but what our Church teaches, from, who shall be saved to the notion of a just war. We hear about the early Church, the Church fathers, the great doctors of the Church, Church authority/apostolic succession and the importance of Scripture and Tradition. This is a resource where you will not be taught error only how to live in right relationship to God and our neighbour. It teaches what it is to be a human person, created in the image and likeness of God, imbued with dignity and an immutable nature, the kind of knowledge that sets us free to rightly align our lives to God. As the Psalmist sings, “the precepts of the Lord, gladden the heart.”
My group is in Midleton, the Diocese of Cloyne and we are a group of people caught up in the beauty, truth and goodness of our Faith. We are fortunate to have Canon Colman O’ Donovan as our Spiritual Director, we couldn’t ask for more. Our Catholic Church is stunning in its beauty and swimming in the truth. Paragraph 1718 of the Catechism tells us about our desire for happiness; God placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to Himself who alone satisfies. St Thomas Aquinas says, “what God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth Himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.” The Catholic Church is Christ here on earth, where else can we go.
I can’t recommend the CCC enough and am so grateful to Christ for the gift of the Catholic Church, for Her teachings, doctrines, wisdom and Her job to make saints out of sinners. I am reminded also of what Pope Francis said, that “the church is not a sanctuary for saints but a hospital for the sick.”
Having been baptised into the Catholic Church, a cradle catholic I suppose you’d call it, I’ve always taken my faith for granted. I knew what the sacraments were and I lived as best I could in the most genuine way possible. However, as the years have passed and with the growth of ‘new atheism’ coupled with the mass exposure to different thought and ideologies shared on social media platforms I realised that my own foundations of faith, were not as steady as I thought. I knew God existed but I was a lot less sure about why the Church taught what it did. I’ve always encouraged my children to question everything and now I was in the position where I had so many questions myself and didn’t have the tools to find the answers. The opportunity arose for me to do the course in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. My soon to be adult son was interested in doing it and I went along to the information evening to offer him moral support. What I hadn’t envisioned was that I was going to be moved by the Holy Spirit to take the course myself. But moved I was!
I’ve now completed year one of the course and I feel like my faith has been totally transformed. The daily readings and the weekly meetings have been a joy to participate in. With a diverse group of people from all different backgrounds sharing and teasing out the texts of the catechism I can truly say that I come away each week more enriched and joyous. What I have found most since beginning the course is that I have become more open to allowing the Spirit move within me. I have taken up the challenge to become a better Catholic……a better person. It’s not, as I initially thought, about ‘rules and regulations’. It’s about love and how love is the central teaching of God and His Church and when we are motivated in the first place by love then it becomes easier to understand how everything else falls into place.
I didn’t know what to expect, and not being an academic type, expected it may have been a laborious learning of Church rules, but what a joy I felt as I found it leading me deeper in faith and closer to God. The catechism has helped me discover and understand more the beauty, depth and richness of our catholic faith. I was gladly surprised by how much Scripture was referred to in these studies. I have learned how God is calling us deeper in relationship with Him, through His Church and teachings. The structure of the study plan was an ideal guide and help for me to commit to the unfolding of this treasure. I would strongly recommend studying the catechism.