A New Wave of Consultation for Adult Faith Development!

Saturday, June 17th, 2006 found 67 people from all of the corners of our diocesan church gathered for a Symposium on Adult Faith Development. Archbishop Marcel Gervais opened the day with a challenge to all to develop a mature faith that has a truly catholic or universal view of the whole community and its needs, that can hold the difficult issues and questions of our time without dividing or polarizing the community, that studies issues and uses sound insight and a spirit of reconciliation to dialogue and solve problems, that is responsive and responsible.

Participants spent time sharing the results of consultations about needs in adult faith development and leadership formation they conducted in their parishes prior to the Symposium. This shaped the foundation for dialogue for the day which also included a review and re-evaluation of the original 5 aims for adult faith development that had been set 3 years ago, the theme Putting Out Into the Deep! and the organizing question, What does it mean for me to be a catholic in the world today? Participants indicated that these continue to frame our endeavours in adult faith development and leadership for the diocese for the next 3 years. It also included a summary of what has been accomplished over the first 3 years attending to the first aim for good Adult Catechesis. Much feedback was given about where to place emphasis and needs of the parish communities and the diocese as a whole.

Archbishop Gervais

Archbishop Gervais opens the day with a challenge to develop an adult faith

A panel of experts, Ms. Joanne Chafe, director of the National Office of Religious Education for the Canadian Bishops, and Professors Miriam Martin and Luc Tardif of St. Paul University provided rich and helpful insights and challenges related to adult faith development and its essential, life-giving and normative place in the Christian community. They helped the assembly root itself in the rich perspectives and guide- lines of our Churchs documents and challenged the community to, among other things, grapple with the invitation to see adult faith development as the right and duty of the community, to understand that adult catechesis has particular principles, guidelines and objectives, and that it must always be inculturated into the needs of the community.

Ms Norah Comeau and Mr. Matt Dineen, both certificate recipients form the first 3-year cycle of Adult Faith Development, added another layer to the dialogue by witnessing to their experience of adult formation.

Consultation feedback on displayed on walls

Participants peruse the rich consultation feedback posted on the walls

Participants spent some time preparing a final input about where they would like to see things in 3 years time and some recommendations for how to achieve these recommendations. This feedback will be brought back to the Adult Faith Development Advisory Committee for further consideration and to shape next steps, along with all of the other input from the consultation and the Symposium. Our three panellists provided some concluding reflections that affirmed the experience so far and encouraged the formation of adult catechists who can engage in this leadership in the parish communities, about the importance of continuing to engage in catechesis which rises up out of the dialogue and discernment of the Christian Community, and challenged the community to be open to widening the reflection and questions that are shaping and framing our endeavours.

Msgr. Kevin Beach

Msgr Kevin Beach gave a final word of thanks to all participants, and affirmed the importance of re-claiming all that it means to engage in both adult catechesis as well as attending to the need for leadership formation in our local Church.

This convivial gathering, true to the meaning of Symposium ended this important time of input, dialogue and discernment with wine and cheese to celebrate the good work of the day and all the hope it brings!

A new series of sessions in Adult Faith Development Putting Out Into the Deep! will begin in the Fall. Registrations for the Certificate in Adult Faith Development are invited. Contact Carol Kuzmochka, ckuzmochka@ecclesia-ottawa, or (613)738-5025 (x251) for information.

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