By Reagan Scott
LINCOLN (SNR) – The first class for the Diocese of Lincoln’s “Benedict XVI School of Catechesis” was held in Dawson Hall at the John XXIII Diocesan Center Sept. 30.
The School of Catechesis is a two-year program of spiritual and intellectual formation for Catholic adults.
Saturday’s class was the first of four classes that will be offered once a month this fall and winter. The second semester will be a continuation of the first.
The first year of the program will focus on the “four pillars” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catechism, like the Catechism of the Council of Trent, is divided into four major parts, referred to as the “four pillars” on which the Catechism is built. They are the Creed – what the Church believes; the sacraments – what the Church celebrates; the commandments – what the Church lives; and the Our Father – what the Church prays.
In the second year, participants will learn about salvation history – how God deals with the human race; ecclesiology – studying the nature and mission of the Church; faith and reason; and Church history.
Jeff Schinstock, the director of the school of catechesis, said, “We want the participants to know God better, which will allow them to love God more and enable them to serve God in a particular way in their parish communities.”
Instructors for the program include Father Andrew Heaslip, diocesan director of religious education, who came up with the program’s curriculum, Schinstock, JD Flynn and Father Joseph Faulkner. Planned guest speakers will include Bishop James Conley and Father Sean Kilcawley.
Saturday’s course began with Mass in the morning, as it will every day during the program. Following the Mass, participants attended the first of three sections that will be a part of every class.
Each section includes readings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and some include supplemental readings written by Pope Benedict XVI, the program’s patron, when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
“I’m looking forward to the program, and I’m glad that we chose the patronage of Pope Benedict XVI,” Father Heaslip said. “The center of the program is the Catechism of the
Catholic Church, but we’re looking forward to using the works of Cardinal Ratzinger to help elaborate.”
Taught by Father Heaslip, the first section is entitled: “The Profession of Faith (Creed).” On Saturday, Father Heaslip was able to give an introduction to the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and discuss “Man’s Capacity for God.” After a short break, he spoke on the topic of Revelation, Scripture and Tradition.
The second section, “Life in Christ (Morality),” is taught by Father Faulkner, pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wahoo. On Saturday, he gave an introduction to morality and discussed the human person, focusing on freedom, sin and concupiscence.
After a break for lunch provided through the program, there was time for half an hour of adoration before the final section of the day began.
Schinstock and Flynn will teach “The Celebration of the Christian Ministry (Sacraments)” together this semester. Saturday’s class included an introduction to the sacraments given by Flynn, followed by a more in-depth discussion on baptism and confirmation with Schinstock.
At the end of the day, Schinstock gave the students an important assignment, to start their own apostolate.
He said, “We want to take them out of themselves and to push them out in their own Christian way.”
After receiving such a positive response to the program, Father Heaslip is excited to see its fruits in the 36 participants.
He said, “We’re hoping to give a more mature faith for those who attend. Not just knowledge of facts, but knowledge of Christ.”
More information is available at www.lincolndiocese.org under “Religious Education” and “Evangelization and Formation.”
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