Diocesan News

Benedict XVI School of Catechesis celebrates first graduation

Registration open for next session beginning in the fall

Story by Reagan Scott

LINCOLN (SNR) – After two years of formation, the Benedict XVI Diocesan School of Catechesis celebrated the graduation of 16 students Saturday, April 24.

After their last class together, the group attended Mass celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Fabian Bruskewitz, formally received their certificates, and enjoyed each other’s fellowship at a meal and celebration in Dawson Hall.

“It was just a chance to enjoy the day and celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates,” said Father Andrew Heaslip, diocesan director of religious education.

The Benedict XVI School of Catechesis is designed to help strengthen the intellectual and spiritual formation of Catholic adults in order to empower their evangelical mission in the world.

Classes are held one Saturday a month during the school year. By the time students finish the course they will have received 96 hours of formation and come away with a firm foundation in the Catholic Faith.

The first year of the program covers the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Profession of Faith (Creed), The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (Sacraments), Life in Christ (Commandments) and Christian Prayer.

The second year of courses covers Salvation History, Spirituality, Faith and Reason and Church History.

Jeff Schinstock, director of youth ministry for the Diocese of Lincoln, taught the class on the Sacraments and co-taught the class on Salvation History with Father Heaslip, who also taught the class on the Creed.

“These classes give people the opportunity to be able to see all aspects of the faith,” Father Heaslip said.

Schinstock said all of the graduating students had come in at varying levels of knowledge and understanding of what the Church teaches, but that all came away with a desire to share their faith with others.

“It does a great job of equipping us to live that commission to go out and make disciples,” Schinstock said. “I am so impressed with their desire to take what they learned with them and go beyond just the class and give back at the parish level.”

Some of the work started by the catechists includes an apostolate for the deaf, Bible studies, a men’s group, a grief apostolate, a Sunday school program for toddlers, and one participant began teaching RCIA.

In the next session of the program, beginning in September this year, Father Heaslip hopes to further the sense of community in the program, and emphasize the missionary aspect.

“As Catholics in the world we need to be able to authentically respond to real issues that people bring to us,” Father Heaslip said.

Schinstock also mentioned the importance of community, saying that for catechesis to be most effective, evangelization and personal discussion have to be incorporated.

“It’s always good for us to go a little deeper and I think that’s best done in a community,” Schinstock said.

Both Schinstock and Father Heaslip noted that the program’s graduating class had really formed strong connections over the past two years as they learned and grew together.

In a video promoting the program, Father Sean Kilcawley, director of the diocesan Family Life Office, encouraged all who would like to learn more about the faith and go deeper in their faith to consider registering for the School of Catechesis.

He also urged catechists and those who work in ministry to consider the program to be better prepared for the deep questions that might be posed to them. There is a 25 percent discount on the cost of the program for GodTeens/CYO leaders, as well as CCD and Catholic school teachers.

The video also features Dotti Easter from Nebraska City, a registered nurse who is signed up for the program in the fall. She said she is excited to learn more about the Church’s teaching on medical ethics and morality and learn what that means for her in her daily practice as she ministers to her patients and works with her fellow nurses.

Registration is open for the next session of the Benedict XVI School of Catechesis. More information about the program, including the video with insights from students and teachers, can be found at www.lincolndiocese.org/bxvi.

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