By Kay Cozad
“Why Catholic? Journey Through the Catechism” is a comprehensive, innovative adult formation program that began in earnest this year and is based on the four pillars of Catholic faith as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The program offers insight into prayer, core beliefs, the sacraments and morality.
Developed by RENEW International, the Catholic ministry organization that recently presented ARISE Together in Christ, the four-year program includes workshops, faith enrichment events and prayerful small group discussions that help parishioners relate Catholic teaching to their everyday lives.
Twenty-two parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend have formed small faith sharing groups through the Why Catholic? program this fall, exploring Christian prayer during this first year. The materials and format are designed to create an environment where people can dialogue about things that matter, as each session also includes relevant Scripture references, reflection questions and prayers.
Cindy Black, director of adult faith formation for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and coordinator the Why Catholic?, says the program allows parishioners of all cultures to participate as a parish community.
“It’s a unifying program,” she says. Participants meet in language specific small groups in homes or parishes.
Holy Cross Father Peter Pacini, pastor of St. Adalbert-St. Casimir Parishes in South Bend, says of the program, “Roughly 200 members of the St. Adalbert-St. Casimir community are participating in the Spanish version of the program: ¿Por Qué Ser Católico? The vast majority of them also participated in the Levántate/Arise program over the last three years. Both programs share the advantages of small faith community, where people can share and explore their experiences of God in an intimate setting of eight to 10 people. But ¿Por Qué Ser Católico? has a more catechetical focus, which could help our people to understand and live the Catholic faith more deeply.”
The over 160 participants in 17 groups of St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne are excited about the program. One member, Steve Ludwiski says, “The Why Catholic? format has given us structure, while at the same time allowed our group to be open and share at a level they feel comfortable. Each member of our group shared that they felt a calling of God searching for us.”
He relates how the program is enriching his faith, “Why Catholic? is providing a format to know God beyond just Sunday mornings. The simple, weekly action steps are helping me to come closer to God every day. Why Catholic? is giving me a better understanding of the rich Catholic tradition that my parents passed on to me. It is helping me to have God in my life every day through prayer from my heart! —Kay Cozad
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