Growing up Catholic, my friend heard the congregation say "Thanks be to God" as "Thanks Speedy God" and assumed we were applauding the priest’s fast delivery on prayers!
I’m sure you have similar stories of misunderstandings of words and phrases in Catholic prayers and parts of the Mass. If you have grandchildren or work with introducing families to the Catholic faith I’m sure you’ve had your share of questions too, such as, ‘why do you bob down before you go into your seat?’
If are looking for a simple program to connect people with the Catholic Faith and to provide answers to some of these questions, Anne McLean and Sr Alice Sullivan from the Diocese of Bathurst, have the answer. Their forty-page booklet called Conversations about Catholics is well structured and resourced. It provides four weekly sessions of 60 to 90 minutes in length, ideally, for parents/guardians with children beginning kindergarten at a Catholic School.
The booklet includes ideas on how to gather a group, how to provide warm hospitality and how to lead the group.
One page background material for leaders ensures you will not be embarrassed if there is a ‘Catholic’ term that you are uncertain about or find it hard to explain in a simple way.
The four sessions are
- Who we are and why we are here
- A walk through the Church building
- Praying with your children
- Ritual of empowerment and encouragement
Of course, there are a thousand more things that participants could learn but this program establishes a sense of belonging amongst the group, to the school and the parish faith community. As a result, parents participate more comfortably in the rituals of the Church including Mass. For some it is a stepping-stone to the RCIA program and to reconnection with the Church. For all there is a sense of sacredness in sharing stories of meaning and faith and building community.
Conversations about Catholics is available for $25 and comes with a CD to enable easy access to the handouts for printing and distribution. Contact Sr Alice for a copy. (email@example.com)
By Andrea Dean