Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
I am writing to share with you about my two year journey at the Catechetical Institute. My hope is that as you read this you will open your hearts to let the Holy Spirit in and your ears will hear what the Spirit might tell you.
In the spring of 2014 I heard about the Catechetical Institute (CI) and the in-depth study of the Catechism. I had been doing some adult formation classes but was feeling inside that I needed something that went deeper. So, I looked into the CI but realized I has missed the deadline to submit applications. Then a few weeks later there was a blurp in our bulletin saying the deadline had been extended. I got excited, but hesitant. Then I learned that the name of the class was St. Gianna Molla and I knew that I had to apply. I have adored St. Gianna and all that she stood for…..it was God calling me. After my excitement subsided my belly got nervous. I had tried to read the Catechism before and it didn’t go so well. It is a very thick book with lots of pages! But I had to go. I was committed. Father Zehren had to write me a recommendation letter – I couldn’t back out. It is now three years later and I am so very glad I went!
If asked today what the Catechism of the Catholic Church is, I would reply, “A Story”. The rich story of a journey from “Blessing to Blessing”. A story compiled by, the Fathers of the Church & the Church’s Magisterium, from Sacred Scripture and the liturgy. The story of a loving and forgiving Master and Creator. The story of the human person of “divine” nature, and his total life giving sacrifice of redemption and forgiveness. The story of how we are to live & pray while on this journey, so that we can develop a loving relationship with our Creator. The story that ends where we want our journey to end, back in the loving arms of our Father in heaven. The Beatific Vision.
The Catechism starts out, “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.” This is the whole journey summed up. Everything that is and has been came from God and will return to God. From Blessing to Blessing.
The Catechism is divided into 4 Pillars: The Creed, The Sacraments, The Moral Life, and Prayer. Once you start reading it you will want to finish it! You study one pillar per module or semester. The four modules span two years with Fall & Spring classes and no summer. Every week you meet in small group to discuss the lesson and then join the large group for the lecture from one of the many wonderful Priests, Deacons or lay teachers from the diocese.
Two new classes will be starting in the Fall of 2017. Monday evenings at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville, and Tuesday evenings at St. Andrew’s in Elk River. You can go to www.CIstudent.com to find more information and learn about the application process. The deadline for applications is July 1, 2017. Truly the two years go by fast! Please check it out.
To say after this intense two year study of, who created us and why, that I am not changed would be impossible. I can’t imagine that anyone could read the Catechism and walk away without some deep rooted feeling of unselfish unconditional love.
I was nudged not so gently by the Holy Spirit to start this two year journey not knowing what was to happen other than hopefully developing a more clear understanding of this deep seated faith that has stirred in my belly since being a young child. I have always felt it and knew it to be right, but I was at a point in my life that I wanted to really put the puzzle pieces together so that I could see where they all came from and really understand why. Do I have all the answers? No. I don’t necessarily see them all yet. What I do have is a better understanding of it all and the knowledge of where to go and search for the things that are not yet clearly seen. I have the ability and confidence now to share my faith more because even if I don’t “know it all”, I do know where I can find the story and the supporting parts that help us along the journey.
The formation I have received from studying the Catechism ignited a fire within me to pursue further formation in pastoral care so that I can do the work that I believe God wants me to do. God’s work of caring for and loving our brothers and sisters.
God is our magnificent Creator! God has our plan mapped out for us. We just have to be open to letting the Holy Spirit bring that plan into our hearts so that we can, hear it, feel it and apply it through the works that will make God happy. Where will the Spirit lead you???.........
Your sister in Christ,