For those that weren’t able to make here are the PowerPoint presentation slides. The readings can be found on this page. As the weeks go on, all resources (readings and slides) will be found at this hub.
The first class is Monday October 15, at 6:30 P.M. in Kertz hall at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jefferson City. The class is open to all adults.
The first week’s topic: Faith & Reason
Every week on Wednesday (this time on Monday) I hope to write a short post such as this introducing the topic and providing a .pdf with some readings to look at in advance if you are so inclined. It is by no means necessary to read the packet before the class. If you do have a chance to read it, please come ready with questions. If you can’t make it a given week, or you want to browse through other topics they all we available at this hub.
Faith & Reason: Reading Packet
Each of these packets will contain excerpts from various Church documents. Most of them should be available in their entirety at the Vatican’s web site: www.vatican.va
This week’s excerpts come from the following documents:
- Sacred Scripture (the Bible)
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Vatican I, Dei Filius (1870)
- Vatican II, Dei Verbum (1965)
- St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (1998)
- Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei (2013)
Lastly a few quick housekeeping notes as they are questions I’ve been asked a lot:
- The class is FREE
- You DO NOT need to register (though there will be chance to sign up for e-mails)
- Catholic teachers of any Catholic school in the Diocese of Jefferson City who are Level III Catechists can count these hours towards their ongoing formation. (There will be a special sign-in form for you to sign)
- Permanent deacons of the diocese can likewise count these towards ongoing formation.
See you on Monday!
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.
This past week when I was visiting classes I noticed that the students are getting to the point in the quarter where they are beginning to take tests and quizzes. Gone are the fun days of August and handball, now it’s time to get to work. In many ways that dynamic is mirrored in Mark’s Gospel today. Last week we heard about Jesus healing and performing miracles. That’s the fun part, everybody loves a good miracle. Today, along the road, things get more difficult, Jesus gives the apostles a, “pop quiz.”
First there is the “multiple choice” part of the quiz. “Who do people say that I am? John the Baptist? Elijah? One of the Prophets? The Christ? Well it looks like Peter did a pretty good job with the multiple choice, he manages an “A” on that part of the quiz. However, on the second part of the quiz, the “short answer” part, he doesn’t do so well. But instead of writing, “F+” at the top of his paper, Jesus writes, “Get behind me Satan!”
Joking with the analogy aside, what does the story reveal to us about our relationship and knowledge with Jesus? By getting the multiple choice right, but not the short answer, he shows us that we all still have more to learn. As my favorite philosopher and theologian says, for every light of knowledge we gain into Christ, there is still an infinitely greater darkness. It’s true for all of us. We all have more to learn about Christ.
In terms of how to learn more about Christ, Jesus gives us a little clue later in the Gospel. He warns Peter that he was thinking “not as God thinks, but as human beings do.” Note, he doesn’t say “not as God memorizes, but as human beings do.” He says, “thinks.” This is why we must do more than just memorize the decades of the Rosary, the Commandments, the Sacraments, and the Beatitudes etc. We must learn to think deeper about these issues.
This is why when I taught high school I told the students, I don’t just want you to learn what the Church teaches, though I obviously want that, I really want you to learn how the Church thinks. I don’t want it to be well Fr. So-and-so said this, but Fr. So-and-So said that. I want you to be able to know what the Church says, and how the Church thinks. This is why they were so excited when I told them on the first day of class I would give them the final exam question. Every student, even me last year, wants to know what’s going to be on the exam. So they were thrilled when I told them I would give it to them up front. Then I told them, their exam would be just one question, “Connect the dots.” In other words, demonstrate how the Church thinks about these different issues and how they are connected by a common reasoning, a consistent way of thinking.
When adults heard about the class, they said they wanted to take it too. So in Columbia I launched an adult education class. I’m happy to announce that starting next month on October 15th, I’ll be launching the class here at IC in Jeff City, “The Church in the Modern World: Foundations of Faith.” This way you too can learn a little more about how to, “think as God thinks, not as humans do.” To that end, don’t worry, you’re not going to have to sit there and listen to me talk for an hour and a half.
For the first half hour or so, we will open up the floor for questions. It won’t be Q & A, but rather Q & Q. That is continuously asking more questions as we attempt to delve deeper into the issues, kind of like peeling back the layers on an onion. In the second half hour, I will present a summary of different Church texts, so you can see what the Church actually teaches about these issues, and not what someone says the Church teaches. In the last half hour, we’ll reopen the discussion to see how the first two parts work together, how it is that the Church attempts to answer some of the questions raised, how the Church thinks about these different issues.
This time around I’m doing seven weeks called, “Foundations of Faith,” with topics or issues chosen together with our parish education commission. In the Winter and Spring, I’ll open it up to everyone to help pick out the topics.
I want to conclude by way of a little bit of a preview of sorts, as the topic the first week will be “Faith and Reason.” I’ve been talking about learning to think, “not as God does, but as human beings do.” It’s important that in hearing that line we don’t create a false dichotomy where on one side there is how God thinks, and on the opposing side, how human beings think. Rather, we believe that human reason is a good. Furthermore, that it is a gift from God. So it isn’t about rejecting reason in the name of God, but rather allowing God, and faith rather to be infused with our reason. To allow them to elevate our reason to its fullest potential. In that way, while we like Peter, may not know everything, passing the multiple choice, but not the short answer, may begin start thinking as God does and not as human beings do.
Have you ever found yourself during Mass wondering what something means as you listen to the Scriptures? Perhaps something the priest mentioned in a homily was unclear? Maybe you know you’re Catholic but you’re not sure why the Church teaches what she does on a number of pressing and important issues? Perhaps you want to be better able to explain to your friends what you and the Church believe? Or maybe you’re just curious.
Thankfully there is a solution arriving here in Jefferson City, Mo. Beginning on October 15, 2018, I will be offering an adult education, faith formation, catechesis, class, seminar, whatever you want to call it, and you are most welcome to attend. The classes will begin at 6:30 PM and will be held in Kertz Hall at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
The course will be geared towards adults, that is anyone 18 & older.
I am titling the course, “The Church in the Modern World.” That is both a reference to Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, as well as something broad enough for us to cover a wide variety of topics across different sessions.
I will be offering a six week session this fall. In the future, I plan to offer more 6-10 week sessions. Each of the sessions will be based on a particular theme as requested by those attending the class. Click here to see some potential future topics.
For this initial session I consulted our parish education commission and came up with the theme, “Foundations of Faith.” Our class topics will be:
October 15: Faith & Reason
October 22: Faith & Science
October 29: Revelation
November 12: Origins of Sacred Scripture
November 19: Scripture & Tradition
November 26: Jesus
December 7: Mary (N.B. – This is on a Friday as a part of the parish Advent Soup Supper)
It will not be a linear course in the sense it will not be necessary to attend every week, you can come and go as you please. I will also post readings and resources on this web site, though it will not be necessary to review them beforehand. Even if you can’t make it a given week, you’ll still have access to all of the resources found at this hub.
I look forward to seeing you on October 15th, let me know if you have any questions. Please help me spread the word. Below is a printable flyer you can print.
If you already know you want more information, click here, to send me an e-mail, and I’ll add you to the e-mail list.
Here’s the final video in the catechetical series on the nature and role of the bishop in the Catholic Church. This one was intentionally delayed until the ordination and installation of our new bishop last week.
This video is done by Chris Korte, the director of the Newman center in Kirksville, Mo. He’s also in the permanent diaconate formation program, and thus was one of my students a few years ago.
Continuing our catechetical series on the nature and role of the bishop in the Catholic Church, here’s another video.
Topic: The Cathedral and its Symbolism
Appropriately, this video is presented by Msgr. Robert A. Kurwicki, pastor of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City.
Here is my contribution to a series of catechetical videos produced by my diocese on the nature and role of the bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.
My topic: The Relationship of the Pope and the Bishops
Continuing our diocesan catechetical series on the nature and role of the bishop within the Roman Catholic Church, here’s the next video.
Topic: The Qualities of a Bishop as Noted in Letters of the New Testament
Continuing my diocese’s catechetical series on the nature and role of a bishop, I now share the second video.
This video deals with the question:
- What’s the Relationship of A Bishop With His Priests and Deacons?
The video is done by Fr. Daniel Merz, a former professor and good friend and mentor of mine, he even preached at my first Mass as a priest. His advanced studies are in the area of liturgy.
In anticipation of the ordination of Bishop-Elect McKnight, my diocese has put together a series of catechetical videos on the nature and role of a bishop. The first few have been released, I will be contributing a video later in the series.
The first video looks two questions:
- What is a diocese?
- How is a bishop selected?
This video is done by Fr. Dylan Schrader, a fellow priest of the diocese and good friend. Fr. Schrader is currently working on his doctorate in addition to serving in a few parishes in our diocese.