UD Forum Students Open Year of Faith

On Saturday, October 13, about 16 students and 4 instructors celebrated the beginning of the Year of Faith as proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The Year of Faith began on October 11, 2012 which marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by Blessed John Paul. It will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 24, 2013. The students, who form part of The Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders (FYCL), began the day with Mass presided by Fr. David Fleming. The students sang from their hearts during Mass accompanied by Shaughn Phillips on the guitar and one of the instructors on piano and drums.

Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D. Min, the Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives who also oversees the formation of students in the Forum, together with Erica Christman, graduate assistant at the Institute, orchestrated a wonderful presentation of t-shirts with the FYCL logo and the Year of Faith imprinted on them. These were blessed during the Mass by Fr. Fleming and distributed to the happy and grateful students.

After Mass, the usual session of theological reflections began with another caveat – the procession of Bible as an indication that the Word of God takes precedence over all other matters in our lives. Two students processed into the conference room with the Bible amidst music. It was both solemn and uplifting.

After a powerpoint & film presentation by Sr. Angela Ann on the beauty and mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives, Erica Christman followed with a presentation of Thomas Groome’s book, Will There Be Faith

There was a break for lunch after which the students were divided into three groups: the art of lesson planning presented by Susan Ferguson Director of the Center for Catholic Education at the University of Dayton, creative methodology presented by Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives, and doctrinal reflections presented by Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski. All three groups rotated among the three sessions and thus benefitted from each presenter. The day ended with the Liturgy of the Hours put together by Erica Christman followed by another gift, a door hanger with the year of faith inscribed on one side and scripture on the other side. Overall, there were smiles throughout the day. The hope is that as the students keep their door hangers on the doors, they will be reminded on a daily basis of the Holy Father’s words, “The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei, par.6).

Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey, MA
Administrative Specialist-Curriculum Design & Adult Catechesis
Institute for Pastoral Initiatives