Witnessing to the Faith
“An evangelising community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seeks those who have fallen away…” Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
Every Catholic who appreciated the “boundless riches” of Christ (Eph. 3:8) and the saving value of faith in Him should be keen to share the gospel with others. Like many of the prophets and disciples, however, it is easy to feel daunted and unprepared for this responsibility in a contemporary climate which is often sceptical of faith or hostile to its demands.
“But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?” St. Paul, Romans 10:14-15
The Diocese of Leeds is currently exploring paths in which lay people can be trained as evangelists, catechists and for wider involvement in pastoral ministry. At present, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Liverpool, we offer the opportunity to study for a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry which is awarded by the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, Chicago. This two-year, online programme covers essential background for those working to share their faith such as an overview of the theology of the Old and New Testament and the fresh impetus given to Catholic thought and practice by the Second Vatican Council. It further aims to impart practical knowledge important to the task of mission, such as an appreciation of the opportunities and challenges of working in a parish, and an understanding of the nature and practicalities of catechesis.
In the coming months, the Diocese will be looking at further ways in which we can offer support and training to catechists and those interested in sharing their faith with others. If you are looking for further training at present, you may wish to consider courses run by the Maryvale Institute, which specialises in distance learning.
For more information about opportunities to receive training for evangelism or catechesis, please contact Gregory Stacey (Diocesan Co-ordinator for Catechesis, Adult Formation).