Introduction to [Catholic] Christianity

Cradle Catholics often remark how invigorating it is to meet new converts to the faith, because they are so often on fire for the gospel and the Christian life, and have invested a great deal of time and energy in learning the truths of the faith, the history of the Church, and about the life of prayer—sometimes even more so than cradle Catholics themselves!

But there’s no need for the “Cradles” to be left behind in the marvelous adventure that is the study of the Catholic Faith in its myriad dimensions. For the past two years in my Introduction to Catholic Christianity course (taught from October-May every week), we’ve had just as many “Cradles” in our class as we’ve had those preparing to enter into full communion with the Church and for Confirmation as adults. This class is for everyone.

Now many of you might be thinking, “yeah, but wouldn’t it be embarrassing for me to be in a class with a bunch of beginners?” The answer is, no! This is a class for “beginners”, yes. But we all should think of ourselves as beginners. I do, and every year I teach the course I learn something new, because I’m always going over the subject-matter again to be fresh, to tighten up my formulations, and to add good content and depth to the material. In the process I always learn important new things or aspects of our faith, and learn better how to incorporate these new things into the class.

So, this is a “beginning” class in Christianity but it’s not elementary! On the contrary, we’re doing some very serious, in-depth work together, year after year. This ain’t no kid stuff. Not only will we learn new things, we’ll put more depth and context into the things we already know. And what’s more, the class is a way for us all to strengthen our bonds of unity in Christ together with those who belong to the local expression of his Body—the Church.

 In this class we’ll learn to see the teaching of the Bible in the teaching of the Church, and the teaching of the Church in the teaching of the Bible. We’ll ask and answer such questions as: What is Christianity? Who is God? What is the relation of Jesus Christ to God? What is the Church? How does a Catholic read the Bible? How does the Mass relate to Christian faith? How do I live as a faithful Catholic Christian? Why Catholic and not Protestant? What is the Catholic view of sex and marriage? What does Catholicism teach us about how to form a more just society? What are the Sacraments? And many more.

What’s more, we’ll learn how to see these questions in the total context of Catholic life, including important issues of our time and answer them in terms of the questions people of today are asking and the doubts and difficulties peculiar to our time and place.

We’re beginning to organize our class for next Faith Formation year even now. If you’d like to be a part of it, or know of someone who would—especially someone who has lost the practice of the Catholic Faith, or who would like to come into full communion with the Church from another Christian Ecclesial Community (Lutheran, Methodist, etc.), or who has never been baptized but would like to be, or who is an adult but has never received the Sacrament of Confirmation—this class is for them as well. It does serve as the “RCIA” (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) for our Faith Formation year 2019-2020.

 You can inquire about the class and get more information by visiting our parish website, ourholycross.org, and visiting the page “Becoming Catholic/RCIA” or by emailing me directly.

 Fr. Hagan