Photo credit @ skoso
by Mick Coughlan
‘Forgiven – The Transforming Power of Confession’
Adult Christian Formation Retreat
On Saturday 25th March 2023 a group of fifteen parishioners attended a Retreat in the Salesian House, that was prepared and guided by Fr Anthony Lobo, using material from the Augustine Institute, and facilitated by Brother Paulin Meba, Mick Coughlan and assisted by Annette Murphy. It was a day of fun, friendship and mutual support - with Bro Paulin leading us in ‘warm up’ games. We were very fortunate with the weather and were able to enjoy a shared fellowship lunch in the garden.
The retreat was the highlight of a journey in faith that commenced in September and will end in May. The day followed a similar format to the weekly meetings - prayer, a short film on a particular aspect of the Catholic faith and group discussion. The theme of the retreat was ‘Forgiven’ with sessions carefully designed to help us more deeply encounter the great gift of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and appreciate the healing grace of this powerful sacrament. The sessions explored the sacrament from the perspective of both the priest and the penitent and focused and why we shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to go to Confession. The day included Mass presided by Fr Anthony to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation and a penitential service at which several people made their first confession.
The Adult Christian Formation programme was designed to meet the requirements of those journeying through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which includes:
1. Unbaptised adults (known as catechumens) asking for baptism, confirmation and communion.
2. Adults baptised in another Christian tradition (referred to as candidates) - asking for reception into full communion in the Church.
3. uncatechized baptised Catholics - asking for Confirmation and Eucharist.
In addition, the group was opened to any adult Catholic parishioner who wanted to grow in faith and learn more about the Church. This enabled the building of trusting relationships between individuals which allowed the sharing of faith experiences and the freedom to ask questions in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
This year the parish has been blessed by having three catechumens and six candidates who will become full members of the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil when they receive the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism (if not validly baptised), Confirmation and Holy Communion. Accompanying them on their journey has been both a privilege and a spiritually enriching experience for all of us.
Photo credit @ alobo