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Passing on the faith

Over the last several years, I have offered a series of large-group Bible studies for adults in our parish community, usually during the seasons of Lent or Easter. This year, I decided to take advantage of the newly-released Catholicism series, a 10-part video and discussion series produced by Father Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Father Barron was one of my professors at Mundelein Seminary, and with the support of Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, he has developed a new ministry to help evangelize adult Catholics. It may sound a little odd that someone is evangelizing a group of people who already have heard the Good News of the Gospels, but if we stop and think for a moment, it actually makes perfect sense.

In past columns, I have shared that while I was in college, I fell away from the active practice of my faith. There were several reasons for that, but they don’t really matter. What matters is that, after a few years, I found myself thinking that something was missing from my life. After some reflection, it dawned on me what was missing was a regular relationship with God. I returned to attending Sunday Mass every week and sought out adult faith formation opportunities in the parish I had joined. And I began collecting and reading a series of books and other resources that  helped me rediscover the riches of our faith.

I suspect my situation was not unique. There are many adults who are seeking a better understanding of their faith. And there are often instances in which family members, friends or co-workers will ask us what we believe in faith and why. Knowing more clearly what we believe and being able to articulate those beliefs will go a long way toward being able to address questions that may come our way.

At this year’s Chrism Mass, Bishop Boyea announced the promulgation of his first pastoral letter. Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord encourages all of us to strive for a better understanding of our faith, so that we can in turn share that faith with those who are seeking a relationship with God, as well as with those who have moved away from the active practice of their faith.

The summer months usually are when we spend more time reading. Perhaps this summer, we can all spend a little time reading about our faith. If you don’t have one, pick up a copy of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. It’s readily available and is a very accessible catechism written by the U.S. bishops. In taking the time to review and deepen our understanding of the basics of our faith, we have the opportunity to make it more our own – a faith we can pass on for generations to come.

And so, our journey in FAITH continues.