Honestly, my first reaction to hearing that this was going to be a “Year of Faith” was, “Shouldn't every year be a year of faith? Give me something more specific to work with!” Luckily for me, my parish decided we should examine what the Catholic faith is all about by introducing a study of the Creed through the Catechism. Having been raised Catholic, earning a theology minor in college, and being a Catholic school educator, I figured I had a pretty decent understanding of the Creed. But, I was new to my parish, and thought, “Why not, if nothing else, I will meet other parishioners.”
Wow, was I in for an eye-opening experience. Through this program, I have come to a much greater understanding of what comprises the Catholic faith. Each week offered me new insight into not just what I believe, but why we believe it. Questions I didn’t even know I had now have answers that not only make sense, but are rooted in fact and tradition. What I learned through this course has increased my enthusiasm for my faith, and for sharing it with my fifth grade students. I have more information to share, and can answer more of their “But, why?” questions with confidence. I hope and pray that my renewed passion for the faith has begun to kindle in them a fire of curiosity and love of the Catholic Church.
When a course on the second pillar, the Sacraments, was offered this fall, I was probably the first person to register. I am continually amazed by how God’s plan is mirrored and mapped through the Sacraments and throughout Church history. I now go to Mass with renewed purpose and clarity, more open to the abundant blessings Christ pours out through His Church.
As a Catholic school, we took a different approach to the year of faith. We decided to do an in-depth study of Mary and the Saints as models of our faith. Each month we investigated different facets of Mary’s life and her devotion to her Son. We looked at the Saints as men and women of the Beatitudes, how their profound faith changed not just their own lives, but the lives of the people around them.
To put our faith into action like the Saints, we participated in our first Day of Service – a whole school day devoted to living out the Beatitudes through service to others. Each child, kindergarten through eighth grade, spent part of the day off campus, serving at a variety of local organizations from nursing homes to food pantries to the houses of elderly parishioners. While on campus, students did smaller service projects such as making blankets for family shelters, cards for soldiers, and birthday boxes for our local food pantry. To see the impact these children made in our community was truly inspirational. That day has had ripple effects in the lives of our students, and truly put their faith into action.
Do I still think “year of faith” is too vague? Maybe, but if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have had the same experiences from this year that allow me to proudly declare that this is MY faith.
- Audrey Krueger, Bartlett, IL