Updates: Notes from the BC Team
This week, please read chapters 6 and 7 in the book. If you need me to make a PDF, let me know.
This week, we’ll watch a video on Confession. Also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In order to view it, you have to follow a few steps. Sorry!
- Go to formed.org.
- Click on SIGN UP.
- Important: Click on “I belong to a Parish or Organization.”
- In the search window, type “Prince of Peace Catholic Church Hoover.” This will bring up a drop-down menu of multiple churches named “Prince of Peace.” Be sure the one you select has our address: 4600 Preserve Parkway, Birmingham AL.
- Register your new account with your name and email address.
Then pull down the PROGRAMS menu and select THE SACRAMENTS.
Then pick the FORGIVEN page.
Pick: Answering Common Questions about Confession. https://watch.formed.org/forgiven/season:1/videos/answering-common-questions-about-confession
In order to be confirmed, one has to complete the program. These are the minimum requirements to complete it.
- Attend all meetings on Zoom. You may miss no more than 2 beginning Sept 20. If you do miss one or two, you must watch the recorded Zoom meeting you missed.
- You must email or (firstname.lastname@example.org) turn in 9 journal entries. See below for more on journaling. This should be done weekly. And are due by the following Sunday morning at 9:30. However, we will accept late journal entries as long as they are turned in by a week after the due date.
- You must complete the reading assignments and watch the assigned videos.
- You will need to write a letter to the pastor asking to be confirmed. More about that later.
If you have special circumstances regarding any of these, be in touch with me so we can try to work things out.
For those who have trouble doing written journaling, some possible alternatives.
- Do a video and talk about your reaction.
- Handwrite notes, and take a picture and email to me.
- Do art. Draw pictures. (I’m serious.)
Introduction: At Prince of Peace, our motto is “All Are Welcome.” It is our prayer that everyone who comes to our faith community for any reason, will truly feel welcome.
We also want to do our part to welcome people who feel called into full communion with the Catholic Church. With joy and gratitude, we offer a program for those who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith and then, if called, become Catholic. We call our program “Becoming Catholic.” It is our version of what is often referred to as RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This program is also open to Catholics who want to learn more about their faith.
Partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed a blended study program. Participants (on their own time and at home) view online material and videos and read and journal each week of the program. On Sundays, we hold live meetings online on Zoom, and when we can safely gather again, we will meet in-person. These live meetings allow us to discuss the week’s assignments and answer any questions that that may come up.
Here is the process to join BECOMING CATHOLIC. The program is typically offered three times a year.
Joining Becoming Catholic: Begin by registering online here. A member of the Prince of Peace Becoming Catholic team will contact you. If you have any questions, please contact Megan Everett, director of formation.
Screening interview (with Becoming Catholic team members, either live or on Zoom)
We have a conversation with those who are interested in the program to share information and assess the individual’s needs. Our goal is to offer some customization of the program, based on the individual’s history of involvement in Christian worship. All participants must complete the core content of the program. Those who have little or no involvement in Christian worship and who have not been baptized will be required to engage in additional study on the fundamentals of Christianity. (Note: The Catholic Church accepts Baptism by other Christian denominations.)
Materials & Assignments: This is a guided, self-study approach. So, we’ll ask you to a little reading during the weeks between the Sunday morning sessions.
You need a copy of Father Oscar Lukefahr’s book “We Believe: A Survey of the Catholic Faith.” It is out of print but there are still plenty of used copies out there. Amazon.com, etc. I think I have a few more. If you need one, let me know, and we’ll leave it for you to pick up or something.
For this first week, please read the first 3 chapters. You should find it an easy read and a refresher for y’all. I’ve also attached an article about the Nicene Creed. (Don’t panic. This is probably the most reading you’ll do for any week of the program!)
We want you ask you to journal this week, as well, before our first meeting. Continue to not panic! At the bottom of this email is some guidance on how to journal. It’s not a big deal. Also, please, please, don’t hesitate to let me know if there are issues that interfere with you being able to comfortably read and journal. Someone close to me is a highly intelligent person with dyslexia. I get it. We will make this work.
We need to be able to have a little one-to-one Zoom meeting with you talk about your background. By return email, let me know when you’d like to do that.
Schedule: The topics may be rearranged based on the availability of guest speakers and other factors.
|Date||Topic||Participants will have reading/viewing assignments each week. Then, we meet for discussion on Zoom on Sunday – 9:30-10:30 am|
|Sept. 6-13||Introduction, orientation, sharing of a faith story. Images of God. The Creed.||Sunday, Sept. 13 9:30-10:30 am.|
|Sept. 14-20||Scripture, Teaching Tradition||Sunday, Sept. 20 9:30-10:30 am|
|Sept. 21-27||Sacraments: Matrimony, Confirmation, Baptism, Reconciliation, Anointing||Sept. 27 (as above)|
|Sept. 28-Oct. 4||Sacraments (continued)||Oct. 4|
|Oct. 5-11||The Eucharist and Mass||Oct. 11|
|Oct. 12-18||Catholic Morality||Oct. 18|
|Oct. 19-25||Contemporary Issues & Controversies||Oct. 25|
|Oct. 26-Nov. 1||How to “DO” Church: Participating in Parish Life||Nov. 1|
|Nov. 2-8||Catholic Traditions (distinctive aspects of Catholicism)||Nov. 8|
|Nov. 15||Sacraments received for those who complete the program. For those who cannot make this date, we can make individual accommodations. But do try to make this date.||Sunday, Nov. 15, time to be announced.|
Journaling: As part of our Becoming Catholic program, we ask participants to write a weekly journal entry. The goal of this assignment is to encourage our participants to be actively engaged in the education process and not simply be passive recipients of our provided materials.
Our program presumes that participants possess the ability to independently read, study and write. But we want to accommodate anyone who has difficulties with reading and writing. If any participants have difficulty with any of these skills, please let us know so we can work with you. And we will!
Because our program is streamlined, participants will want to spend some time between sessions in study, prayer, and reflection.
We ask that you journal in the week after each session. You may email your journal entry to email@example.com. Your journal entries are confidential and will only be seen by the core team.
The teaching team is not going to be “grading” your journal. Asking you to journal is a way for us to know that you are engaged in the program and spending some time in prayer and reflection,
You may write as much as is helpful to you. The following examples are intended to give you an idea of the kind of journaling that would satisfy this requirement.
This week’s class on the Sacraments helped me understand the “theory” behind the role of sacraments for Catholics. I come from a church that baptized, of course, but really doesn’t have a theology of sacraments. All that matters for salvation is an acceptance of Jesus as personal savior. At this point, I’ve been thinking about the idea of sacraments as signs but also a kind of inner and outer behavior that relates to our ongoing relationship with God, and ways to show devotion to Him. I know that my long experience in a church that doesn’t really have sacraments means that it will take time and prayer to be able to appreciate the Catholic approach to sacraments.
I’ve really found my reaction to learning about Catholic sacraments sort of mixed. I know I’m struggling with confession. As a woman in a modern world, I worry that my discomfort with talking about personal matters to a man I barely know—in a private setting—could be a problem. On the other hand, in my former church, something about the way we practiced communion seemed a bit empty to me. (That sounds more critical than I mean, but it’s the best word I can think of.) I find myself immediately drawn to an idea of the Eucharist and communion that could hardly be more sacred.
I’ve always been confused about the Catholic church’s views on divorce and remarriage. I wish I had spent more time before trying to learn about it. I was under the impression that the Catholic Church’s views on divorce meant that a person could never escape from a marriage that abusive AND that means that, for example, a woman would be expected to stay with an abusive spouse. Now I better understand what Catholics believe about marriage. Learning more about annulments from the information you provided was helpful.
My former church has a tradition of individual members praying spontaneous prayers in services and in almost all church gatherings, bible studies, etc. I’ve never been comfortable with it. I’m not good at it and I’ve been embarrassed by that before. I think our church kind of looked down on written prayers. But, being able to take advantage of all the written prayers of the Church has been a great gift.
This week, I wanted to learn more about the “Last Rites.” I did some Googling and found an article about it in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Here are some notes I made from reading the article.
- Not just for people who are about to die. Now is a sacrament for the sick.
- Not true that Catholics believe that you can’t go to heaven if you haven’t had the last rites.
- James 5:14-15 “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests>, and let them over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save] the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sin, they shall be forgiven him.”
- Usually, confession if possible (Penance), Anointing of Sick, then final (or perhaps final) communion (Viaticum).