On Saturday 28th October nearly fifty people gathered at St. John’s in Trowbridge for a Catechists’ formation day with the Dominican Sisters of St. Joseph. The sisters, Sr. Hyacinthe, Sr Cooey, Sr. Corina and their postulant, Beverley travelled a quite circuitous route from the New Forest in Hampshire to join us. Fully of energy and enthusiasm they delighted us with their fun and good humour.

During the day the Sisters explored several themes: the Vocation of the Catechist, the integration of Catechesis in the Parish and Family, the formation of the Catechist and some ideas about how to prepare a Catechetical session. The content was rich, engaging and delivered with plenty of opportunities for conversation and discussion.

Fr. Tom Dubois came from Taunton to be with us and celebrated a simple but beautiful Mass for the Feast of Ss Simon and Jude.

It was a truly inspiring day as reflected in some of these comments from those who attended:

The day was full of resources, insights and tips for sessions. 

To understand and appreciate the love and mercy of God Our Father is to know and love Jesus his Son by listening, and through the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit….and then to share this, our faith, with others in simplicity through the Word of God, prayer and our witness. What a blessed vocation to experience!

Thank you for the day with the Sisters which was very inspiring, not only to hear their thought provoking presentations and scripture analysis in terms of catechesis but to also hear from others how they/their parishes are offering different ways of accompanying others in formation e.g. the meet and eat group for young people and from others who have included Catholic Social Teaching projects as part of their sacramental preparation formation, whilst integrating with the wider parish.

After the day, I realised it affirmed my desire to make sacramental preparation part of the journey towards parish integration, rather than receiving the sacrament being an end result and answered some questions for me about how to perhaps take FHC preparation forward with this in mind.

We found the whole day relevant, accessible, interesting, and validating of everything we do with and for the parish children and their families.

Thank you for a great day today. I learned more about the scriptural basis for catechesis and got some great direction to resources about which I had not heard before. I feel that I have “permission” now to carry on developing my own catechetical material from the sources available. This has boosted my confidence as a catechist, not least because I was able to talk with other catechists, hear their stories and benefit from their experience.