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SPRED, Special Religious Development, is a form of Catechesis that uses symbols and an “I-You” language to include people with developmental disabilities in the community of faith. Being a faith companion is a response to God’s love with love.
Sr Tshihiwa Munzhedzi led the retreat, which had the theme: Covenant-relationship-love. Presentations were followed by periods of private reflection. The day ended with Mass in the chapel of St Vincents Schoold for the deaf where the retreat was held. More than 120 people attended.
The course aims to help catechetical animators and community leaders to appreciate the role catechesis plays in the spiritual and personal growth of individuals and the community as a whole. It is a process from birth to death not soley preparation for receiving the Sacraments.
Fr Gabriel Afagbegee of the Lumko Institute who conducts the RCIA course explains that everything in the course draws on the General Directory for Catechists, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the policy for catechesis in the Archdiocese. No catechists should be without their own copy of these! This module also gives a background to RCIA and covers the liturgical seasons.
MASS OF THE OILS, CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE KING
THURSDAY 28 MARCH, 2013
The Name Francis
Cardinal Bergoglio chose the name of Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. His personal choice becomes the choice of the entire Catholic church. The name Francis is evocative. The choice of the name is a celebration of the memory of the renowned Saint who lived in the 13th century, in Assisi, in Italy. Some of us can relate to the life experience of Francis prior to his moving and complete conversion. The name Francis evokes an image of a painful but grace-filled conversion, an image of compassion. Francis cared for the sick and the dying. He kissed the feet and lips of lepers and was completely dedicated to serving the church. The name Francis is synonymous with a personal conversion to Christ. It is synonymous with the passion to renew the church. It means a new Pentecost, a new fire of love. It means a compassion for the sick, the needy, the poor. It evokes the love and respect for nature, for animals, for the earth. The name Francis stands for the virtues of humility, piety, simplicity, service, fidelity, loyalty – these virtues loomed large in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The name Francis, in short, stands for holiness; a holiness that is within reach for Christians who strive to be Christ-like.
Conversion of St. Francis
Thomas Celano, the author of the life of St. Francis says about Francis: “Thus with his crowded procession of misfits, he used to strut about impressively and in high spirits making his way through the streets of Babylon”. St. Augustine in his Confessions, writes: “With companions like these I roamed the streets of Babylon and wallowed in its filth as though basking amid cinnamon and precious ointments”. (Thomas of Celano, p.24). Francis was eventually worn down by a long illness. It is often said that illness provides the occasion for conversion. Human stubbornness is at times broken down by harsh punishment. Francis turned around. He considered himself worthless. He then began to hold in contempt his past life of servitude to the world. One night Francis had a vision. He abandoned his plans to go to the town of Apulia to make wealth. He had found a valuable treasure, a pearl of great price. He now wanted to do God’s will. He was burning inside with a divine fire. Like St. Benedict, he fled from the world, went into the wilderness and stayed in a cave, away from people. Francis, in his conversion, enjoyed his mother’s support. His father was mad at him for giving away money. And this brings us to that powerful symbolic gesture where Francis took off all his clothes and returned them to his father. The Bishop of Assisi covered Francis’ nakedness with his mantle. With this dramatic gesture, Francis had crossed the line. He had now given himself completely to a life of service to God. Read more