PALM BEACH GARDENS | This year’s 84 graduates of the Diocese of Palm Beach Christian Training School had a double celebration on May 11, 2022 at St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral. At their graduation mass with Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, they marked an end and a beginning.
Father Duván Bermúdez, director of the adult education school, told the graduates that completing the program was also the start of their mission to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. Through the courses they took, they were given the tools to bring the light of Christ to those who walk in darkness.
“Let us remember, my beloved brothers and sisters, today our Lord is calling us to continue as his true disciples, and also he is sending us to grow his church in our families and communities,” he said. said during his homily. “Through you, our Lord Jesus continues to grow his kingdom in our hearts, in our families and in our communities, and especially in our diocese of Palm Beach.”
Bishop Barbarito applauded the efforts of those who have completed the three-year Catholic faith course. “You have achieved a lot through your studies and your preparation, and we are very, very proud of that,” he said.
At the end of the Mass, Father Bermúdez thanked everyone, clergy and laity, for their presence and participation in the school and in the Mass. He expressed special gratitude to the teachers, who endured many technical challenges during the pandemic.
The School of Christian Formation presents courses for Catholics who wish to learn more about the rich traditions of their faith.
Each course meets on weekday evenings for a total of six classes (12 hours). Two courses are offered in the fall and two in the spring. Participants can take individual courses for credit or complete the entire three-year program, which culminates in the presentation of a Bishop’s Certificate of Completion.
The school began in the 1990s as an outreach to local Hispanics, but now the diocese strongly recommends the classes for all worshipers, especially those serving in liturgical, educational and spiritual ministries.
The aims of the school are fourfold: to nurture and stimulate Catholics with a deeper understanding of their faith; enable participants to bring this experience to their families, friends, workplaces and ministries; explore Catholicism as a diverse local church with members from different cultural backgrounds and with varied ministry needs; and to see our faith, our church and our ministry in the light of the Second Vatican Council.
The Christian Training School seeks to make its programming accessible to all. While the fee for each class is $10, plus the cost of the textbook, those who are active in parish ministry may wish to request financial support from their parish. But no one unable to pay will be turned away.
The program follows the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” in three parts: Our Faith, Celebrating Our Faith and Living Our Faith.
Year 1: Introduction to the Bible; Old Testament; New Testament; Jesus Christ, History and Theology (Christology).
Year 2: Vatican II; Theology of the Catholic Church (ecclesiology); liturgy and sacraments; Morality.
Year 3: Church History; Social justice; Spirituality; Pastoral and evangelization.
In addition to class attendance and attendance, each class has an assigned textbook with readings chosen by the instructor. Catechist certification is available in the diocese.
Graduate Jose Thomas, who knows the Eastern Rite Catholic Church best, said he “wanted to get a better sense of our roots.” The classes and the instructors did an excellent job of guiding the students towards a better understanding of the faith. He added that the three years passed very quickly.
Audrey Valentine said she loves that classes at Our Lady of the Queen of Apostles in Royal Palm Beach attract a mix of students from different cultures.
Another graduate, Ed Kosiec, said he drove 30 minutes from his home in Boynton Beach to attend classes in Royal Palm Beach because he wanted to learn more about the church.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I decided to take a class and see if I liked it. It made me want to know more,” he said. And he added that the required reading was easy, even for someone who works or has other responsibilities.
Many students said positive things about the class discussions led by the teachers. They were interesting and presented the Church in an open and honest way.
Belen Andrews, who grew up Catholic but felt she had gaps in her Catholic upbringing, said: “Some nights we had talks that made us laugh, and some were really intense.”
For more information about the School of Christian Formation, visit www.diocesepb.org/ministriesoffices/ministries/school-of-christian-formation/ or call 561-775-9544.