Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Update on Church History Course at Assumption Grotto - The First Night

Last week I made a post announcing a Church History Course that was beginning at Assumption Grotto on Wednesday nights between 6-7 PM in the school lounge. I wanted to provide an update on this after going tonight for the first class.  There had to be at least 40 people the class and I suspect not everyone who planned on coming got there tonight, for any number of reasons.

The instructor, parishioner Harry Wisniewski, explained that he has a degree in history and has pondered doing this kind of course at the parish for some time.  Harry met with Fr. Perrone, discussed some things, they looked through a number of books and settled on one from the Didache Series from the Midwest Theological Society, and here we are.

If you wanted to come and did not make the first class, contact Harry at the email listed in the flyer to inquire about joining in late.  He said this is a course that will run beyond the posted dates in the flyer - more like a two year course.  Harry wants this to proceed in a way that allows for discussion.

Before I go on, I want to clarify which version of the book we are using. It turns out there is more than one version of this textbook (the "complete," the "semester," and "parish" version). The one we are using is the complete version.  Here are some images from the correct book.

What I did not take photos of are some of the great maps.  This book is being sold through the Grotto gift shop.  As of Sunday, all 24 books sold out and more are being ordered, but possibly only in the quantity of raised hands. It can be purchased online.

Everyone there was quite enthusiastic with the course.  Harry spent some time asking what interested us in Church History to make sure he covers those things.  He discussed our history being that of a  "pilgrim church" and how our view of history isn't limited strictly to facts.   What little he explained of it, seemed to affirm a thought I formed some years ago, but I'l leave to hold that thought while the course develops.  

One of the authors Harry recommended we supplement our reading with are books by Christopher Dawson (1889-1970).  He specifically suggested reading, "The Christian View of History."  He mentioned that full text PDF's could be found online.  After a quick search, I did find one here, but I would not suggest just hitting a print button as it is long.   Save it to your computer and read it on screen, or print a little at a time.

He also mentioned Thomas Molnar and The Church, Pilgrim of Centuries, saying this might be a little more difficult reading compared to Dawson.

I'm repeating here what Fr. Perrone recently wrote in the Grotto News...

I continue to write to you about the Church History Course that is being offered to you. The knowledge of Church history significantly aids our understanding of the Church itself, her doctrines, her laws and her customs. In sermons we priests have precious little time to speak about Church history, except by an oblique reference which is often little appreciated since it may not be comprehended in the context of the whole development of Church history. 
The teacher for the course, Harry Wisniewski, is offering a series of classes at no cost to you except for the purchase of a book. These classes, held in our school, will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m., a time that should be open to most people, even the busiest. The first class will be October 8.  I plan of attending myself (it’s been a long time since I studied the subject). Consider taking what promises to be a mentally stimulating journey through the ages of faith. It is a significant offering that you should highly prize. I hope many families will avail themselves of this special opportunity to learn in greater depth the history of the Catholic Church.

Here's the flyer that was stuffed into a recent bulletin.  There's a typo for next week's class.  Wednesday falls on 10-15, not 10-14.


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