Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fr. Perrone's Adult Catechism Begins Monday, Oct 1, 2007

Whether you are a non-Catholic considering the faith, a Catholic who has not been Confirmed, have lapsed and want to come back, or are just a victim of the namby-pamby catechism of recent decades, this is a class for you. It is taught by a priest - Grotto's pastor.

When: Monday, October 1st
Time: 6:00pm (likely to 7:00 o 7:30)
Where: Grotto's school lounge
Duration: weekly until it is complete - sometime just before Easter.

While it is labeled for adults, it is not uncommon to have whole families or for teens in the class. If you have small children, just look at the upcoming content to know if you should send them out into the hall for for a time, or perhaps leave them with a sitter on a given night. You can always ask Father ahead of time or call the rectory if you feel there may be content forthcoming that is not suitable for young ears. Usually, this will only be one evening. And, it is limited in scope for such a broad audience.

I should mention that periodically, Fr. Perrone will hold chastity classes which goes into more depth. He does it the old-fashioned way, by holding one class for single females, another for single males, and one for married or engaged couples. I'm told he does not even allow widows or married-divorced in the class for married couples. And, he doesn't even flinch at the most undiscussible of topics, but he provides content based on one's state in life. I'm told he has no problem telling people straight out what they ought not be doing, discussing or thinking about unless they are married. His teachings on certain matters of chastity in marriage follow the thought process of Fr. Albert Lauer - the founder of Presentation Ministries. At least one popular topic counters that which is taught by Christopher West and I too have been won over by Fr. Lauer (and Fr. Perrone's) teaching in this regard. You can sift through the topics here to get an idea.

If I learn of such an indepth chastity class forthcoming, I'll try to get a post out on it.

Father Perrone considers it one of the most important things a pastor can do, next to the Sacraments. Especially where people are considering the faith, or have suffered from poor catechesis and drifted, Father feels it's his place to teach and answer questions. As much as I thought I knew my faith, all it takes is a room full of people, some of whom are struggling with certain teachings, to see the complexity of curve balls that can be thrown at a catechism teacher.

Believe me, Grotto is full of lay people who know their faith and could teach, but there is something special about a priest taking time out of his busy schedule to be with those who are in the process of making such a big decision in their life. Also, Father doesn't leave it to chance. Folks deserve a proper answer to these questions and he has had plenty of experience with a wide array of them. Ultimately, he holds himself accountable for what people are learning in his parish.

I have read countless horror-stories of problems that have happened in "RCIA classes" which are often led by lay people, some of whom think they know the faith, but do not. For those without a solid grasp of the catechism of the Catholic Church, they can do more harm in the spread of error, or fall into the "I'm ok, you're ok" trap when dealing with touch questions.

Don't get me wrong. These people mean well, but have not been taught well themselves and the errors are spread, or leave students feeling disheartened. I have seen several examples of people persisting in their conversion in spite of what they themselves knew were errant teachings by life-long Catholics.

Sometimes, those converting actually know the Catholic faith better than the instructor because their own research, sometimes taking years of study, led them home. I call some of them students of the School of Fr. Corapi - whose catechism on Catholic television has probably brought more people to a good understanding of the faith than any other single source. Fr. Corapi makes it a point to talk about common errors being taught by some within the Church so it makes them easy to identify.

Father makes no exceptions for anyone. There is no "test out" to avoid catechism for people converting or making Confirmation at the Easter vigil in the spring.

Fr. Perrone speaks with the same kind of frankness as does Fr. Corapi. No matter how badly he would like to see people come home to the Catholic faith, he teaches the truths of the faith in an unwaffling manner. People deserve the truth, not sugar-coated half-truths.

Ignorance is one thing, but opting out of learning your faith is another. Our Lord sacrificed Himself for us. We ought to sacrifice our time for Him. Even if we don't need it to strengthen our own faith, learning the faith well gives us the ability to help other souls whose faith is not as strong. I myself attended two years in a row and wish I could go back again this year, but I have a rough schedule. I plan on making it a point to go periodically just to brush up.

There is no word on which book Father will use this year. There is no charge for the class, just a modest book fee. If you are on low income and can't afford the book, talk to Father. It is more important to him that you learn your faith, than to not come because you can't afford the book.

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