Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the St. Paul Seminary, is pleased that the first session of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute has already helped students to become stronger in their faith and their desire to share that faith.
“One of the most amazing results of this is this transformation process,” Msgr. Callaghan said. “People are getting excited about their faith."
The institute for ministry professionals and other adults opened with 150 students Sept. 15 at the request of Archbishop Flynn and the support of Archbishop John Nienstedt.
Jeff Cavins was recently named institute director, after serving as the interim director and helping to set up the curriculum. He also has been teaching, along with five other instructors.
The first of four sessions focused on the Creed. The upcoming session will be on the sacraments and is open only to the students who took the first session. The third session, next fall, will be on moral law and the fourth, next winter, will focus on prayer.
Integrating the lessons
At the end of the first session, students were asked to write a reflection on what they learned and what they hoped to do with what they learned, Cavins said. Many people said they planned to integrate what they learned about the Catholic faith into their marriage, how they raise their children, into their finances and “every area of life,” he added.
When the second session begins Monday, Feb. 16, at Providence Academy in Plymouth, the group will be down just five students, who had to drop out due to illness or because they were expecting a baby, Msgr. Callaghan said.
“It was not for lack of interest,” he added.
Classes are structured on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“If you follow that and present the faith as a systematic whole, it has a message that few programs can convey,” Cavins said.
Each week, the previous week’s teaching is recorded and uploaded to the Web so the next instructor will know what to teach in the upcoming class.
As the program was being developed, Cavins said the staff realized that most people fell short in two areas: understanding salvation history in Scripture, and understanding the Catholic Church as a whole.
After learning more about the Creed, people said they began to understand how the profession of faith fits into the sacraments, how sacraments fit into moral law and the Ten Commandments and how prayer fits into the Creed.
“It’s like giving keys to people, and they can unlock these mysteries with the hope that they can put it into practice in their life,” Cavins said.
This fall, a second round of the four-part series will be added, so two classes will be going on at the same time, with a total of 300 students participating, he said.
People can sign up for the series that begins in the fall starting in mid-February, but only 150 people will be chosen to attend. Applicants must write an essay about why they want to be a part of the class. They also must obtain two recommendations: from their pastor and another person. Catholic Spirit
For information or to apply for the fall session, call (651) 962-6890 or visit the Web site: www.saintpaulseminary.org.