Today, many adults face questions of faith, life and meaning. Navigating through such questions in a manner that builds faith and understanding can at times be challenging, and can in some cases result in one becoming discouraged in their pursuit of answers and understanding.
What do we really believe about the Bible? Does the world need Jesus Christ? If so, why? If God is so good, why do bad things happen to good people? What does the Church mean when it speaks of eternal life? How did we come to believe what we do about Mary the mother of Jesus? What is the essence of Christian life?
Finding meaningful answers to these questions often requires the help of adult faith formators who are well equipped to unpack the teachings of the Church in a variety of areas.
The Centre for Faith Enrichment (CFE), the official adult faith formation agency of the Archdiocese of Perth, fulfils the purpose of introducing people to the figure of Jesus Christ and supporting their relationship with the body of Christ – the Church.
It does so in a way that is accessible to adults and relates to their life experiences, helping them to form a Christian conscience and to live their lives in the world as followers of Jesus.
The CFE offers short daytime, evening and weekend courses on a wide range of topics, such as theology, Church history, spirituality and Scripture, at various locations throughout Perth and online.
“Our team of presenters believes that everyone should have the chance to explore the Christian faith, ask questions, share their experience with others and take steps towards becoming an adult Christian,” says CFE Director, Dr Marco Ceccarelli.
“While attending Mass and receiving the sacraments is fundamental and necessary, our faith needs to also be sustained and nourished by an engagement with Scripture and with the teachings of the Church.
“Taking that step toward enrolling in a course run within your parish, in a nearby parish or online, or attending courses and events onsite at the CFE headquarters, these can be the first step towards answering lingering questions which many of us have,” Dr Ceccarelli added.
The CFE’s faith formation programs incorporate prayer, quiet reflection, guided imagery, conversation, service, music and stories.
East Victoria Park parishioner, Mireille Pontré, has been attending CFE courses for more than four years and has found the study of Scripture particularly fulfilling.
“Having the opportunity to study the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, the Psalms, the four Gospels, the Letters of Paul – has been very enriching for me and helps to make me live each mass more deeply.
“Since enquiring about the CFE, each term I have picked two or three courses offered and each of these has been very important for my journey of faith and in deepening my understanding of Christianity,” she said.
A similar experience was offered by Floreat/Wembley parishioner, Christine Young, who has attended the CFE for 25 years.
“The Centre for Faith Enrichment has helped my faith enormously. Learning about adult faith and why we believe what we believe has helped me grow as a person. Also, I found mixing with other Catholics to share values and common queries of pertinent issues we all experience in modern life very helpful,” Ms Young said.
Commenting on adult faith formation ministry’s modern-day challenge of acting as a bridge for young people’s continued faith journey into adult life, CFE presenter and Team leader of Catechist services at Catholic Education Office of Western Australia, Dr Pina Ford, stated that faith formation must be sustained at all stages of life.
“Young people like all of us need formation that connects the content of faith to their lived experience, especially during those challenging late teens and early adulthood years when personal identity and life foundations are established. “They are probably more adamant in seeking this connection than those of us who are older! That is, they are more likely to be seeking an ‘authentic’ experiential faith, to develop faith as individuals but side by side with their peers in group contexts; they like to question and debate; are drawn to issues-oriented study, matters of social justice, practical service and of course digital learning.
“The CFE has all the foundations that enable the provision of faith formation to adults of all ages. Collaboration with Archdiocesan agencies such as Catholic Youth Ministry would assist both agencies in catering for the specific needs of young people.
“Pope Francis has said that ‘Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow,’” Dr Ford said.
The Centre for Faith Enrichment is located within the Newman Siena Centre at 33 Williamstown Rd, Doubleview. For more information, contact 08 9241 5221 or visit website, www.cfe.org.au.
From pages 10 and 11 of Issue 11: ‘Adult Faith: Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Book of Numbers’ of The Record Magazine