Adult Education Programs Offer Opportunities to Deepen Catholic Faith

Vicky Wolak Around the Province

“As an adult, we have lots of questions and non-Catholics ask us many questions,” said Andrew Reitz, OFM, in the Jan. 8 bulletin of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City. “We often feel that we cannot answer these questions. It is good to keep ourselves informed.” St. Francis is one of several parishes offering adult education classes, retreats, and lectures for the winter and spring of 2012.

New York
The Adult Education Center at St. Francis on West 31st Street is offering more than 15 courses in theology and spirituality, literature and art, and personal improvement for the Spring 2012 semester. According to the center’s webpage, its courses attract hundreds of adult students from St. Francis and the metropolitan area every year.

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, will be teaching a follow-up course to his previous course offerings in Church history. “The American Catholic Experience,” will focus on Catholicism in the U.S., beginning with European missionaries during the colonial period and culminating in an examination of more recent issues affecting American Catholics.

Registration information is available by calling Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, at 212-736-8500 ext. 311.

New Jersey
This winter, St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J. is hosting a series of lectures and retreats for adults through Growing in Faith and Theology, a program shared between St. Mary’s and 12 other local parishes, now in its fifth year. Two friars will be giving presentations as part of GIFT this year.

Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, OFM, will teach a class on 2,000 years of Church history over four Thursdays in January and February.The class will be conducted in Spanish.

Lawrence Anderson, OFM, will be co-leading a one-day retreat with Stephen Kass, director of adult faith formation at St. Mary’s, on Feb. 25. The retreat, called “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” will be held at the Russian Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Wayne, N.J.

Several friars are leading retreats at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford in the coming months: a three-day retreat at the end of January, and two evening retreats as part of a Lenten-Easter-Pentecost program.

John Maganzini, OFM, will be co-leading a three-day “All Are Welcome” retreat with Sr. Marie Puleo, MFIC at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn. The retreat, titled, “Francis, Clare and the Gospel of John: To Hear…To Act…To Experience,” is an opportunity for adults to deepen their relationship with God at the start of a new year.

The Adult Faith Formation Ministry is also offering a series of evening retreats throughout the seasons of Lent and Easter and ending on Pentecost. The list of presenters includes Thomas Gallagher, OFM, pastor of St. Patrick-St. Anthony, and Daniel Horan, OFM, of Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md.

Other Programs
St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, along with The Paulist Center Boston, is sponsoring a JustMatters module titled “Living Solidarity: Government, the Federal Budget and the Common Good.” The program, which runs for eight sessions from February to May, allows adults to examine the federal budget as a moral document and discuss the role of government, which issues should be addressed, and how to pay for it.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., has announced a new Scripture study. “Touching the Mysteries,” a program by the Little Rock Scripture Study, makes connections between the biblical stories of Jesus and the mysteries of the Rosary.

Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, N.C., provides a unique Bible study opportunity for busy, working men in their parish community. Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Bible Study and Fellowship group meets early every Wednesday morning to allow participants time for prayer, community and self-reflection before work. The group takes its name from Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

— Vicky Wolak was the 2011 summer intern in the HNP Communications Office.