By John Hickey, Evangelization and Mission Leader, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
A commissioning celebration was held June 20 for the graduates of the diocesan Adult Faith Enrichment (AFE) program.
Over the past two years, ten participants attended the newly-created course to grow in their faith and learn how to transmit it to others.
In a program spanning some 15 months of COVID-19 restrictions, AFE participants engaged in a mix of a live program and virtual online elements, including meetings in person as well as over Zoom, and taking part in an online series through the Augustine Institute, where they earned a certificate in core theology.
The breadth of sessions offered over the two years was wide, and included various popular pieties such as the Sacred Heart theology and devotion, Catholic traditions such as iconography, and mission-oriented themes such as evangelization and inter-relgious dialogue, all delivered by local presenters from within the diocese.
During the final retreat and commissioning celebration, participants had an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate their faith enrichment experience over the past two years.
“I signed up for the program because I wanted to do something for me. I wanted to rediscover my faith and meet other Catholics. This whole experience ended up enriching my spiritual life in a way I wasn’t expecting,”described Maria Coupal.
“I took the Lay Formation program in the past, and I was glad to be able to take part in this new AFE program with my wife, Darlene. Its been a big blessing in our own faith life and in our marriage,” said Deacon Ron Johnson of the Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert.
The former Lay Formation program, which ran for some 30 years in the diocese of Saskatoon, was followed by the re-envisioned Adult Faith Enrichment program, launched in the fall of 2019.
Jennifer Petersen took over as co-ordinator of the program in September 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic. Under her leadership the format was adjusted and new content added.
When Petersen left on maternity leave, coordination of the program continued under the leadership of John Hickey of the diocesan Evangelization and Catechesis Office and Sr. Malou Tibayan of the Verbum Dei Sisters.
“When I look back on the year, I see a group of resilient, passionate and truth seeking individuals with an authentic desire to learn more about their faith. I hope they continue to study, grow in their faith and sacramental life, share the gospel and always seek the heart of Jesus!” – Jennifer Petersen, Coordinator
“It’s obvious that the relationships that these guys have formed have had a big impact on the spiritual life of each of them. These people now have a great opportunity to reach others through their infectious faith. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of impact they’ll have over the next few years.” – John Hickey, Coordinator
Graduates of the Adult Faith Enrichment program in 2021 are: Helen Belsher, Kathleen Campbell, Maria Coupal, Catarina Erimondi, Mary Gerwing, Darlene Johnson, Deacon Ron Johnson, Celena Komarnicki, Marion Laroque, and Victoria Paez. (Participant Shawn Arthurs also journeyed through most of the AFE program, but had to leave the program before it was completed.)
Photos from the 2021 retreat and commissioning celebration: