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Column: New catechesis program off to a great start

by Matt Karr

With more reports of job layoffs, companies going out of business, foreclosures, and seemingly limitless government bailout plans, it can be hard to maintain hope, even for the most optimistic among us.

As Catholics, we know the only solid foundation on which to base our hope is Jesus Christ. Despite the bad economic news, the Lord is continuing to do amazing things. Two great examples of this in our own archdiocese are the work of the Maryvale Institute and of Saint Paul’s Outreach.

The archdiocese has just begun a partnership with the Maryvale Institute, to offer a master’s degree in religious education and catechesis and a certificate in catechesis. There are 11 people currently enrolled in the MA program. Their first weekend was in England and they were taught by the finest of scholars, including teachers from Oxford University. A number of students were overwhelmed with joy by the kindness of the Lord on their first weekend. You can read more about their experiences at the Web site: www.archkckecat.org.

We also have 30 students enrolled in the Maryvale certificate in catechesis program. The students at the first study day were very excited to begin the course. They learned of fellow students throughout the world who are participating in this same course, including those in a number of Arab states who train at the risk of their own lives.

Training of catechists and leaders for catechesis is foundational for the future of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. One student said to me, almost in tears, “Thank you so much for bringing this program in. I never thought I would be able to study this.”

Saint Paul’s Outreach, a Catholic university outreach program that began in St. Paul, Minn., has begun to bear fruit in our archdiocese. At Benedictine College in Atchison, about 20 men and women live in gender-specific households, host prayer meetings, and do evangelization outreach. We lost one of the women from the women’s household this semester. But that is good news, because she joined the convent!

A few of the students from Benedictine made the journey over to Topeka to visit and invite students at Washburn University to a Fan into Flame Retreat and to consider beginning the work of Saint Paul’s Outreach at Washburn. Patty Lyon, the director of campus ministry at Washburn, invited us to speak at Mass. Afterwards, one of the male students from Washburn, visibly moved by the work of the Lord, said, “This is exactly what I have been praying for the last two years.”

I hope you find these stories encouraging. No matter your state in life, age or financial situation, there is hope for your life in Jesus Christ. His mercies are not exhausted. They are renewed each morning — so great is his faithful love!

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Matt Karr

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