by Father Pat Murphy
If we wanted to give a title to this time of year, perhaps we could call it: “The Back to School Season.”
It seems that for the past months, the emphasis has been about getting people the right school supplies and all the right clothes to go back to school in style.
Here at the office of Hispanic ministry we have also been in the back- to-school mood because, in the last month, we have been making some great efforts to help people become more focused on the discipleship style of life.
Let me share with you three exciting examples of how people have made the sacrifice to go back to school to learn about their Catholic faith.
1) Aug. 25 — We had a graduation ceremony for 17 leaders from the com- munity who completed the three-year faith formation program called “Leaders for the New Evangelization.” These people, coming from seven different parishes, made the commitment to come back to school every Monday evening for three years from September to May (7 – 9:30 p.m.) in order to learn what it means to be a leader in the church. The archbishop was with us that evening to hand out the diplomas to all the graduates.
2) Sept. 14 — We began the next generation of our three-year program with 38 students. This is a record number of people coming back to school to learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I am both sorry and happy to report that this year we had to turn students away due to space limitations.
3) Biblical Pastoral Institute (BPI) — We just started this new project here in the archdiocese. Our goal is to put the Bible into the hands of our Spanish- speaking brothers and sisters so that they know how to defend their faith.
We are starting with three weekend retreats at three different locations
(Topeka, Emporia, and Savior Pastoral Center) that will present an introduction to the Bible.
All candidates in the BPI will be asked to complete 100 hours of Bible study in two years. The goal of the BPI is that every student would be able to take the following courses at his or her local parishes: three in the Old Testament, three in the New Testament, and two optional courses. Once they have completed their course work, they would attend a final retreat and present their final project. At this juncture we have 130 people signed up for the BPI.
I think we can conclude that when it comes to the Catholic faith, going back to school is not such a bad idea after all.