By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—The diocese is offering two courses in faith formation—one for the Northern Panhandle and one for the Charleston area.
Blessed Sacrament Parish in South Charleston is the location of a course on the Sacraments, which will be offered Jan. 17, 24, and 31; and Feb. 7, 14, and 21. The seminar offers participants an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the history and theology of the church’s sacraments, said Nick Mayrand, director of Formation and Mission for the diocese. The weekly discussion meetings, he said, will allow members of various parishes in the Charleston area to come together to draw out practical connections between the course materials and their own lives. “This Sacraments seminar is a live adaptation of a seminar offered by the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF),” Mayrand said. “Our diocese has been a VLCFF partner for many years, making it possible for people in our diocese to take a range of courses at a discounted fee. While many people enjoy the flexibility of the online format, we know that some folks prefer the traditional in-person style, so we’ve started to offer live seminars like this one.”
The course will be facilitated by Blessed Sacrament parishioner Gerri Wright, who has been teaching online courses through the University of Dayton’s VLCFF for many years. She has her master’s in pastoral ministry from Duquesne University and a certificate in spiritual direction, and has been involved with various diocesan faith formation initiatives, Mayrand said.
In the northern region of the state, the faithful will have the opportunity to enroll in the course “Our Hearts Were Burning” (Theory and Practice of Adult Faith Formation) which will be offered Jan. 22 and 29, and Feb. 5 and 12 at Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling. The facilitator will be Shirley Carter, diocesan campus minister at Bethany College and West Liberty University.
“The course builds from the USCCB’s pastoral plan for adult faith formation in the United States, which was put forth in the document ‘Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us,’” Mayrand said. “Participants will dive into key sections of the document to spark discussion of practical ways we can continue to grow as communities of faith in response to the bishops’ call to prioritize adult faith formation in parish life.”
Those who enroll in the course will learn about the U.S. bishops’ vision for adult faith formation in parish life. Mayrand said they will have a unique opportunity to dialogue about faith formation with members of other parishes in the area, sharing their struggles and highlighting best practices.
“The seminar is designed to give members of our parishes a deepened sense of the theory and practice of faith formation with adults so that they can return to their parishes and put what they’ve learned into practice in service of the other members of their parishes,” he said. “The seminar also offers an opportunity for members of different parishes to connect and share ideas.”
The diocese plans to offer seminars in other parts of the state as well. Online seminars through the diocese’s partnership with the University of Dayton are still available. Those with interest in taking one of these seminars, whether in-person or online, should contact Mayrand for more information. The cost of both courses is $20. The registration deadline for both is Jan. 21. To register or for more information, send e-mail to Mayrand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith Formation Courses to be Offered in the North & South
By Colleen Rowan