National Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (NCCD)
The National Confraternity of Christian Doctrine conference (NCCD) was held in Brisbane from September 9-12. The conference celebrated the contribution made to the mission of the Church by the Apostolate of CCD in individual Dioceses, and the vibrant witness to the Good News and teaching of the Church provided by the volunteers associated with the ministry. These volunteers are truly authentic witnesses to our faith and constitute the biggest organised evangelising arm of the Church in Australia.
The Diocesan CCD Leaders who participated in the conference collectively work with over 7000 Catholic Volunteers who provide faith formation for around 150,000 young people in Government Schools, Parish based catechesis and Sacramental formation programs. Dioceses unable to be present at the conference additionally see approximately 75,000 young people, through the efforts of around an additional 2500 Parish based volunteers. The Conference recognised that over 50% of Catholic young people do not attend Catholic Schools and the formation provided by CCD was crucial to support Catholic families in nurturing their children in faith.
Critical formation for Diocesan Leaders of CCD was provided via input sessions led by Sr Anne Surtees and Fr John Frauenfelder. Sr Anne led participants in a process of ‘Listening to the Spirit’ as part of the Year of Grace to ensure that the efforts of both individual Dioceses, and NCCD as a collegiate group, are anchored in Christ and thus bear good fruit.
Fr John Frauenfelder provided input that affirmed the critical role that the Apostolate of CCD plays in the Australian Church, enabling Catholic volunteers to participate effectively in the mission of the Church and the New Evangelisation. Fr John passionately highlighted the call of the Church for laity to embrace co-responsibility for the mission for the Church and how CCD provides an established vehicle for training and resourcing of volunteers that enables them to participate in this mission effectively.
The Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge also addressed the gathering, affirmed and encouraged participants to ‘enliven the laity to draw young people into an encounter with the risen Jesus’ through their work in the Apostolate of CCD which is the ‘fundamental but often least glamorised of ministries’. Further to this, he stressed the need for laity to understand the critical contribution they are called to make to the mission of the Church by participating in the New Evangelisation. Archbishop Coleridge outlined how the upcoming Synod in Rome will focus on ‘New Evangelisation for the transmission of the Faith’ and lay people involved in this work are called to be driven by a ‘new fire and need to utilise new strategies’ are crucial to a new surge of Gospel energy.
A further highlight of the conference was the sharing of ideas, resources and programs that will enhance the way CCD in different parts of the country equip volunteers to participate in the critical mission of making Jesus known and loved. Further to this the conference allowed for the development of clear plans to enable collaboration across States and Dioceses through effective communication and appropriate representation and communication with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. (ACBC)