The story behind Conversations about Catholics
L to R: Fr Garry McKeown, Parish Priest, Anne McLean, Sr Alice Sullivan, rsj and Annie Flynn at the 25 October 2012 original book launch.
Listening to parents of children who are about to start school, or who are preparing for Baptism and other sacraments and/or are a parent with a different faith tradition, there are often questions about the Catholic faith and traditions. In these formal settings, parents can feel embarrassed and don’t want to ask.
A simple program to connect people with the Catholic Faith and to provide answers to some of these questions has been designed, printed and used by Anne McLean and Sr Alice Sullivan from the Diocese of Bathurst. Their forty-page programme called Conversations about Catholics is well structured and resourced. It provides four weekly sessions of 60 to 90 minutes in length, ideally, for parents/guardians with children beginning kindergarten at a Catholic School. The programme includes ideas on how to gather a group, how to provide warm hospitality and how to lead the group. One-page background material for leaders ensures the leaders will not be embarrassed if there is a ‘Catholic’ term that they are uncertain about or find it hard to explain in a simple way.
The four sessions are: Who we are and why we are here? A walk through the Church building. Praying with your children. Ritual of empowerment and encouragement. Conversations about Catholics is a programme that is informal and is in small groups which establishes a sense of belonging amongst the group, to the school and to the parish faith community. As a result, parents participate more comfortably in the rituals of the Church including Mass. For some, it is a stepping-stone to the reconnection with the Church and to the RCIA program (this is the story for Anne Flynn who participated in a group, joined an RCIA program to then do the design and illustration for the Conversations about Catholics book). For all, there is a sense of sacredness in sharing stories of meaning and faith and building community.
Conversations about Catholics is available for $25 plus postage and comes with a CD to enable easy access to the handouts for printing and distribution. Contact Sr Alice for a copy. (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 0428741342.