A few thoughts of Aidan Troy, C.P.
Weekends are special at St Joseph’s. However, this weekend each year is that bit extra special. Because once again we begin the journey of faith formation of the children. CCD begins a journey that will see some have First Reconciliation celebrated; the joy of First Holy Communion on 30th May 2020; others who will receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the next day, Pentecost Sunday. Others will meet Jesus in Gospel Group and other classes introducing them to Jesus.
CCD is a community venture that cannot work without a whole network of generous people walking the path of faith, hope and love together. There are students, parents and families, a co-ordinator, teachers and assistants, those who prepare the Hall, orange juice and cake after class and so much more. In the background there is a priest who watches in wonder and gratitude at the workings of God’s grace in this amazing community.
The context of CCD is not only the imparting of religious knowledge, important though that always is; all that happens centres on the Mass and supported by prayer of people of our parish. Personally, I have never seen anything as beautiful as this great movement of faith. The sight of all that happens keeps my faith not only alive but strengthened week in and week out. Thanks to you and to God for this at the heart of our community.
It breaks my heart when I hear and read stories complaining about the “imposition” of religious education on children and their families. When you freely chose to have your child baptised, you gave them a start in life that money cannot buy. You asked God to put His seal on them.
Sorry, but without freedom of choice of parents and families in the realm of faith, something has gone seriously wrong in the Body of Christ. Jesus does not take prisoners, especially beloved children. The beauty of our life at St Joseph’s is that unless all of you who are engaged in any way in CCD come on board freely, I have no way of having the joy and beauty of First Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation and all that happens.
The same joy fills my heart when adults come to St Joseph’s to ask for Sacraments. Some may already have a religious belief; others have just a whisper of Jesus that brings them to seek to know Him better and even to fall in love with Him.
Lest anyone conclude that we are perfect at St Joseph’s and do all things very well. No, there is always more and better that can be done. Beginning with me as pastor, I am a sinful man struggling to be holy, to become a saint. I still have a long way to go on the journey.
You have struggles and trials in life. It is not easy, I’m sure, to get to St Joseph’s on a Sunday morning for CCD class. But you do it. That is faith in action and love freely given.
In this the 150th Year of St Joseph’s on this site, we are truly blessed once again this year. Enrolments are all the time increasing, generous people give of their time and their own faith to make CCD happen. It would be a great voyage of discovery if we could find out how many students went through CCD in one form or another since 1869! One person is important to God; the numbers over the past 150 years must be a delight to the Divine Heart. May God bless you all in the year ahead.