This week, the 2021 School of Liturgy continues its work virtually, over a period of about three weeks, from August 2 to August 21, with lectures, workshops, and a panel discussion on the last day. The school started in the 70s and was initially called the Antilles School of Liturgy with people coming from other dioceses to attend.
In the 2021 virtual iteration of the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications, Sr Angela Ann Zukowski, Professor and Director of Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton, lectured on some of the Church’s encyclicals and documents.
Both annual schools were not held in 2020, year one of the Covid-19 pandemic, but organisers have worked to ensure these annual schools, developed to benefit the local and regional Church, have made a comeback.
The year-plus of the pandemic has sown seeds of growth in advancing an understanding of the Catholic faith. The Know Your Faith series, for example, which began in January of this year, is available on CatholicTT, CREDI and Trinity TV’s respective Facebook pages.
Courses are available as well at the Seminary, the Catholic Religious Education for Development Institute (CREDI) and the Catholic Bible Institute. These are all real opportunities to understand the Catholic faith, its rich traditions, teachings, and intellectual legacy, all more accessible now, with information that may have been previously perceived as for an exclusive few.
Catholics have been often labelled as ignorant of the Bible, unable to quote scripture and verse. Beyond that, however, are fundamental truths to the universal Church that are simultaneously relevant and unchanging in the face of many contemporary issues that have been assailing the world—from same sex marriage (which does not have at its basis prejudice) to the latest mistrust in science and the erroneous belief that having ‘faith in God’ precludes the trust in God-given abilities in scientific discovery and development.
Growing in popularity now as well, is the loud decrying of Pope Francis and his very clear stances, all in alignment with Church teachings and the spirit of love. Where there is application of Church teaching on particular topics, it is seen as threat to tradition and the backlash is astonishing, this from members who are proud in their Catholic identity. They see no contradiction in their stance against the Pope nor seeing him as undermining the very Church he leads.
The local archdiocese has had its own experience with this: one only has to think back to the beginning of the pandemic and reactions to the decision to suspend the sharing of the Blood of Christ. And at present, the Church’s pro-vaccine position for those who can take it, in the context of the common good during a pandemic is a source of great displeasure to many.
Personal faith is a complex matter, and each is on a journey. All the above indicate gaps in understanding basic teachings of the Church, or simply a lack of knowledge.
Deepening knowledge has the benefit of deepening faith and trust, and building in confidence in the Catholic identity.
We are all called to be open to avail ourselves of the opportunities as they occur to learn more; you may find a clarity that escaped before. It is what is required once you call yourself a follower of Christ.