IFM graduates celebrate gifts, talents and diversity
|Beginning Theology and Certificate in Pastoral Formation graduates with Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP at the Institute For Mission Commissioning Mass 2011. Photo: Susan Daily IBVM|
By Institute For Mission Coordinator of Parish Services Daniel Ang
Institute For Mission (IFM) - the Parramatta Diocesan Centre for Catholic Adult Faith Formation - has celebrated the commissioning of 38 students from the year-long Certificate in Pastoral Formation course as well as Beginning Theology, a Certificate III course in Christian Ministry and Theology.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, presided at the Mass of Commencement and Commissioning, held at St Patrick’s Parish, Blacktown on Friday 4 March. Priests from the Diocese and beyond were in attendance, alongside friends and family who celebrated the achievement of the graduating students.
The Parramatta Certificate in Pastoral Formation is a 40-week course conducted by IFM, covering Christian spirituality, Sacred Scripture, Theology and Ministry. The Certificate also involves spiritual companioning groups which introduce students to the skills of theological reflection, and personal spiritual direction as a part of the commitment to formation. There are 39 men and women, from across the Diocese, undertaking the Certificate in 2011.
The richness of formation
In his homily, Bishop Anthony reflected on the meaning of spiritual formation, identifying its deepest dimension as an encounter of the Holy Spirit and the reception of God’s gifts that call for our response in life. He highlighted the need for a sound knowledge of the faith, particularly among those who minister to others, and affirmed the need for Christian formation to be substantial and grounded in the great mysteries of faith.
The Bishop recognised the richness of the formation that had been offered within an experience of community, and noted ‘your Diocese, parish and family continue to offer such a setting for both giving and receiving spiritual gifts.’
The liturgy also provided an opportunity to honour the mentors and assessors who have contributed their time and skills to the courses undertaken, as well as to welcome commencing students in 2011 to IFM as they embarked on their own journey of formation in faith.
Following the liturgy, students received their certificates from Bishop Anthony, alongside IFM Director Sr Maria Bongiorno IBVM.The night was a testimony to the gifts, talents and diversity of the men and women of the Catholic Parramatta Diocese, committed to transformative learning for mission and ministry in their parish communities and beyond.
Read Bishop Anthony's Homily in full
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