by ROWENA OREJANA
The end of three very different faith journeys was celebrated at the graduation of Philip Doyle, Maree Flynn and Detta Fairweather from the Walk by Faith programme on November 30.
Walk by Faith is a three-year course in catechetics and evangelisation under the umbrella of The Catholic Institute (TCI). Auckland tutor Peter Garrick said it is undergoing a major revival
in Auckland and Dunedin.
“Dunedin had a big boost last year with 11 students in year one. This year, Auckland had a big boost, with 11 year one students,” he said.
The Walk By Faith course has been run for more than 30 years on behalf of the NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference by the National Centre for Religious Studies. In the the past two years, the centre has been part of TCI.
“It was originally set up by the New Zealand bishops to train teachers in Catholic schools, because there was no theological formation available in those days.
They designed it so there would be a course available for teachers in Catholic schools to do but, in
fact, most of the people who did it were from parishes,” said Mr Garrick.
Mr Doyle’s project was the development of a process for a parish to assess its strengths, weaknesses, as well as opportunities and challenges for it to become a “Fit for Mission” parish.
“I found the programme very gentle yet well structured, but it was still demanding because there are deadlines,” he said.
Mrs Flynn, on the other hand, was focused on a personal journey of faith, reflecting with her daughter on their changing relationship though the lens of the mysteries of the rosary.
“It was very, very healing and non-confrontational. We used the rosary and four mysteries as a base for reflective talk. I would reflect on myself as a mother and share my reflections with her, and
she did the same,” Mrs Flynn said.
Mrs Fairweather explored the charism of the Sisters of Mercy and looked at how this can further enrich the values of Star of the Sea School.
“I worked with a group of teachers, and some of our work will be embedded in the classroom,” she said.
Mr Doyle said the programme provided some adult formation as well the personal reflections they were required to do.
Mr Garrick said it was quite a substantive course, with many different aspects to it in terms of study guide, assignments, six weekly tutorials and twice yearly seminars.
Although graduation marked the end of the course, “it’s up to them really how they get involved
in their parishes or schools, but it’s an accepted qualification for teachers in Catholic
schools,” he said.
by ROWENA OREJANA