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‘Forward in Faith’ classes draw higher than expected enrollment
February 1st, 2012
By Valerie Schmalz

The first week of Catholic adult faith formation classes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco drew nearly 50 percent more participants than organizers expected.

Walk-ins at parish sites in San Mateo, Marin and San Francisco counties boosted enrollment from the 1,000 expected to close to 1,400, including about 250 for the Spanish language version, said Cindy Gammer, assistant to San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy.

“I think when people get to know the quality of what is being offered here I think word of mouth will create even more interest,” said St. Emydius pastor Father Bill Brady, who is attending the weekly class at Our Lady of Mercy parish on Thursdays.

“Forward in Faith: Educational Enrichment for the Thinking Catholic” debuted the week of Jan. 17 at 12 parish locations throughout Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. The cost is $50 a year for 20 sessions. The first 10 classes run in the spring and a second set of 10 are scheduled for fall.

The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry supplies the lectures as DVDs via its online “Church in the 21st Century Center” in the context of an Archdiocese of San Francisco curriculum developed by Father Dave Pettingill, former director of the School of Pastoral Leadership, an adult education initiative in 1994-95, and Sister Celeste Arbuckle, director of the archdiocesan Office for Religious Education and Youth Ministry.

In addition to the Boston College lectures, Bishop McElroy is presenting two lectures that integrate the lectures in the light of the catechism of the Catholic Church.

The first semester focuses on Christ in Scripture and the identity of the church. The second semester will address the sacramental life of the church and the Christian moral life.

Each class includes a Boston College lecture followed by facilitated discussions led by local faith educators. The program is scheduled 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings the weeks of Jan. 17 through March 20 with the second semester from September through December.

Enrollment for this year is closed but the archdiocese plans to offer the program next year.

From February 3, 2012 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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