Catechesis…Isn’t that something they did a long time ago? How can I learn something about my faith?
Have you ever experienced having a conversation about your Catholic faith and felt completely unable to answer questions regarding the Church, what you believe and why? You are not alone and our Adult Faith Formation and Youth Ministry departments here at Branches takes this part of our mission very seriously. Catechesis, simply stated, is “to proclaim the Gospel in order to put people in communion with Jesus Christ” (CCC#426). To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every believer (CCC#904); whether you like to call it Catechesis or Faith Formation, our programs have been carefully selected to not only provide solid Catholic teaching but to deliver it in a relevant and meaningful way. Moreover, it is the goal of Branches Catholic Ministries to provide an atmosphere of fellowship and support to make the experience of our programs one of genuine spiritual growth; this is the essence of “bringing Catholic faith to modern culture”! We offer programs throughout the year both onsite at Branches Catholic Books & Gifts and in parishes throughout the Diocese of St. Catharines. This effort was asked of us by our Bishop of St. Catharines, Most Rev. Gerard P. Bergie. At this time, we are present in nine parishes in the Niagara Region facilitating adult faith formation programs as well as youth ministry. Please browse our adult faith formation and youth ministry sections to discover the amazing courses that many have been signing up for…to answer those tough questions, enrich their faith journey and to live with real purpose!
Catholics pray to saints! Catholics worship Mary!
We live in an age where the Church is targeted by individuals who do not understand the true Catholic faith, yet aggressively condemn the Church based on what they believe it to be through grave misunderstanding. Often times, we as Catholics may not know how to effectively defend these accusations. Catholic Apologetics is the art of defending our Catholic faith—knowing and understanding our doctrine so we are equipped to effectively refute false impressions with the truth—what our Church actually teaches. This section will aid you in understanding common misconceptions that the Catholic Church faces, providing you with the accurate teachings of the Church. So the next time you hear someone scorning purgatory, the Holy Mother, or infant baptism, you will know how to defend the Bride of Christ through truth and reason.
The Catholic Church is immensely rich in teachings of faith, hope, and love, both intellectual and spiritual, deeply rooted in the teachings of Christ. Our Sacred Tradition, given to us by our Savior and passed down through the apostles, is meant to lead us in our everyday lives, bringing us closer to our Lord, our salvation. In this section you will come to a better understanding of our Creed and Catechism as the revelation of God, with our Sacraments as a fountain of grace gifted to us for our faith journey in this life.
“If I (St. Paul) am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great…” (1 Tim. 3:15-16)
In the above passage, St. Paul states that the church is the foundation of truth. In this section, you will become acquainted with the origin, and guided through the progression and evolution, of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Catholic Church. Learn about how the Church has defended—and continues to defend—the integrity of the teachings passed down by Christ to the Apostles for over 2000 years.
Marriage and Sexuality
Marriage is a vocation—a calling—where we become sacramentally bound to another human being, as two become one flesh (Mark 10:8). As trying as life becomes, we must never lose sight of the beauty that God reserves for us in marriage. And yet, for us to never lose sight, we must first see clearly. In this section, based on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, you will be led through God’s plan for us in marriage, with an understanding of the gift of human sexuality.
“It is impossible for a person who prays regularly to remain in serious sin; because the two are incompatible, one or the other will have to be given up.”—St. Theresa of Avila
With the chaos of everyday life, we tend to find little time for prayer—nurturing our relationship with our God who created us—and yet it is through our relationship with Him that we will flourish amidst the chaos. Ask yourself: How well do I know God? Do I understand how much He loves me? Do I open myself to the path that He has set for me? Do I have an understanding of the life He wants for me—the expectations He has of me? Do I live up to those expectations? Do I even try? In this section you will be inspired to put your faith into practice, opening your heart to the grace of God, your eternal Father who wants nothing but faith, peace, and fulfillment for you.
Catholics are often ridiculed for not being well enough acquainted with the Word of God through Sacred Scripture. Perhaps you yourself tend to flip to any given page of the Bible looking for answers or a new perspective, without having an understanding of the biblical story, beginning to end. What we need to learn and hold dear to our hearts is that the Bible is our story—our history—given to us by the One who loved us into existence. In this section, you will learn that the New Testament is the divine fulfillment of the Old Testament, gaining an understanding of where you fit on the timeline of salvation history. It is time to examine your history—your God who loves you so dearly—in the greatest story ever written.