November 8, 2010

RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

SHERWOOD PARK – Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish is launching an innovative formation program to prepare parishioners for the future.

The ongoing program, based on an online survey, will include workshops and lectures on everything from spirituality to social justice.

"Faith formation is our responsibility as a parish," said pastoral assistant Bonnie Kirk. "The idea is to help our parishioners to grow."

The program, which will run from November to May, "is the result of having done a web survey with our parishioners using an online survey," explained Kirk.

In the survey, parishioners outlined their needs and preferences and suggested a number of topics and presenters. "We've got 100 responses, which I thought was pretty good," Kirk said.

Lectures will vary. During the three Mondays of Advent there will be an introduction to prayer and spirituality.

Sandy Prather of the Star of the North Retreat Centre starts the series with a lecture on spirituality the first Monday of Advent Nov. 29. "She is going to speak on everyday spirituality," noted Kirk.

The following Monday Father Stephen Hero speaks on the Underpinning of Our Spiritual Life and on Dec. 13 Father Wilf Murchland will lead a lectio divina.

Beginning in the New Year there will be three evenings focusing on sacraments with Father Leo Hoffman. These sessions will take place Jan. 10, 17 and 24 starting at 7 p.m.

Also planned is a full day workshop Feb. 26 with Redemptorist Father Mark Miller, who will explore the Christian moral life by examining hot topics such as bioethics, sexuality and justice.

On March 11 Bob McKeon will launch the Lenten Soup and Bread evenings introducing the challenge of justice in the Christian life. McKeon returns April 2 with a full day workshop on social justice.

On May 6-7 David Wells, an internationally renowned speaker from England, will offer an exploration of outreach and evangelization.

A brochure with detailed information on the different lectures and presenters will be ready in mid-November.

The formation program is ongoing and the lecture series will resume in September, Kirk said.