We’ve taken the plunge. Paul and I have applied to begin studies at the Kino Catechetical Institute this fall. Assuming we’re accepted (and who knows, that might be a long shot!), I will enter the Adult Faith Formation program, while Paul will enter the Adult Faith Formation and Parish Leadership Certificate program. The webiste says that those who are called to this formation (AFF/PL) include:
- Adult Catholics
- Parish leaders (current or aspiring)
- Deacon inquirers
- Married couples
- Catholic converts
Both of us fit into several of those categories! And after a great deal of discussion and prayer, we are both very excited about this opportunity to grow deeper in our faith and understanding of Church teachings.
The AFF and AFF/PL are both 2 year programs, with the Parish Leadership classes being held on Saturdays throughout the two years, and the Adult Faith Formation being held one night per week from August through May. I will be taking these 14 courses, together with Paul, and he will take an additional four courses for Parish Leadership, choosing from:
- Evangelization and Catechesis
- Canonical Law
- Cultural and Ecumenical Realities
- Children’s Catechesis
- Youth Evangelization
- RCIA/Adult Formation
I am actually quite interested in some of those subjects as well, but I also know I am not cut out for leadership positions – and I’m not planning to get a catechist certification.
This feels a little crazy, I haven’t been a student in more than 2 decades (and I wasn’t very good college material even then, not because I didn’t enjoy studying, which I did, but primarily due to classroom anxiety). I might not have the nerve to do this if I weren’t going with my sweetie. This will be the first thing we have really done *together*, like, EVER — and it stands to reason it would be something like taking theology courses together. After all, it was theological debate that brought us together in the first place! 🙂
Below I’ve included my application essay — as an applicant to the AFF program I wasn’t required to write one (that requirement is only for those seeking entry into the Parish Leadership program) but I thought it would be a good exercise anyway. Unsurprisingly, I could not manage to keep it to the suggested 500-word count. 😀
And as always, your prayers are much appreciated as we take on this project, and particularly for Paul, as he discerns the direction his future ministry might take.
My name is Annette Heidmann, and I am applying for acceptance to the Adult Faith Formation Program at the Kino Catechetical Institute, beginning in the fall of 2015.
In order to explain why I am interested in attending the Kino Institute, I offer a little of my family history for context. My father was a devout protestant pastor with a passion for teaching the faith, and growing up in his home meant that learning was a lifestyle for our whole family. In addition to requiring that (as soon as we knew how to write) we all take notes on his sermons and bible studies (two on Sundays and one on Wednesdays), he regularly read to the family around the dinner table or just for fun in the evenings. One day it might be Bible and theological commentaries he was using for sermon prep, another, something on discipleship, and of course there were works on the formation of a Christian culture, as well as philosophy and apologetics. Whatever was challenging him at the time, we all got to learn about along with him. In this way, we all as a family followed a faith journey that began in a fundamentalist sect, yet found my father, at the end of his life, a Deacon in a Continuing Anglican denomination, and reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The fact that his entire family, including his wife, children, their spouses, and most of his grandchildren, entered the Roman Catholic Church within three years of his death is due in no small part to the road we walked together for so many years, and especially the integrity with which he pursued the Truth.
During the 22 years I have been married to my husband, Paul, we spent time in both Presbyterian and Anglican churches, but while theology, doctrine, and liturgical practice are all important, the Lord drew our hearts to an inner city mission, where he allowed us the blessing of getting to know many precious souls in great need both physically and spiritually. Our lives were entwined with theirs from that time to this, and we have been overjoyed to bring them along with us into the Catholic Church and see their continuing growth, along with our own, in a Church that our hearts were longing for all along, a Church that combined the doctrinal foundation we were seeking, the liturgical beauty of the mass, and the works of mercy without which our faith is dead.
Therefore, as a lifelong Christian, relatively new convert, a Catholic wife, a home schooling mother of teens, foster mom, and godmother to many neighborhood kids, I am keenly aware of how important catechesis and proper religious formation are. I am excited that we have access to the Kino Institute for several reasons:
- Firstly, as a resource for educating myself, and growing in my understanding of the Catholic faith – something I was taught to value from an early age.
- Secondly, as a chance to learn alongside my husband, beside whom I have learned and labored so many years, and whom I admire so greatly for his passion for bringing the good news to “the least of these.” Wherever God plans to use him in the years to come, I wish to be a useful and effective partner in ministry.
- And finally, although I have not mentioned it in depth, because as a mother, I have been given an awesome responsibility: to train up my children in the way they should go, that when they are old they might not depart from it. That is the primary reason we decided many years ago that we would be a homeschooling family. As Pope Saint John Paul II said:
“Thus the little domestic Church, like the greater Church, needs to be constantly and intensely evangelized: hence its duty regarding permanent education in the faith…the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates…the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home.”
I feel the great weight of this responsibility, and believe that my time and energy spent in pursuing this certificate of Adult Faith Formation will pay great dividends in my ability to effectively pass on the faith to my children.