Year focuses on faith renewal Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Patrick Delaney, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Last October, Pope Benedict XVI released his apostolic letter Porta Fidei (“The Door of Faith”) announcing a Year of Faith to begin for the Universal Church this October 11, 2012, concluding on the Feast of Christ the King, November 24, 2013.

The primary aim Pope Benedict has for this special year is “to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.”

Importance of the Catechism

To facilitate such a renewal, the Holy Father invited the faithful to make “a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Echoing Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict called the Catechism “one of the most important fruits” of the Second Vatican Council which “will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church.”

Encountering Christ

Within it, he tells us, “we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person (Jesus Christ) who lives within the Church.”

Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who entered human history, is the fullness of revelation.

Seat of Wisdom adult-level courses on the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be held at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, Madison, with the following schedule:
  • Introduction to Sacred Scripture, Patrick Delaney and Chris Schmelzer — Saturdays, Sept. 15 and Oct. 13, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Creed (Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillar I), Kristine Kranenburg — Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Celebration of the Christian Mystery (Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillar II), Chris Schmelzer — Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Life in Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillar III), Kristine Kranenburg — Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Christian Prayer (Catechism of the Catholic Church Pillar IV), Abbot Marcel Rooney — Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • For more information, including a full schedule, course descriptions, and to register, go to or call 608-821-3160.

In Him, the Word of God (John 1:1), we have all of the inexhaustible truth, goodness, and grace which the Father willed to bestow upon the world for salvation, to fulfill our deepest desires for ultimate truth and joy, even unto eternal life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, being the “sure norm” for teaching the faith, is also a summary of the Church’s 2000 years of contemplation, the “pondering in her heart,” of all that God has revealed in Jesus Christ (Luke 2:19).

As we study the Catechism, we are thus naturally and gently drawn into that contemplation of the saints, and indeed, much more.

As Jesus promised to be with the Church until the end of time, and that those who listened to the Church would be listening to him, in this same way, Pope Benedict explains that when we study the Catechism we actually encounter the Person of Jesus Christ.

“On page after page,” he writes, “we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person (Jesus Christ) who lives within the Church.”

Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute

The Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute will be launching its core courses again this year which are designed to be adult-level explorations of the Church’s professed and lived faith, as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Throughout the last three years, involving around 1,500 participants, many have indeed encountered Jesus Christ through these courses on the Catechism, and as Pope Benedict expresses in Porta Fidei, they find a new “joy of believing” and an “enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”

Catechist John Schroeder from Our Lady of Assumption parish in Beloit wrote, “Having attended Catholic grammar schools, a Catholic high school, and teaching in a Catholic high school, I still found out there was so much I didn’t know about the Church and its history. . . . I would ABSOLUTELY recommend others take advantage of these classes.”

Rachel Baker from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison wrote, "My experience with the Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute was most rewarding, on both a spiritual and intellectual level. The course material was well-constructed and the speakers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There was a LOT of information — no wasted time. . . . The speakers made themselves available for questions during breaks. It was an absolute feast of learning, fulfilling on so many levels, and yet left me hungry to learn more both on my own and in the classroom. I wish that every adult in the diocese could/would take these classes. I believe people would grow their appreciation of the Catholic faith if they knew more about it."

Courses begin Saturday

The regular fall adult-level Seat of Wisdom courses begin Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison. Other courses may be scheduled at the request of local parishes throughout the year.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 13, the course on Sacred Scripture will be offered including a summary of the entire faith and history of salvation utilizing sacred art as a tool, a discussion on the nature of divine revelation within salvation history including how Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are distinct yet necessary interrelated components serving the safeguarding and professing of divine revelation. There will also be discussions on what we can know about God by reason alone, the nature of faith as a response to God, and rather comprehensive timeline of biblical history.

Other courses continuing on generally the second Saturday of each month include explorations of the different “pillars” of the Catechism: The Creed (November 3), The Sacraments (January 12), Life in Christ (February 9), and Christian Prayer (March 9).

Each of these day-long sessions begins with optional Holy Mass at 8:15 a.m., class beginning at 9:00 a.m., a lunch break from 12 to 1:00 p.m., with the day concluding at 4:00 p.m. The courses are $15 for those able to pay. Register online at or call 608-821-3160.

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