Saturday, September 25, 2010
Men's Ministry Apologetics Course
Apologetics - the art of defending the faith and giving a reasoned explanation for the faith. That's what the men who have joined the Saturday morning Apologetics Course at St Peter's Cathedral seek to acquire.
Coffee and donuts are available before the meeting which starts at 8.45am and lasts about an hour and a quarter.
The course follows a series published by San Juan Catholic Seminars.
Today's first session gave practical points concerning Bible reading and how to engage with others - Protestants - who may wish to discuss the Catholic faith. Charity was a key word.
Interestingly, the course says that one must always insist right at the beginning on dicussing the Eucharist in the light of Jn 6, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor. 10:14-17, Mk 14:22-24, Lk 24:30-35, 1 Cor. 11:23-29, Mt 26:26-28. We also looked at the writings of some of the early ecclesiastical writers and their description of the celebration of the Mass and their faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. These writings were given even before the Canon of Scripture was set by the Church. With these references to Scripture and the Fathers, one has an immediate opportunity to engage with one's Protestant interlocutor on the Church's scripturally based belief in the Eucharist. It is difficult if not impossible to deny that the faith of the early Church was clearly that Jesus is really and substantially present in the Eucharist, i.e. that the Lord is present by transubstantiion, and that Protestant theories such as trans-signification are not in keeping with Christ's teaching.
It was refreshing to note the men's obvious desire to learn their faith for their own sakes and to be able to pass it on to others. An interesting discussion took place concerning current developments in the liturgy in the Church, from reverence for the Eucharist to the hymns we use. But that shall remain within the group for the time being!
May God bless abundantly this latest initiative at forming men as lay apostles for the New Evangelisation.