A holistic approach to healing, hope

16 Oct 2020

By The Record

Dominican Sister Margaret Scharf OP, coordinator of Adult Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of Perth, plays the guitar during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Mass at Embleton Parish on 5 July 2020. Eric Martin.

By Sr Margaret Scharf OP

Along the way, we are thrown a few curve balls and we may find ourselves in places not on our personal itinerary.

These places along the way are part of the mystery which affects us in ways not imagined: spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. At times, we are filled with deep joy and at others we are covered in a blanket of grief, pain, disillusionment or tragedy. Sometimes, we wonder how we will find the strength to take the next step on what appears to be anything but a sacred journey of life.

There is a way we can embrace the difficulties which become part of our personal story. The most important thing to do is to wake up to the issue; to become conscious of what is taking place in our lives, rather than sleepwalking through our life. While hiding the issue under a mat may be a temporary fix, the cross we bear rises to the surface of our lives when we least expect it, confronting us, almost daring us to meet it head-on.

Where do we go when we are aware of the crosses? With whom do we share our struggles which have the potential to stop us from going forward into tomorrow? How do we nurture our personal faith in the trinity and our connection with God, self, others and all creation? How do we come together to pray and worship and be graced by the sacraments instituted by Christ and celebrated through the community we call “Church”?

There are many Archdiocesan agencies established with a common mandate to offer the people of Perth mercy, compassion, healing, and hope. Their differing ministries offer us an opportunity to “choose life”, as we read in Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a: “choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving adonai, your God, being obedient [listening intently] and holding fast to God”.

The adult faith formation network of agencies is an expression of the broad understanding of spiritual and faith formation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the heart of the matter for each agency, and each has a unique way of reaching out to help the church grow into the fullness of God. This includes all personal, family and parish responses to Pope Francis’ call for us all to become “missionary disciples,” with Jesus as our centre-point.

“ … hiding the issue under a mat may be a temporary fix, the cross we bear rises to the surface of our lives when we least expect it, confronting us, almost daring us to meet it head-on.”

Within the Perth Archdiocese is the gradual establishment of parish faith formation coordinators, women and men who are dedicated to planning and presenting topics related to the life of the parish.

They are responsible for enlisting the support of resource personnel from the various agencies in the presentation of topics, hopefully, following an adult faith formation plan designed by the parish faith formation team in consultation with the parish priest.

This is a direct response to the Archdiocesan Plan launched in 2015.

This issue of The Record Magazine offers an introduction to these wonderful agencies so that you may know of their existence and mission.

I hope you enjoy reading their stories and use this edition as a resource for future use when the going gets tough, individually, and when the parish is searching for continued spiritual and faith formation.

From pages 14 to 15 of Issue 27: Adult Faith Formation in the context of Healing’ of The Record Magazine