Exploring Creed through Catholic Traditions with Sister Veronica
By Donna Antonacci
Four County Catholic Contributor
“An enlightening presentation to help clarify the sources of Truth, Tradition and its influence on our Catholic beliefs.”
In a room of nearly 40 parishioners, Sister Veronica Mendez of RENEW International confidently explained “Why Catholics Read the Bible” as part of their ministry outreach program on faith enrichment. This four-year program, Why Catholic?, approved for our diocese by Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich, began last year as a faith enrichment program for adults. Sister Veronica said that last year’s subject was “prayer”; this year is “creed”; next year will be “sacraments”; and then “moral life”. Each year through a series of sessions, RENEW International staff informs and instructs local parishioners, helps them form team leaders and encourages them to continue instruction within their parish.
The session I attended took place on January 22 at Sacred Heart’s parish center. Sister Veronica began with a prayer, then asked the group what God means to them individually. We meditated for a moment on the question and then shared our thoughts at each table. Some responded that a specific person taught them about God. Some responded that specific events in their life revealed God to them. It was a pleasant, open exchange. Then Sister Veronica helped us better understand the Church Creed. We went beyond the discussion of “I believe in one God…” to explore the details of Tradition and tradition within the Church, and the Creed.
“Tradition” with the capital “T” represents key articles of faith, the Trinity, Immaculate Conception, and the resurrection, ascension, sacraments, and commandments. The other “tradition” with a small “t”, as she called it, refers to lesser stipulations such as not eating meat on Friday, fluctuation of Holy Days, wearing a hat to church, etc. Removal of capital “T” items will impact your faith in Christianity; whereas, the small “t” items are often adjustable with the times or culture and grow in and out of favor. For example, it is less important that we as Catholics don’t eat meat on Friday, than we recognize we are trying to be Christ-like in making a sacrifice.
She asked what non-Catholic objections to Catholicism we have heard in the community. This sparked vibrant conversation and resulted in answers like, “Catholics keep changing the rules and they have too many”, “They change their Holy Days”, “Why would you belong to a church that doesn’t elevate women to the same level as men”, just to name a few. Sister Veronica took our points one by one and answered them with Catholic creed and scripture. Then she armed us with the information we would need to respond to non-Catholic objections to the Catholic Church.
It was a very informative session and Sister Veronica was a good teacher. The group was enthusiastic and participatory. She supported everything with scripture, and taught us how to impart the knowledge to others. It ended with a closing song. In the next session, she will meet with team leaders to form their retreat team. The theme of the retreat will be, “Finding God in the ordinary”. I encourage those who are able to attend these sessions to do so.
Courtesy of Four County Catholic, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Norwich, CT