St. Thomas the Apostle Parish hosted three-day conference
The Diocese of Knoxville was the site of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate’s last Beginnings Institute before the Forum dissolves.
The diocese co-sponsored a three-day conference with the North American Forum June 13-15 at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Lenoir City. Sister Mary Timothea Elliott, RSM, director of the diocese’s Office of Christian Formation, said attendance at the Lenoir City conference topped capacity, with 92 attendees.
“The overall response was enthusiastic. Many commented on how much they learned, how helpful the conference was for setting specific goals for the coming year, and how inspired they were in their call to evangelize,” said Sister Timothea, who led the conference.
The North American Forum was founded 30 years ago to educate the laity who are engaged in full implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, re-established by Vatican II.
During the 30 years, the Forum has sponsored conferences on every phase of RCIA in dioceses throughout the country. It also has published Catechumenate, a professional journal, and sponsored many webinars for those involved in this parish ministry.
Participants in the June North American Forum conference represented 16 dioceses—from Los Angeles to Richmond, Va., and Chicago to Houston-Galveston.
“Such an opportunity to be with and establish relationships with so many engaged in RCIA and the beautiful setting of the St. Thomas campus and warm hospitality were greatly appreciated,” Sister Timothea said.
The Beginnings Institute was a learning opportunity for RCIA teams, liturgists, pastoral musicians, pastors and associates, catechists, sponsors, and social outreach committees.
The intensive conference was an initiation that invited participants to experience the conversion process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults through presentations, reflection, faith sharing, and celebration of adapted liturgies of initiation.
Participants learned skills and techniques critical to the implementation of the rite.
The institute invited participants to deepen their own faith in Jesus Christ and challenged them to explore the connection between good liturgy and catechesis.
Another focus of the conference was to assist participants in gaining a deeper understanding of the faith conversion journey.
Daily evaluations allowed Forum team members to know how well their presentations were understood and to glean questions from those present.
“The Knoxville conference was the last that North American Forum will ever give. They closed their operations effective June 30. Other programs for RCIA have been initiated and now draw from the base that they (Forum) had to support their apostolate,” Sister Timothea said. “We were privileged to have them, and to be their last highly successful conference.”