Catholic Leaders and Catechists From Central and Eastern Europe Receive Formation and Training | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Catholic Leaders and Catechists From Central and Eastern Europe Receive Formation and Training

    A partnership between the Catechetical Institute and the Language and Catechetical Institute draws Eastern and Western Catholics closer together.

    Dr. Petroc Willey, professor of Catechetics, speaks to Eastern European catechists who gathered in Gaming, Austria, for six days of training, prayer, and formation

    August 29, 2019

    GAMING, AUSTRIA—Catechists, evangelists, and Catholic leaders from central and eastern Europe gathered March 18-23 at Franciscan University’s study abroad home at the Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu in Gaming, Austria, for the Catechist Formation Seminar.

    Hosted through a partnership between Franciscan University’s Catechetical Institute and Gaming’s Language and Catechetical Institute (LCI), the seminar brought together a bishop, Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic priests, a religious brother and sister, and lay men and women for prayer, formation, and support. The 20 participants hailed from the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Albania, Romania, Georgia, Poland, and Azerbaijan. 

    As part of the Language and Catechetical Institute’s mission to reconnect Catholics in the East and West after the fall of the Iron Curtain and help rebuild the Church in the East, the seminar offered formation in magisterial guidelines and evangelistic tools for participants to bring back to their local communities.

    Dr. Petroc Willey, director of the Catechetical Institute and professor of theology, led workshops on the stages of evangelization, catechesis, and formation. Throughout the week, participants had focused discussions on the role of the catechist and impediments and opportunities for evangelization.

    “The leaders in evangelization and catechesis from Central and Eastern Europe at this seminar give us enormous hope for the future of the Church,” said Willey. “Despite the devastation of the Church by the forces of Communism, we experience tremendous trust in their ongoing suffering that God’s providence is guiding a profound rebuilding in these countries.

    “It is a privilege to be part of this rebuilding and to make available to them the wealth of formation material from the Catechetical Institute. Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, (Franciscan University president 1974-2000) saw the Franciscan Austrian program as a beachhead for the re-evangelization of Europe, and it is exciting to see this shaping into reality through the University’s partnership with the Language and Catechetical Institute.”

    Other presenters included Dr. Christine Mugridge, founder of Sacred Arts Communication, who spoke on “Pope John Paul II’s Vision for the Evangelization of Europe,” and Monsignor Robert Oliver from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, who presented, “Principles and Best Practices for Safe Environment for Children and Youth.”

    Professor Jennifer Healy, LCI co-director and adjunct art professor for the Austrian Program, credits the generosity of donors for the development of the conference and partnership, including the Witham Family, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Aid to the Church in Need International.

    Another conference is planned for spring 2020. In fall 2019, the LCI will host a course in English for Central and Eastern European bishops.

    For more information on the Language and Catechetical Institute, visit the LCI website.

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