When Holy Name of Jesus Parish decided to conduct an adult faith formation class on the Sacraments, they expected about 100 people to attend. They were pleasantly surprised when 400 people turned out each week for in-depth study. The six-part series titled, “Foundations of Sacramental Theology in the New Testament,” was offered between Sept. 4 and Oct.9.
The classes were taught by Holy Name of Jesus Parochial Vicar, Father Jeremiah Payne, who also developed the curriculum this past summer. It’s considered a higher tier religious education class. The parish has traditionally offered many basic faith formation opportunities but this series dove deeper and explored the “why” in addition to the “what” of Catholic doctrine.
The series was designed to help people understand the Biblical foundations for Catholic practice.
“The class helped people dive deeper into the Eucharistic mystery. Catholic doctrine is discernible in the Scriptures,” said Father Payne.
“It’s important that people have answers about the faith so when they are challenged they will know how to respond,” said Father Payne.
Father Payne is a former professor of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He is also the censor librorum for the Diocese of Orlando. This means he has been designated to review certain publications to see if they comply with the parameters of Catholic teaching.
As a priest, it was most gratifying for Father Payne to help parishioners delve into the mysteries of the Eucharist.
“A priest exists so the Eucharist can be available to the people of God. It is the source and summit of our lives. I want to help people have a deeper understanding of what Christ intends and the deeper meaning of the Eucharistic sacrifice.”
The classes explored the historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of Sacramental theology. Father Payne cited numerous Scripture references, including St. Paul’s letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and Titus; 1 Peter and Mark.
A brief question and answer period followed each class for participants to clarify their understanding of the Sacrament.
Cara and Matt Giuliano are both religion teachers at Melbourne Central Catholic High School who met while in college at Franciscan University Steubenville.
“I feel like we’re back in college,” Matt said “It’s not new information, but it’s presented in a new way.”
Cara agreed that the material is good preparation for teaching the Sacraments.
Both Father Payne’s PowerPoint presentations and the audio of the presentations are available on the parish website. Visit www.hnj.org.