Maynooth gathering highlights fruits of catechism study

Mary O’Donnell reports on a day of prayer in Maynooth for students of the Catechism to mark the Year of Faith

Priests and laity currently studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church travelled from various parts of Ireland to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, for a celebration to mark the Year of Faith last week.

The day of prayer included a talk by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who was one of the seven diocesan bishops on the editorial committee which assisted in the drafting of the Catechism 20 years ago.

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown also spoke to the gathering, which included Cardinal Sean Brady, Armagh; Bishop Francis Duffy, Ardagh & Clonmacnois, and representatives of CORI, Knights of St Columbanus, St Joseph’s Young Priests’ Society, Grandparents Association, and Legion of Mary.


The highlight of the day was the concelebration of Mass in St Patrick’s College Chapel, during which the music was provided by Peadar O’Riada and the Cul Aodha Choir, from Cork.

Cardinal Levada said that Catholics today need a catechism that will see them from infancy to adulthood and help them “to be able to give a reason for their faith”. He proposed the idea of “a catechumenate”, which he described as a kind of support group, wherein people could challenge each other and grow in their faith.

Archbishop Brown looked back on Ireland’s history to the destruction of monasteries by the Vikings and the Penal times, and told those gathered that “we are now in our own age of challenge for the Catholic Church”.

He warned: “If we don’t have good formation about what we believe as Catholics, then apostasy begins to be realised and people start to leave the Faith.”


Delivering the homily during Mass, Fr Michael Router, who has spent 10 years as director of Adult Faith Formation in the Kilmore diocese, said that he has witnessed people “mature in their faith and become much more joyful, outgoing and confident in the proclamation of that faith”, through courses promoted through the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

Faith sharing

Stressing that the task of passing on the Faith was not just for priests and religious, but for everyone, Fr Router said: “That is why it is all important that more and more adults are given the opportunity of partaking in religious education and finding support in small groups gathered for study, faith sharing and discussion.” Delighted with the success of the day, Mairin Ni Shuilleabhain, Adult Studies co-ordinator, noted that this was the fourth in a series of events held during the Year of Faith regarding the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The others were a YOUCAT conference in Cork, a Mass in Dublin for facilitators and spiritual directors of catechesis groups and a gathering of 3,000 young people at Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo.