RIVERTON — Last week parishioners at St. Andrew Catholic Church spent four evenings learning about Church teachings at the parish’s first ever Theology Study Week.
Father Marco Lopez, pastor, came up with Theology Week as a response to the diocese’s Pastoral Plan, which has formation as one of its first priorities.
Faith formation is “increasingly urgent due to the evolution of the society in which we live today,” Fr. Lopez said. “Christian formation is also one of the priorities in Saint Andrew’s Parish.”
“We have a treasure in the Catholic Church, and the Theological Week formation is an opportunity to dust off and show that treasure to the people who have attended the four conferences we have held,” Fr. Lopez said. “I love to meet the community to worship, but prayer it is not enough; formation is very important also. Ignorance of our Christian faith is one of the biggest concerns everywhere in our Catholic Church.”
Fr. Lopez, Deacon Mike Bulson and Deacon Duane Padilla decided together on the subjects to be addressed. Theology Week “aids in the faith formation of our parish,” Deacon Bulson said, pointing out that the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, which deals with the formation of laity, “specifically says to add members of the apostolate.”
In his introduction the first evening, Fr. Lopez said, “We have decided to have these formation days to get more knowledge about some issues that are related with our Christian life. We as human beings are members of a family, society, a church. The first Christians were defined as the souls of the world. … This formation week has the purpose to help us be better souls, life and souls, in our family, society, church, specifically in our parish.”
Deacon Bulson gave the Oct. 21 presentation, titled “The Message and Meaning of Vatican II.”
“Pope John said he wanted to open the windows and let a little fresh air blow in,” he said. “Some say the wind came in very strong and kind of stirred things up, which might be symbolic of the Holy Spirit – what it was doing at the time.”
Deacon Bulson focused most of his remarks on the documents of Vatican II and in particular on Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations): The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, which has been referred to as “the masterpiece of Vatican II, the Magna Carta for Catholics,” he said. “It is the first fully developed statement of the doctrine of the Church in Christian history.”
Like the diocese’s Pastoral Plan, it contains a universal call to holiness, he added.
For the presentations on the following three nights, various experts spoke on different topics. Commissioned lay ecclesial minister Julie Boerio-Goates addressed “Finding Truth in Science and Catholic Teaching;” Dr. Maureen Condic, a University of Utah associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy, spoke on “Catholic Teaching on Life Issues;” and the final presentation, “Catholic Social Teaching Through the Words of Pope Francis,” was given by Jean Hill, director of the diocesan Office of Life, Justice and Peace.
Each night, 30 to 50 parishioners attended; an interpreter translated the presenter’s remarks for Spanish-speaking parishioners.
Herriman High School senior Autumn Anderson, who attended the first session, heard about Theology Week at Mass and thought it sounded interesting.
“When you start at a young age, the more you know, the more you grow,” she said.
Alejandro Maya attended all four sessions. “All of the information we received helps to remind us of what we already know and makes clear to us at this time how to renew our faith as Catholics and why we are on this earth and why we are children of God,” he said.
Kenneth and Rita Thompson were also there each night. “It was very enriching and enlightening,” Rita Thompson said after the last session. “It was good to be reminded of what we already know and to learn different things.”
Jorge Morales made it to two sessions. “I’m very grateful to Fr. Marco for putting this week together,” he said. “It brings a greater depth to our Catholic faith and helps us live it more fully.”
Fr. Lopez said the parish would like to offer three separate weeks of faith formation next year.
“I want St. Andrew parishioners to keep in permanent Christian formation in order that they can have the necessary tools and be stronger in their faith to be ready to perform their Christian duties in each aspect of their life, not just in the parish,” he said.