SALT LAKE CITY – In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, most Church activities and events except for liturgical celebrations have been canceled or postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. Diocesan officials are hopeful the coronavirus will be sufficiently curtailed by fall, so that the annual Pastoral Congress, which normally takes place in September, will be able to be held this year. In the meantime, they are encouraging Utah Catholics to avail themselves of several faith formation opportunities made available through the blessing of technology.
Those opportunities include participation in a Jan. 9 Virtual Day of Renewal being sponsored by the Diocese of Reno. Four workshops are being offered for $5 each. All four will be prerecorded, so there is no limit to the number of participants, and sessions can be viewed at the user’s convenience. Access will be provided beginning Jan. 9.
Descriptions of the workshops follow.
“Fear Not Little Flock” will be presented by Father Tom Bonacci, CP, a Passionist from the Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, Calif. and founder and executive director of the Interfaith Peace Project. In this workshop Fr. Bonacci will explore the healings described in Matthew 8: 14-17 as Jesus invites his followers to be renewed in heart in their care for one another.
In “Birthing Hope in the Present Moment,” Sister Kathleen Bryant, RSC, will share ideas on how to have an active hope that can’t be destroyed, and that God is always present and eager to suffuse his children with grace and wellbeing. Sr. Kathleen, who lives in Ireland, serves on the general leadership team for the Religious Sisters of Charity.
Specific steps must be taken when the goal is forgiveness. In “The Art of Forgiveness” Fr. Ray P. Cary, PhD, a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland, will describe those steps toward forgiveness and help to make the idea of forgiveness less daunting.
In “Pastoral Leadership The Christ Way: Nuts, Bolts, And People” Tricia Hoyt, a biblical scholar, and retreat director will share ideas on how pastors, pastoral councils, and lay leaders can create places where faith can thrive, healing can flourish and hope can soar. The session will be centered on principles and soundly practical.
Utah Catholics can also sign up for the Feb. 18-21 Los Angeles Religious Education Conference "Live Mercy – Be Holy” which will include online workshops, liturgies and demonstrations. See box.
"This time of COVID may have disrupted our normal in-person gatherings, but it has also stimulated new technology and development for sharing our beautiful Catholic faith,” said Susan Northway, director of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. “[Usually) each year over 100 men and women travel from Utah to attend the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. In 2021, all liturgies, workshops, keynote addresses and exhibitors will present adult faith formation sessions wholly online. Technology makes real-time question and answer formats possible. Remote attendance costs are much more affordable.
“People are longing for messages of hope and our four recommended religious education publishers are assisting with excellent spiritual presentations anyone with a mobile phone or computer can access in English or Spanish,” she added. “The Office of Faith Formation will be announcing special online offerings for Lent 2021."