Pathways: Exploring Faith And Ministry

Pathways is a programme in Faith and Ministry made available in Cork for those who are involved in ministry in some way or for those who just wish to deepen their fiath and knowledge.

Pathways: Exploring Faith and Ministry.

A two-year certificate course, for those interested in a deeper journey into faith and ministry. Offered by the Diocese of Cork & Ross with All Hallows College, Dublin. Pathways has been held twice in Farranferris College and begins again in September 2012 at a venue in the west of the diocese to be confirmed. The Pathways course meets weekly on a Wednesday, 7.30-10.00pm with a cuppa in the middle, for about 28 sessions each year. The sessions are varied and lively and encourage questions and participation. No previous experience is required.

Who is the Course for?
This is a course suitable for men and women of all ages and from all walks of life who are looking for an opportunity to consider questions about belief and Church today.

Course Aims
The course values the life experience which the participants bring and group sharing is an important part of the course experience. Pathways offers a spiritual and theological foundation which will enable people to explore their faith with greater confidence. It also helps to help participants to prepare themselves to respond to the needs of their Church and community and to work in partnerships and parish teams.

Participants have an opportunity to take part in various liturgies and retreats during the year.

Course Entry Requirements

      • Willingness to listen
      • Openness to participation
      • A desire to explore Faith
        • An interest in new ideas and approaches to ministry

It is important to note that:

* No academic qualifications are necessary
* There is no required written work during the course

Course Content

First Year:
The focus of the first year is introduction to the Christian faith.
Subjects include:

      • Images of God
      • Introduction to Scripture
      • Celebrating the Church’s year
      • The Person of Christ
      • Sacraments
      • The Moral Life
         • Spirituality & Prayer

Second Year:
The core of second year is ministry. Its focus is on Christian living, the Gospel call and how we respond to it.
Subjects include:

      • Approaches to Ministry
      • Visions & Models of Church
      • Bereavement & Loss
         • Family

There is also an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their own ministry through pastoral reflection.

Course Cost: €320 per year. This is payable in installments. We ask that if this amount poses a difficulty that people talk it over with us. If people can easily pay more, this will help us support those who need to pay less.

Pathways from the participant’s point of view
Paddy Gorman is a current Pathways participant. He wrote this reflection for the Altum newsletter and shares what Pathways means to him…

Pathways is a two year programme, meeting one evening a week, where we the participants are presented with the opportunity to discuss and reflect on Faith, Ministry and Life. I was firstly aware of the Pathways Programme through the Sunday Mass leaflet in my local parish. I have to admit that it was of interest to me, but I didn’t take things any further until I received an application form in the post. (Thank God for Friends). For me, someone who was born into and brought up in the Catholic Faith, later I went through what I call my desert time, when I didn’t practise my faith, and then came a time of searching and a realisation that what I was looking for was already a part of me. Exploring Faith, this was something I wanted to do, and with hindsight needed to do. Aptly named Pathways is just what it says. It is no Motorway, or Main Street, full of floodlighting and signposts. It is a path, or maybe it is more of a walkway that some people have walked together, some have walked at different times, others have walked a parallel route, and some may have yet to visit that part of the journey. Pathways do not have flood lighting or directional signposts, so it was interesting for me to find that on this Pathways Programme the lighting and signposts came from within the group. Weekly topics were introduced and presented in an easily understood and explained way, and may I say the presenters and presentations took account that the group of people there came from many varied backgrounds. A time was given for small group discussion or work in relation to the topic: and after a cuppa, which was very important in bonding the group; a sharing from each small group brought about a unity on the topic. While we didn’t walk away as robots, the unity was based more on an understanding of the perspectives of others, should they be similar or different to our own. I have found the first year of Pathways to be a wonderful, full of life, experience. I have met wonderful people with whom I can share, learn from, listen to and discuss with.. Much thanks goes to the organisers, and to the facilitators from the previous Pathways Programme who journey with us. We concluded our first year with a Celebration of Mass, organised by the group and it was a wonderful conclusion to our first year. I look forward to the continued journey that Pathways offers.

Paddy Gorman (Blackrock Rd Parish)