By Deacon Eric Gurash
Saturday June 8 saw the Commissioning of the 39th graduating class of the Archdiocese of Regina's Lay Formation program. The class of seven, along with current participants still in their in their first and second years of the program as well as more than 200 program alumni, parish representatives and friends and family members, gathered for Mass at 3pm at Holy Rosary Cathedral.
Graduates included Lorraine Anderson of Christ the King Parish, Alda Bouvier of Resurrection Parish, Debbie Bulych of Holy Trinity Parish, Heather Deis of St. Cecilia Parish, Jessica Hernando of Christ the King Parish, Shelly Kreutzer of Holy Trinity parish, and Bob Whilidal of Holy Child Parish, all from Regina.
In his homily, presider Archbishop Donald Bolen stressed the giftedness of on-going adult faith formation saying "to be formed in the mind and in the heart; to be formed by community; in prayer, and in the spiritual life; to be formed in our understanding of the Scriptures, history, the church...what a gift the Lay Formation Program is and has been!"
The longest running lay formation program of its kind on North America, the Archdiocese of Regina's Lay Formation program is, in part a response to the Second Vatican Council's call for renewed input and activity of the laity in the life of the Church as well as Pope Saint John Paul II's desire to see a "New Evangelization...new in ardor, new in method and new in expression" (Address to Nigerian Bishops, 1983). In addition to core instruction in scripture, sacraments and history, the program's three-year curriculum provides participants with a deepening awareness of God’s personal love and activity in their lives, creates opportunities for encountering Jesus Christ and entering into a transformative relationship with him, helps individuals to integrate that relationship into every aspect of our lives, and empowers participants to follow Christ's commission to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19).
"People today are searching," Bolen stated prior to commissioning this year's graduates, "your understanding will help people to search in a good and meaningful way."
In his address to those gathered, new graduate Bob Whilidal noted that as a diocese, "we have in the Lay Formation program a true and rich treasure," stating "the image of the mustard seed is very fitting for the abundance (of) service that has (been) generated from this formation program over 39 years." Whilidal went on to acknowledge the contributions program Director, Deacon Eric Gurash and his formation team have made to this abundance of service as well as program presenters like Archdiocesan Theologian Dr. Brett Salkeld, Matt Nelson, Assistant Director of Bishop Robert Barron's Word on Fire Institute, and Pierre O'Reilly, newly appointed Executive Director of NET Ministries Canada.
"We thank you all for sharing your time and your knowledge. We thank you for teaching us about the deep and rich history; the faith and reason; and the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith," said Whilidal.
For Whilidal and his fellow graduates, Saturday's Commissioning was "not to the end of a path, but...a new beginning in our journey of faith and service."
The Archdiocese of Regina's Lay Formation Program is a three-year program that operates one weekend/month from October to June inclusive. They are currently accepting applications for their Fall intake. For more information or to register, please contact our Program Coordinator, Deacon Eric Gurash at 306.352.1651 ext 211 or email him at egurasharchregina [dot] sk [dot] ca.egurasharchregina [dot] sk [dot] ca ()
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/news/2019/06/13/lay-formation-commissioning-%E2%80%9C-new-beginning-our-journey-faith-and-service