Office of Evangelisation & Catechesis
Welcome to the Office of Evangelisation & Catechesis, an agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart which seeks to promote evangelisation and renewal in accordance with Christ’s mandate to proclaim the gospel to all nations, and to baptise and teach new disciples.
What we do
The Office seeks to form ‘missionary disciples’ who are equipped to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to the world: in their families, parishes, schools, work places and in the marketplace. The Office supports and hosts works that enable people to encounter Jesus Christ and deepen their personal relationship with him in the sacraments, Scriptures, prayer, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic ecclesial community.
How do we do this
The Office achieves this by facilitating and providing resources for outreach events, conferences, parish missions, and by training in evangelisation and catechesis. The Office supports parishes in the formation of catechists for the sacramental preparation of children, and for the preparation of adults who seek to enter the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
The Office also offers adult faith formation courses in Scripture, catechesis, and theology through the Verbum Domini Biblical and Catechetical Institute. The Institute is an educational institute established in 2015 by the Archdiocese of Hobart for the formation of ‘missionary disciples’ to contribute to the life of the Church within society. Under the patronage of St. Ambrose of Milan, the Institute offers Scripture and catechetical courses to enable the Catholic faithful to become more biblically literate and transformed in the renewal of their minds and hearts.
What are you seeking?
Do you ever ask yourself…
- Why am I here?
- What is the meaning of my life?
- How can I be a better person?
- What can I do about the loneliness I feel?
- Is there a God and what does he want of me?
We Welcome You
People arrive at the Catholic faith from many different paths. Life events, family and friends, joys and sorrows can all draw a person to respond to God in faith. Each year adults of all ages, from different walks of life, decide to make their journey through life with the Catholic Church.
We welcome people to walk with us while still feeling undecided. It’s important to know that there is no obligation and no pressure for a person to become Catholic.
What Are You Seeking?
Most of us want certainty in our lives, and we desire our lives to have some kind of meaning and purpose. We want to be happy, and we seek happiness in different things: a compatible spouse, friendships, wealth, influence, physical fitness, or simply pleasure.
For whatever reason, many of us pursue these things but are unable to attain them. Perhaps life’s difficulties get in the way. Perhaps we don’t catch the breaks that other people have. Perhaps our commitments prevent us from achieving our goals. Or perhaps we are wounded by other people and are unable to rise above our injuries.
Even when we attain the things we seek, we often find that our thirst for happiness continues because, great though these things are, they don’t fully satisfy the human longing for happiness. Sometimes life throws us a “curve-ball”–something we did not expect–and we lose some of the goods we worked so hard to attain. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, physical or mental illness, or the disloyalty of a dear friend–these can challenge the very core of our being and cause us to question, “What is life all about?” We desire love to be permanent and loyalty to be true.
This is where God comes in. Only union with God can satisfy our longing for truth, certainty, meaning, and ultimately love. It is a union offered to us through the Person of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Robert Barron, The Key to Joy
Bishop Robert Baron, Religion and Happiness
Who is Jesus?
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who became human about 2000 years ago and lived in ancient Palestine. Jesus was born to a Jewish mother named Mary, and foster-father named Joseph, lived among the Jewish people, taught them about God, established a body of believers called the Church, and was put to death by crucifixion. Jesus conquered death by rising from the tomb in his own real body, appeared to many hundreds of people, and ascended into heaven. Christians call Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour, and they believe he is active in their lives today, and desires a relationship with each of us.
Mosaic of Christus Pantocrator (c. 1130)
Fr. Robert Barron, “Who is Jesus?”
Bishop Robert Barron, “Priest, Prophet and King”
Who is God?
God is One in Three Persons
The fact that God is a Holy Trinity of Persons is a mystery that we cannot know by reason alone, and was unknown to Israel before the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
One of the distinctive marks of Christianity, which sets it apart from other religions, is the belief that God has entered into human history to reveal himself to us, to form a relationship with us, and to call us to share in his own divine Trinitarian life—the life of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
How Do We Know God?
We know God from the things he has created. First, we look at the things in the world and discover that they are moved, caused, have goodness, beauty, and order, etc., and from this we can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe. Second, the human person has an openness to truth and beauty, a sense of moral goodness, as well as freedom and an inner “voice” of conscience. In these the human person discerns signs of his or her soul that are “seeds of eternity” which have their origin in God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 31-35).
We can also know God from the Church’s proclamation of the special revelation that God has given of himself throughout human history. This revelation is found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The climax of this revelation comes in Jesus Christ: “through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth.” This special revelation tells us that “God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, n. 4).
Rublev’s icon of the Trinity
Bob Rice (Redeemedonline), “The Trinity Explained in Under 3 Minutes”
Bishop Robert Barron, “The Mystery of God”
Jesus Christ is the Gospel, the good news of salvation. The word Gospel comes from the Greek, euangelion, which was translated into Anglo-Saxon English, god-spell, meaning “good news” or “glad tidings.” From euangelion we get the word Evangelist, which is the title given to the writers of the four Gospels in the Christian Scriptures. These Gospel books proclaim the Good News of salvation that Jesus Christ brought about through his life, preaching, works, and particularly in his death and Resurrection. It is in and through Jesus Christ that we are saved from sin, death, and other evils, and offered eternal life, the truth about God and ourselves, and the gifts necessary to live a good life in friendship with God and our neighbour.
The act of faith is our response to the proclamation of the Gospel and the offer of salvation. Through faith we say ‘yes’ to God’s revelation of himself to us and we begin our journey towards him. This initial faith, which itself is a work of the Holy Spirit, leads us to Baptism, which is the gateway to life in the Spirit. “Through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213). This is truly good news!
Fr Dave Pivonka, “The Empty Tomb Changes Everything”
(Redeemed Online) “What is the Gospel”
Catholic Community – What is the Church?
The Church is the ‘People of God’ who gather together to celebrate the liturgy in worship of the Lord. The Second Vatican Council declares that the Church is the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, which grows visibly through the power of God in the world (Lumen gentium, 3).
Scripture refers to the Church as ‘the body of Christ’ (cf. Jn 15:4-5; Col 1:18) because, through faith and baptism, Christian believers are united to Christ in a spiritual manner and play different roles in the Church in a manner which is akin to the way various organs of the body play different roles for the good of the whole body.
Scripture also refers to the Church as ‘the bride of Christ’ because Christ is the divine Bridegroom who has come to wed to himself the ‘new Israel’ (cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4; 5:25-27; Rom 9-11). The Old Testament refers to Israel as God’s bride. In the New Testament, Christ who is God made flesh, spiritually weds himself to his newly formed people, his bride, the Church.
Jesus Christ instituted the Church as the place where God’s reign is made present on earth. Christ endowed the Church with a hierarchical structure, with Peter and his successors as the visible head (Matt 16:18-19). The Apostles and their successors were given authority to make Christian disciples through preaching of the Gospel, administering baptism, and teaching all that Christ had revealed to them.
The Church includes clergy and non-ordained members. The vast majority of member are laity—men and women who live out their Christian faith through prayer, sacramental action, and good works. Other members are religious men and women who have made a special consecration of themselves to the service of Christ.
All members of the Church are called to seek the perfection of holiness as expressed in their own state in life (cf. Matt 5:48). Christ has bestowed on the Church the means to attain holiness: his redeeming grace in the sacraments, prayer, and good works, teaching, and Scripture. Most especially, Christ bestowed upon the Church the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the Giver of every gift. Christians are encouraged to imitate Christ’s own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the model of Christian discipleship. The Church will attain its full perfection only in the glory of heaven when all things will be restored in Christ (Lumen gentium, 48)
The liturgy is the public worship of God by Christ’s faithful people in the universal Church. The liturgy includes the seven sacraments, daily liturgy of the hours, the liturgical year with its seasons and feasts, and sacramental like holy water and blessed religious objects.
Through the liturgy, the source and summit of the Christian life (Sacrosanctum concilium, 10), we are brought into God’s family through Baptism and are nourished with Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist.
It is fundamentally important for us to realise that liturgical action is no mere empty ritual, but the making present of, and participation in, the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ.
To be a member of the Church is to be ‘Eucharistic’ because it is through the Eucharist that the Church is built up and nourished. The whole activity of the Church is ordered towards the Eucharist which is the source and summit of the Christian life. This is why Catholics are obligated to participate in Sunday Mass (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2176-81, 2197).
Reception of the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of Reconciliation, provides Catholics with the grace to keep the moral law and to strive to live virtuously.
Fr Dave Pivonka, “Why Go to Church?”
Christopher Stefanick, “What do you get out of Mass?”
Love your neighbour – Principles of moral life
Through our baptism, we Christians have been elevated to share in God’s own life, thus making us God’s children. This bestows incredible dignity upon us. We are now no longer mere slaves; rather, we are sons and daughters of God, our heavenly King.
As Christians, God invites us to share in the fullness of his life in heaven, which is the one thing that will make us entirely happy. Perfect happiness is the perfect possession of the perfect good which fulfils every desire and excludes every evil. The perfect Good is God himself.
The pursuit of happiness should determine the way we live our moral lives, for in order to attain heaven we must live according to Christian virtue and seek to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy (Lev 17:2; Matt 5:48). But heaven or salvation is never attained alone. We reach it in communion with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
The whole of the moral law is summarised in Christ’s words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).
Indeed, after enumerating the prohibitions against adultery, murder, theft, and coveting, St Paul echoes Christ, saying that these are summed up in the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself, for “love is the fulfilment of the law” (Rom 13:10).
Fr Spitzer, on whether you have to “Like or Love Your Neighbor?”
Fr Mike Schmitz, “Learning how to love from the bible”
Fr Mike Schmitz, Is it OK to hate someone?
Faith in action – Catholic Social Principles
The Catholic Church has a rich tradition of social teaching. If our faith is not translated into works, then our faith is dead (James 2:17). Our good works are a manifestation of Christ living within us. Our good works proceed from our prayer. Our love of God is to be lived out in deed and in truth (1 Jn 3:18).
Catholic social teaching provides the guidelines for Christian faith in action. Founded on Christ’s teaching discovered in Scripture and lived by Christians throughout the ages, the common themes of Catholic social teaching are outlined below.
1. The Dignity of the Human Person is central to the Church’s Social Teaching and the root of all the other principles. The dignity of the human person is rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God, and is fulfilled in his or her vocation to share in God’s own happiness. This dignity is also manifest by the fact that the human person is redeemed by the most precious blood of Christ, and is called to be a child of God and a living temple of the Holy Spirit. If God values us this much, then we too should love and respect one another in a similar way.
2. The Common Good is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily” (Gaudium et Spes 26 § 1; cf. 74 § 1). Because the human person is social by nature, the material and spiritual goods of each person are necessarily related to the common good. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (nn. 1906 – 1909) explains that the common good consists in:
- Respect for the person as such, including respect for the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person (e.g. rights to life and religious freedom);
- The social well-being and development of the group itself. This means that the legitimate civil authority must ensure that what is needed for a truly human life is accessible to all people: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, etc.
- And requires peace, i.e. the stability and security of a just social order. It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies.
The common good is not what the majority desires. For example, centuries ago the majority in western society wanted slavery, but this was never part of the common good. The common good includes not only the material goods, but also the moral and spiritual aspects of human development.
The sum total of social conditions that promote human development include the laws of society, conditions of the family, cultural forms (e.g. music, art, and literature), and philosophical and scientific knowledge, etc.
The common good is not the greater good for the greatest number of people because this would exclude some groups or people, particularly the poor. All groups and peoples must be able to work for and participate in the common good.
3. The Universal Destination of Goods is based upon the fact that God created the world and entrusted it to the common stewardship of humankind to take care of, to master by labour, and to enjoy its fruits (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2402): “The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race.”
People require property in order to secure their basic needs, their security of life, and to avoid poverty and violence. Upholding the universal destination of goods as a principle of life should lead peoples to foster a mutual solidarity and authentic human progress.
Although the right to private property is natural, it does not negate the more fundamental principle of the universal destination of goods. We are not to hoard our possessions and build our wealth to the neglect of the poorer members of society. The Catechism explains: “The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise” (n. 2403).
- The Right to Private Property: the private ownership of material property is necessary for a stable social order. But the legitimate ownership of material goods is not for one’s own exclusive use. The owner should consider him or herself as the steward of the goods which God has providentially bestowed. The owner should look to using these goods for his or her own family, then for the good of others. In this way the person contributes to the building of the common good and solidarity.
- Preferential Option for the Poor: Christian charity demands that the poor, the vulnerable and marginalised are of particular concern in any society. In imitation of Christ who humbled himself, became poor and dwelt among us, we are to assume social responsibility for the poor (Phil 2:7-8; 2 Cor 8:9). Christ identifies himself with the poor and commands we care for the poor as a prerequisite of our own salvation (Matt 25:31-46). Christians prioritise the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised in their corporal and spiritual works of mercy (Catechism of the Catholic Chuch, n.2447). Almsgiving to the poor has always been a central tenet of the Christian life.
4. Subsidiarity requires that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus 48 § 4).
God is all powerful, but he entrusts creatures with power befitting their capacities. This form of governance is also found the created world, and is to be followed in human social life. Each level of society has its own area of influence and governance.
An example of how subsidiarity functions is in education. Parents are the first educators of their children. This parental right must not be taken away by the state. Another example is that homelessness should be dealt with by the people of the local community rather than by the state (federal government).
‘Big businesses’ can also act contrary to subsidiarity because they make blanket decisions for the whole company, with the goal of efficiency and profitability, without due consideration for the needs of the communities they serve. ‘Small businesses’ can do a much better job at serving their customers.
People have the right to participate in the decisions that determine their own lives. When government seeks to build new roadways for example, the local community should be consulted.
Based on the principle of subsidiarity, every form of ‘collectivism’ is rejected. For instance, the federal or state government must not substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies. Socialism and communism are socio-political ideologies contrary to the gospel because, among other things, they are contrary to the principle of subsidiarity insofar as the state assumes to itself the rights and responsibilities belonging to smaller associations and families.
5. Participation is an implication of the dignity of the human person and the principle of subsidiarity. The Catechism explains: “Participation refers to the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good” (n. 1913).
First, we must assume personal responsibility for areas within our charge (e.g. the education of our children). Then, as far as we are able, we should actively engage in public life (e.g. voting in elections, promoting a just economic system, etc.).
The Church teaches that we must participate, as an individual or in association with others, directly or through representation, in the cultural, economic, political and social life of the civil community (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 189). It is for the reason that the Catechism explains: “Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged” (n. 1893). Participation is the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life.
6. Solidarity is based on the intrinsic social nature of the human person. As human beings we are interdependent upon one another, not only for our basic needs, but also to achieve great works in the areas of politics, economics, the arts and sciences. We must work to overcome the stark inequalities between peoples and nations caused through various forms of exploitation, oppression, and corruption.
Solidarity requires us to lay down our lives for our neighbour through a self-sacrificial love. We are all interconnected and can achieve very little, if anything, on our own. Solidarity is not a vague feeling of being connected with others. It is not fulfilled by sending money to overseas charities. It requires a real, personal connection with others, especially the poor, and the building of relationships to affect everyone’s lives for the better.
These themes are articulated in various ways under the titles of different principles. They always include the rights and responsibilities of the human person, the dignity of human work, and human solidarity.
The Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
Omar Gutierrez, The Common Good (Regnum Novum)
Omar Gutierrez, Universal Destination of Goods (Regnum Novum)
Omar Gutierrez, Subsidiarity (Regnum Novum)
Omar Gutierrez, Participation (Regnum Novum)
Omar Gutierrez, Solidarity (Regnum Novum)
Prayer and spiritual journey
Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, or the petition of good things from God in accord with his will. The bible exhorts us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) since prayer is one of the fundamental elements of the spiritual life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2560) teaches, “Whether we realise it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” It goes on to say, “In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit” (n. 2565).
St Paul tells us, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom 8:26). We should ask the Holy Spirit to work in and through us as we pray so that our prayers will be pleasing to God and beneficial to us.
Matt Fradd, “Why I Pray the Rosary”
Fr Mike Schmitz, “Time to Pray”
Resources for Personal Faith Development
Click here for other recommended resources to develop in one’s own Catholic faith.