What is Formation?

The Church invites believers of all ages to grow in human and Christian maturity by allowing the Gospel of Christ to illumine their lives.

This is our Baptismal mission (Matthew 28:19): to bring Christ to others; to invite them to become disciples of Jesus. St Peter reminds us: “but in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Ptr 3:15). For this reason, we need to ‘put on the mind of Christ’, to be ‘conformed’ to His teaching (1 Cor 2:16).

Why do we need to be formed?

All the Church’s catechetical or teaching apostolate, is therefore directed at helping believers to be formed in Christ and to help them deepen their relationship with Him.

Seeing that we “have put off the old nature with its practices… [we] have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9 – 10). It is in terms of this renewal, of our lives, our conscience, that we can understand Catholic formation. Ultimately, it is a call to holiness: intimate union with God through Christ Jesus, who alone is the Truth, the Way and the Life (John 14:6).

Areas of Formation

 Conscience: morality

The role of conscience is to decide subjectively on the ethical propriety of a specific action, here and now, for this person, in these circumstances. But always, too, the decision is a mental conclusion derived from objective norms that conscience does not determine on its own, receiving it as given by the Author of nature and divine grace.

  The Sacred Scriptures:

The Bible: Old Testament and the New Testament

Church History

To be a Catholic, is to belong to a worldwide family of believers of nearly 1.3 billion persons. As with every family, we have a history. Our history goes back 2,000 years in an unbroken chain, right to the time when Jesus Christ established His Church

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The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God has been entrusted by Christ to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation or Magisterium has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Pope.

This teaching office is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it, always assisted by the Holy Spirit. What the Church proposes for belief, as being divinely revealed, is drawn from this single Deposit of Faith (that is, all that Christ has taught and the Church has faithfully transmitted down the ages). As Christ said to His apostles: “He who hears you, hears me” (Luke 10:16).

 The Family: domestic church

The term “Domestic Church” refers to the family, the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ. Though recovered only recently, the term dates all the way back to the first century AD. The Greek word ecclesiola referred to “little church.” Our Early Church Fathers understood that the home was fertile ground for discipleship, sanctification, and holiness.

Second Vatican Ecumenical (= ‘universal’) Council: DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH

LUMEN GENTIUM, NOVEMBER 21, 1964, n. 11: “From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit received in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God through the centuries. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state”.


Obviously, when it comes to matters of belief in one God, our personal opinions or impressions of the idea of ‘god’ we might have, would have to remain just that: mere opinions and no more based on ourselves, we could have no guarantee of certainty. Yet for us, as believers in Jesus Christ, this thankfully is not the case.

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 The Sacred Liturgy

A well-known word that is close in meaning to ‘liturgy’ is the word ‘worship’. But while worship can be done privately, ‘liturgy’ is always a public, group activity.

Like many other ‘churchy’ words, ‘liturgy’ comes from the language used by the early church in its worship and writings – Greek. The word liturgy is derived from leitourgia which was used to refer to any public work or function exercised by the people as a whole. The people who do the work of liturgy are the people of God, all baptised.

A well-known word that is close in meaning to ‘liturgy’ is the word ‘worship’. But while worship can be done privately, ‘liturgy’ is always a public, group activity.

A working definition of ‘liturgy’ that is helpful is ‘The official, public worship of the Church’.

Some of the best-known forms of liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church are:

In the Catholic Church, we worship using forms and patterns of worship that have developed during the Church’s 2000-year history. Every day of the year falls into a particular place into the church’s liturgical calendar, and certain scripture readings and prayers are assigned for use at Mass each day. The celebration of the rites of Baptism, Marriage, Funerals and so on are set out in the Church’s ritual of books.

Liturgy is always an action, something we do. It is a public action, a ritual action, and a symbolic action. It is the proclamation of the word that God speaks to us; it is in the breaking of the bread that we recognise Christ. We participate in the action of the liturgy by responding, singing, listening and joining the gestures.

Liturgical Seasons

The worship of the Catholic Church follows a calendar that is based on a cycle of liturgical seasons plus saints’ days celebrated throughout the year.

Just as we mark our lives by anniversaries, the Church celebrates the mysteries of Christ’s life in a recurrent pattern. Within the cycle of a year the Church remembers and celebrates Christ’s conception, birth, death, resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

During the course of the year we bring to mind past events and people to keep the mystery of faith alive today and we look forward to Christ’s return in glory at the end of time. As pilgrim people, we are constantly nourished by the story of Jesus and guided by the saints, our ancestors in the faith, living witness of God’s unchanging love.

In some respects the church’s way of keeping time conflicts with the secular calendar. The new liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent at the end of November, just as many other things like the academic year are coming to an end.

Where can we get formation ?

Sunday Homily

The importance of our Sunday Observance: a commandment of God; not an option, as we feel up to it.

Prayer groups

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Retreats are hosted by different prayer groups within the diocese.


There are many books that can help formation, these can be purchased online or through our bookshop in main street.