2014 Theme

Theme:           How will Faith be formed in the future?

Since the last Pobal De Conference the Year of Faith 2013 has taken place where a drive to evangelise on the part of the Church was sought.   However, against a background of many advances in the world order it is difficult to measure what if anything has been achieved by this endeavour?   With the huge rise in communications technology and social media consciousness, the rise of Islam and Evangelical churches, social calamities and economic disorder, the threats to family life and its survival, should we question where Faith and belief in the Risen Christ is to be found and nurtured?

The Minister for Education seeks to replace faith-formative methods of religious instruction in Catholic primary schools in areas where parents don’t have the option to send children to a non-denominational school, leaving the fostering of religious belief and values in the home and in the parish.   In areas with multiple schools, he hopes one school could “divest” to become an Educate Together or other non-denominational school.

Pope Francis has been listened to with his grounded plea for the disadvantaged and marginalised in society. He has advocated the decentralisation of responsibilities to local hierarchies. He plans changes and reforms in the Church which at this stage are widely welcomed.

The response of the Irish Bishops is sought with support systems needed to be put in place for the survival of the Catholic Faith in Ireland.   What are their plans to provide personnel and resources so that the homes and parishes can provide faith formation where schools have to “divest” themselves of faith-formative teaching of religion, including liturgy and preparation for the sacraments?

Against this background, how will children come to know and engage with the person of Christ?

What is the future for Faith formation?

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