Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A New Beginning

Welcome to our new website--dedicated to Catholic Inquiry for the Hillsdale College community of students, staff, and faculty.

After all of the excellent work John Freeh and Helen Lasseter Freeh have done with Catholic Inquiry over the last several years, I'm honored to be asked by our parish priest, Father Jeff Njus, to direct this year's inquiry class. As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm both humbled and exhilarated by the possibilities--and more than a little intimidated. John and Helen were (and, of course, remain) each a force of nature, and they each gave an incredible amount of their intellects and their souls to teaching the Catholic faith.

With Grace, all things are possible.

If you're at all interested in Catholic theology and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, please join us.

We'll be meeting every Sunday afternoon, 1-2:30, at St. Anthony's Roman Catholic parish. For those of you attending the 11:30 mass, this might make your lunch/brunch time a bit short. We've not made any decisions about that, but my wife and I promise you won't go hungry. We'll figure something out.

Deacon Don Michael will be leading the RCIA program as a whole, and we will be a subset of it. Though Deacon Don will be serving our country through his service in the Army the first several weeks of September, we hope he will join us as soon as possible.

Father Jeff will be joining us as much as he can as well. I've had the chance to meet Father Jeff twice now, and I have been--unquestionably--deeply impressed by him as a person and a priest. He knows who he is, he knows who He serves, and he knows where he wants the parish to go. We are blessed to have him as our college Roman Catholic chaplain.

During our course this fall and next spring, we will be exploring a number of themes central to the Roman Catholic faith:

1. Introduction: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

2. Introduction, Part II: What is distinctive about Catholicism

3-10. The seven sacraments (one a week, except for the Eucharist—two)

11. Saints

12. Hell, Heaven, Purgatory: Time and Eternity

13. Scripture (history and canon)

14. The dignity of the human person

---Christmas Break

15. Our Protestant Brethren (I might invite Pastor James (a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor and a wonderfully profound man) to address the class)

16. Our Orthodox Brethren

17. The Mystery of Lent and Easter

18. Prayer and Faith

I hope to follow these topics in roughly this order. We'll be using the Roman Catholic catechism as our main text. 

If you're interested in joining this class, please let me know at my gmail account: bradbirzer.  I very much look forward to meeting you.

Our first meeting will be the first Sunday of the school year.  Please bookmark this page as I'll update it as frequently as necessary.

God bless,
Brad Birzer 

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