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My CCC Experience

by Edward Sta Maria, Facilitator, Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

I am a cradle Catholic and my family has always been deeply entrenched in the Catholic faith, my ancestry being Portuguese and Filipino. At an early age I went to a Catholic (La Salle brothers) school and I was well-schooled in the Catholic faith. My last catechism lesson, however, was 45 years ago. My faith knowledge had since then remained constant until 2005 when I experienced a sudden transformation (God's hidden hand at work). 

Despite not being fully knowledgeable of my faith, during the earlier part of my life, my Catholic life had remained resolute as I firmly believed in the Catholic Church and its teachings. I may not have fully understood why things were as they were but I knew that whatever the Church preaches was the truth. You could say that it was 'blind faith'.

I found this situation OK as I was an individual practising my faith and despite what others say about other religions and other Christian denominations, I firmly believed that the Catholic Church was the one and only true religion. As I grew older, my eyes were opened and the gift of wisdom was showered upon me. I cannot remain an individual in my beliefs and practising my faith alone. I need to be in a community practising the faith and evangelising to promote the faith. It is no longer sufficient to accept everything blindly. I need to understand my faith and to stand up for it. I need to let others know why my religion is a beautiful religion and to defend my practices. 

Why do we pray to the Virgin Mary? Why do we keep statues? Why do we practise things which are not in the Bible? Why can't we confess direct to God? These were some of the unexplained questions in my mind which previously did not seem to matter. If I want to spread and defend my faith and be proud of it, then these are some of the things which needed to be answered.

I am a very private person. So you may be wondering why I am writing and sharing these experiences of mine with you.

I have been attending Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) classes for the past three years; a year as a participant and a further two years as a facilitator. My faith knowledge has increased tremendously since I made a decision to attend these classes. More important still, my life too has attained more meaning and I feel a sense of solidarity with my fellow Catholics as we share in our faith experiences. I learn a lot from them and they from me. A lot of ambiguity has been erased from my knowledge of my faith. I can identify with the struggles of my fellow Catholics and also together we can learn the Truth and the Truth will show us the way that we should live so that ultimately we can share eternal happiness with God.

This is such an important learning experience and we only have 18 registered participants for the current module (22 lessons). We are equipped to handle 32. Even though we have already completed two lessons (as at 27 September), it is still not too late to join in. Lessons are on Mondays from 8 to 10 pm. We start with an opening prayer, a 10-min 'Praise and worship' session, a 45-min sharing on the previous lesson and conclude with an interesting and enlightening one-hour video presentation by Father John Corapi. Father John is a priest from the US who himself, faced his own trials and tribulations, reaching the heights of richness in becoming a multi millionaire, doing drugs, drinks and women and then sinking to the depths of poverty and reduced to living a life as a drug addicted street person. His videos have been seen by millions around the world.

I know from experience that there are many conflicting priorities in our life but I know that with some re-scheduling of priorities and a bit of sacrifice, one can attend the CCC. If you have already attended, you may want to consider coming for a refresher. I found doing it the second time more enlightening. 

Dear youths, this is also an open invitation to you. Do not wait until you are as old as me to realise how our faith can change and improve our lives. Get your friends to come with you.

God made us to love Him, to know Him, to serve Him and to spend eternal happiness with Him in heaven. It is quite difficult to love God if we do not know Him. So come to know Him. Come and enrol for the CCC.

God bless everyone of you.

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