Living Christian joy daily: everyone’s call

Rev. Martin Coffey, CP, (right) speaks with participants of The Lay Centre's faith formation program.

Rev. Martin Coffey, CP, (right) speaks with participants of The Lay Centre’s faith formation program.

Participants responded with enthusiasm to this past winter’s faith formation program at The Lay Centre.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ call to Christians to live and to share the joy of the Gospel, The Lay Centre organized its six-week faith formation program on the theme, “Joy in the Christian Life.”

“The speakers were excellent,” said Stephanie, a regular participant in The Lay Centre‘s programming. “I enjoyed this series very much.” 

She recalled the pertinence of the theme and Pope Francis’ repeated criticism of “long-faced Christians.”

“Christianity is joy,” she added.

Daniela, another longtime participant, said she appreciated the variety of cultural and spiritual perspectives offered by the various presenters on how to live Christian joy. 

The series began in February with a reflection on the importance of forgiveness for sharing and living the joy of the Gospel. Subsequent sessions looked at Christian joy from the perspective of three of the many great saints of the Church – St. Benedict, St. Augustine and St. Paul of the Cross – and how, within these spiritualities, one can experience and express Christian joy in the instances of everyday life. The last two sessions offered practical ways to live the call to Christian joy.

The winter series also included a three-day Lenten retreat, 13-15 March, on the theme “‘And the greatest of these is love’: Reflections on love in the writings of St Paul.”

The theme for The Lay Centre‘s 2015-2016 formation program — “Mercy Matters” — is also inspired by Pope Francis and his recent proclamation of an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, starting in December. More information on our fall program will be available on our website later this spring.

Below are some photos from the sessions on “Joy in the Christian Life”:

A participant takes notes during a faith formation session.

A participant takes notes during a faith formation session.

Rev. Felix Koerner, SJ, offers a reflection on the theme Forgiveness: a prerequisite for sharing the Gospel of Joy.

Rev. Felix Koerner, SJ, offers a reflection on the theme “Forgiveness: a prerequisite for sharing the Gospel of Joy.”

Time for coffee and sharing during a faith formation session.

Each session includes time for coffee, sharing and making new friends.

Participants at a faith formation session on 19 February.

Participants at a faith formation session on 19 February.

Each session ends with Mass. Here, a participant reads the first reading.

Each session ends with Mass. Here, a participant reads the first reading.

A faith formation participant reads from Scripture.

Sessions include readings and reflections on Scripture.

A participant at a faith formation session speaks with Dr. Donna Orsuto (left), director of The Lay Centre.

A participant at a faith formation session speaks with Dr. Donna Orsuto (left), director of The Lay Centre.

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