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Give us, O Lord, Understanding to know you, Diligence to seek you, Wisdom to find you, and a Faithfulness that may embrace you. 

This prayer of St Thomas Aquinas concluded a very special evening held at the Pastoral Centre earlier this year to celebrate the completion of the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) by members of the diocese.

Bishop Ralph led a specially written liturgy for students old and new, tutors, family and friends.  Speaking about the new growth starting to peek through the February snow, he reminded everyone that our faith was not an abstract knowledge, but growing into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

For the students, this nationally–recognised qualification was the fruit of a two year journey which saw them engage with Old and New Testament scriptures, study topics on Jesus Christ and the Church and explore questions in sacraments, morality, liturgy and Catholic Social Teaching.  In doing so, they shared and developed their own faith, not only through the input from course tutors, but in lively discussions among themselves.

Greg Ryan, CCRS Co-ordinator for the diocese, says that obtaining the certificate is a real achievement.  “It requires sustained commitment, and a willingness to ask questions and learn about your faith in new ways.  The feedback we get from the students is that the course opens a door to the richness of Catholic theology.  Many comment on how it helps their spiritual life as well as being an opportunity for learning.  There are around twenty-five participants on the course at the moment, and hundreds of people in the diocese have taken it over the years.”

Teaching takes place at the Hallam Pastoral Centre, one Saturday morning a month from September to April, and the course normally takes two years to complete, although it can be spread out over 3-5 years.  New starters are welcome to join the course from September 2015 and registration is now open.  All welcome – there are no special entry requirements.  The Hallam News will carry more details over the coming months.

CCRS presentation s

Seen above receiving their certificates from Bishop Ralph are Martin Jones, Tina Jenkinson and Lorraine Healy.

For information and registration, see http://hallamyof.weebly.com or contact the  Adult Education Office, Hallam Pastoral Centre, St Charles Street, Sheffield, S9 3WU,  Tel 0114 2566410, email adulteducation@hallam-diocese.com.