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Didasko program gives lay Catholics first-rate faith formation

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Sophia Brewty at prayer. Photo: Supplied

As a busy mum, juggling 4 kids and a busy school holiday schedule, the last thing Sophia Brewty thought she’d have time for was a Theology course with the prestigious University of Notre Dame.

But the Sydney mother is finally fulfilling that dream, “I’ve always had a desire to learn more about my faith,” she says.

And thanks to the Parish Renewal Team of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation (SCE), Sophia is fulfilling that academic desire over 3 evenings, all from the comfort of her home and all for the cost of a family Pizza.

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“I feel very blessed and privileged to have access to this”, says Sophia.

The SCE, in partnership with The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA), is inviting parishioners, like Sophia, and all parishes around Australia to attend their Didaskō Adult Faith Education short courses.

Didaskō, from the Greek word: ‘to teach’ is a series of short online courses delivered via Zoom, commencing this month with a course on Philosophy followed by a Scripture course in November.

“Philosophy and Theology open up a world of wonder, enabling believers to go deeper into their faith” says Professor Renée Köhler-Ryan, National Head of the School of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

“The School of Philosophy and Theology at UNDA is delighted to have this opportunity to give Catholics in Sydney a glimpse of the joy that we find every day in teaching our courses. Above all, these disciplines form us into Christians inspired to bring the Gospel into our daily lives”.

While individuals like Sophia can sign up for each course for just $35, the SCE is offering parishes that organise an in-person gathering access to the 3-evening course for just $100, per course.

For Fr Pawel, parish priest at St Kevin’s in Eastwood, it was an offer too good to refuse.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive spiritual and intellectual nourishment on a level they would, otherwise, not have access to. These are high-profile minds coming from Notre Dame!”

After a year as the parish priest at St Kevin’s, Fr Pawel saw his ‘vibrant’ parish craving more faith formation and saw this as the perfect entry point for them.

“Not everyone can afford or commit to enrol into university courses. This is the short version, and at that cost, everyone can access it,” he says.

His long-term hope is that courses like these will further inspire parishioners to take on greater leadership roles within the community.

“I want to increase and promote lay leadership in the parish and for parishioners to adopt their roles and responsibilities as laity in a more serious way. It’s a great opportunity for the parish to come together to grow as a faith community.”

For Sophia, it’s the realisation of a dream she never thought possible.

“It’s a ripple effect and it starts here – for my husband and kids. Inside and out, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she says.

Registrations are open for courses that will take place in March, April and May 2024. For more information about each course and to register click here.

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