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Education sparks adult faith

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St Michael’s Meadowbank parishioners Adam and Suzy Curro and Family Educator Elsa Manu ran an adult formation course in the parish during August, and are already planning the next one. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Suzy Curro was “a normal Christmas and Easter Catholic” until her cousin gave her a flyer for a Theology of the Body course at a Sydney Croatian Catholic parish six years ago.

“That course changed my life. While I always had faith in God I wasn’t going to Mass on Sundays, but now I would go every day if I could,” she says.

“Every practicing and non-practicing Catholic should do it.”

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Fuelled by her new-found love of her Catholic faith, last month the mother of three joined forces with her husband Adam to run a similar course for their parish, St Michael’s Meadowbank, along with the primary school’s family educator Elsa Manu.

They advertised in St Michael’s and by word of mouth with the blessing of Fr James McCarthy, the parish’s administrator.

Participants chat before the start of the session on the Theology of the Body at St Michael’s Meadowbank. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

They thought they would be lucky to get 10 people along to learn about and discuss in small groups St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body by Christopher West, using resources distributed by Parousia Media, and were amazed at the buzz of excitement among the 51 people who rocked up to the first session.

Feedback from participants of varying ages has been “fantastic” and Suzy says her eyes have been opened to “just how many faith-filled people there are in the world wanting to know more about our Catholic faith”.

Participant Andrew Macdonald, 26, said the initiative was a “blessing” as he only arrived in Sydney from his native Sri Lanka in July and had wanted to connect to a local Catholic parish.

“In Sri Lanka there are a lot of activities for young people in the parishes so I thanked God that from the first day I had a warm welcome and could meet other parishioners through this course.”

Elsa says the success has “fired up” the small group of local women including herself and Suzy who are looking for more ways to support adults who, like themselves, want to grow in their faith.

Already on their agenda is an evening with US-based evangelist Fr Larry Richards at St Michael’s on 15 October from 7pm.

Following that a seven-week Bible study course will run at the parish on Monday evenings at 7pm starting 22 October.

Both events are open to anyone who would like to come along, says Elsa.

“We’ve realised there is a great need for people of faith to connect with each other, and we just can’t get enough of these opportunities,” she says.

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