New committees focus in lay formation, religious ed.

BRIGHTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley formed two new committees to provide recommendations in the areas of lay faith formation and religious education.

“We are entrusted to passing on the faith to future generations of Catholics, our work in lay faith formation and in religious education are important elements in building up our Church,” he said in a statement to The Pilot.

He added, “The committees on lay faith formation and religious education will provide recommendations and consultation to archdiocesan departments and programs as we proceed with the work of mission and evangelization.”

Cardinal O’Malley also said the Archdiocese of Boston is, “blessed by the extraordinary commitments” of all who serve the local Church.

In January 2006, the cardinal appointed three pastoral committees on young adult faith formation, marriage, and pastoral planning. At the time, he said those three areas of pastoral life were “particularly challenging” in the archdiocese.

The committees were charged with addressing the challenges of properly forming young Catholics in the faith, promoting marriage at a time when fewer people are seeking marriage in the Church and ensuring that every parish is equipped to welcome all.

The two new committees, which will continue the work of addressing challenges in the archdiocese, have each met several times and are in the process of fleshing out their roles.

Msgr. William Fay, who was appointed head of the Lay Faith Formation Committee, told The Pilot that the committee still needs to “round out” its goals over the coming weeks.

Msgr. Fay, pastor at St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, added that the work of lay faith formation is “critical” and “tremendously important.”

“I was very touched that the cardinal asked me to do this,” he said.

Father Brian Kiely, pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Natick, is heading the Religious Education Committee.

Father Richard Erikson, vicar general and moderator of the curia, said all five committees are an “indication of priorities” that the cardinal has identified for the archdiocese as a community.

“These two committees are in parallel to the three previous committees in terms of the charge they have been given by the cardinal and the fruits they will bear,” he said.

The committees will give the cardinal an assessment of the current works in religious education and lay faith formation. They will also present suggestions on how to strengthen and enhance those efforts, he said.

“The formation of these committees is an indicator of the fact that both lay faith formation and religious education remain priorities for the archdiocese,” he added.