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News from the frontline.....

This section has a monthly focus on an evangelisation initiative currently being run in England and Wales. It's an important way through which we can give thanks to God for the ways in which he is using ordinary people to spread the Good News. We hope that by seeing others taking the initiative in a variety of ways, it'll help to take the understandable fear out of the "E" word for you and your community too.

This month we're featuring CaFE: Catholic Faith Exploration.

Details about Catholic Evangelisation Services and CaFE

WE are called Catholic Evangelisation Services and have offices at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney. Our postal address is PO Box 333, St Albans, Herts AL2 1EL.

For the past few years we have been developing Catholic Teaching videos and in 2002 we launched CaFE – Catholic Faith Exploration . The response has been incredible with over 600 parishes running this video-based process around the English speaking world.

CaFE is a flexible process designed to help Catholics get more enthusiastic about their faith. Small faith-sharing groups are developed and Catholics are empowered to make more of a difference in the world around them. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has said that small groups will be a place of evangelisation and a hope for the Church.

Many Catholics today are keen to know more about their faith particularly if it helps them in their everyday lives; in their families, relationships and work places. They are also hungry for community, for a place where they can share their faith, their fears, their hopes and learn more about the richness of their Catholic faith together. When Catholics get excited about their faith they become keen to share that Good News with the people around them. The Pope has called us to use modern media as a way of communicating the Gospel to those outside the Church and for effective and life-giving catechesis within the Church.

CaFE is flexible and can also be used in schools, colleges or prisons. It is easy to run and can be led by lay people under the guidance of the priest. It is designed to be run in short modules which can fit comfortably into a school term. At the very heart of CaFE is the need for hospitality and welcome. The church hall or school is set up in a "café style" with tablecloths, flowers, nice refreshments and possibly even a glass of wine being served during the evening!

The first module “Knowing God Better” helps Catholics become more enthusiastic about the basics of their faith. It can be run as a mini mission to the parish. The next module “Exploring the Catholic Church” starts to form small group communities around the table with discussion times being introduced. The third module “Catholic Making a Difference” develops this but has the extra challenge of action, both individually and as a group, in the areas of social action, human rights and witness.

CaFE : Helping Catholics Share Their Faith

“We have just completed "Exploring the Catholic Church". The eight-week session was indeed very blessed and many people were very touched in so many different ways. The discussion tables were buzzing each evening and many were still talking long after the official winding down time which was 9.30.pm. Many of the participants are now asking for the next series and are missing the weekly sessions although some are already meeting up for prayer each week.

St Margaret's Twickenham

"Phew! I'm exhausted but still flying high after launching our first CaFE evening last night in our Parish of St Edmunds. We had 150 people attending and you could feel the atmosphere in the hall during the talk."

KNOWING GOD BETTER - "I like the way he told the story of creation - making a picture of it. It came alive for me. He made the anticipation of salvation like the excitement in the Indiana Jones films where I sat on the edge of my chair awaiting the next moment."

Guest at 1 st evening of Knowing God Better

The programme was a great success. All who attended found it uplifting and felt encouraged and renewed. One parent who attended has joined the RCIA programme. Another has come back to Mass and the Sacraments. Another has had her two children baptised.

Teeside Parish

"As a "cradle" Catholic it is often easy to forget childhood teachings and to lose sight of what being a Roman Catholic is, or most importantly what it is not. The course showed me that being a Catholic is not simply a coat to wear on Sundays, but a commitment to the knowledge of God's love in us as Christians, which should be expressed in our daily action to, and interactions with, others.

The friendships I made on the CaFE series, I am sure, will be life long; and indeed our group has made the commitment to meet regularly as a social group and to be supportive of each other in prayer."

Excerpt from an unsolicited letter dropped into a parish house to thank the priest for sponsoring CaFE.

If you would like to know more about CaFE and the resources please contact:

Catholic Evangelisation Services

PO Box 333
St Albans
Herts AL2 1EL Phone / Fax 01727 822837

Web site: www.faithcafe.org
E-Mail: info@faithcafe.org