By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
Several parishes have bonded together to sponsor the Archdiocese of Mobile’s “Be Prepared” apologetics series beginning this month.
The program is a 20-part monthly series over two years, including a summer break, and serves as the backbone for catechists in the archdiocese to be certified. But it’s also for anyone desiring to know more about his or her faith.
St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph (Maysville) and Most Pure Heart of Mary parishes in Mobile are sponsoring the series at St. Francis Xavier on the third Wednesday of the month beginning Sept. 18. It begins at 6 p.m. with supper.
St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Chastang will host on the fourth Wednesday of the month beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 and closing with 7 p.m. Mass and supper. It is also being sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas in Citronelle, Our Lady of Sorrows in Fairford, St. Cecilia in Mount Vernon and St. Theresa in West Mount Vernon.
For those in Baldwin County, St. Bartholomew Parish in Elberta has begun hosting the series. The next session is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 and will continue on the first Wednesday of each month. The series has also previously been held in Montgomery and Dothan and should return there in two years.
Food and childcare are provided at all sessions and the sessions are never more than an hour.
For those unsure, what are apologetics? While many say it centers on the discipline of defending the faith, Archdiocese of Mobile Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life Pat Arensberg said it’s more than defending the faith.
“If you look at 1 Peter 3:15, Peter says to be ready to offer reason for your hope,” Arensberg said. “In other words you should be living in a way that is different than people who are living here in darkness, who don’t see the hope in the Gospel, who don’t see the value and dignity of themselves in others.
“You need to be ready to offer a reason for your hope. The Greek verb for that is ‘apologia’ – to be ready to offer a reason. That’s where you get the word for apologetics.”
Each session is freestanding, so those interested can attend any or all, as well as invite anyone for a particular topic. The first session at St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter the Apostle is titled “Is There Truth?”
The next session at St. Bartholomew is “Jesus just a myth?”
“A lot of people come to all 20, but a lot of people invite others to particular topics,” Arensberg said. “One is about how do we answer ‘are you saved?’ Somebody might say ‘I’m asked that all the time’ and will invite friends to that.”
Arensberg also said those who attended the previous 20 sessions in years past will return again.
“I’m surprised at how many people come again, but it’s like watching a movie for a second time,” he said.
“You might pick up on something you didn’t the first time. Or the examples might be slightly different or the conversation might be slightly different.”
— For a complete listing of dates and locations of the “Be Prepared” series, visit mobilefaithformation.org/prepared-apologetics-sessions-2019-2020/