Introduction

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.
–  Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018)

Few adults go through life sheltered from the choices that shape every truly authentic adult life.  Being human, for most of us, involves soul searching, much navigating and decision-making, all in the pursuit of happiness, our own and others. 

Over the centuries many men and women have shared the wisdom of their experiences and insights.  Some have also drawn inspiration from the person and teachings of Jesus Christ and other biblical figures.  Collectively their writings form a body of insights, encouragement and know-how known today as ‘Christian Discernment’. 

St. Irenaeus of Lyon (c.130 -202AD) once wrote ‘the glory of God is the human person fully alive’.  If you are a reader or like to engage with video presentations or podcasts by Christian Discernment writers, one or two of the following names may be familiar:  Teihard de Chardin, Joan Chittister OSB, Timothy Gallagher OMV, Thomas Greene, Brian Grogan SJ, St. Ignatius of Loyola and J. Michael Sparough SJ?   They are but a few of many writers dedicated to helping women and men be fully alive by making and fulfilling wise, well-discerned decisions.

From mid-August to late September a group of sixteen adults will gather weekly in Ballinasloe to undertake this short course together. If you feel  you would enjoy being part of this shared learning experience please read on. 

Course Length

Six sessions, each one-hour-and-twenty-minutes to one-and-a-half hours in length.

Course Venue and Dates (Autumn 2022)

Course to run from on Sunday evenings, 8 – 9.30 pm from Sunday 14th August to Sunday 18th September inclusive (six weeks) in The Clonfert Family Centre, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. H53 NX59

Course Objectives

  1. To offer an introduction to good decision making, from a ‘Christian Discernment’ perspective
  2. To stimulate learning in a gentle, light-hearted, respectful and non-threatening way
  3. To introduce a range of perceptive insights and practices and opportunities to apply them in a controlled and supportive environment
  4. To provide more in-depth insight into the branch of Christian Discernment known as Ignatian Discernment
  5. To illuminate (briefly) how certain sacred scriptures of the Jewish and Christian faiths nurture and support discernment
  6. To provide a short reading list and further options with regard to taking this exploration further.

* Please note too that the focus throughout this course will be ‘personal’ as distinct from ‘group’ discernment and decision-making.

Reserved to Christians?

The fact the course title embraces the word ‘Christian’ may cause some to wonder if it is restricted to Christians.  Not at all.  In fact it would be great to have participants of others faith and persons who don’t hold any religious affiliation in the group. 

The more important requirement is that all participants are at ease reflecting on insights etc. that are drawn from experiences and reflections highlighted by Christian writers and on stories etc. drawn from the Christian bible. 

Secondly, be assured too that no familiarity with any aspect or element of Christian Discernment is necessary or necessarily an advantage.  An open mind, an open heart, a willingness to accept others and to participate in the conversations that will be evoked is all that is required.  All people of goodwill are welcome.

Session Themes

Session 1

Introduction to Christian Discernment and Decision-Making

Session 2

Foundational and hidden influences

Session 3

Putting language on the movements of our hearts and heads

Session 4

The enduring legacy of Ignatius of Loyola (part 1)

Session 5

The enduring legacy of Ignatius of Loyala (part 2)

Session 6

Developing daily practices that strengthen good decision making capacity

Course Facilitation

Sessions will be facilitated by Justin Harkin, Director, Pastoral & Faith Development Services, Elphin Diocese.

Number of Places

Group size will be limited to fifteen participants (in-person) so as to support group interaction.

Places must be reserved (see below).

Requested Commitment (participants)

In addition to participating in sessions participants will be invited to give one hour to reading and reflection (homework) between sessions. 

Course Costs

A donation of €20.00 / €25.00 would be appreciated from those who can afford it.

Participants coming to the first session on ‘a come and see basis’ need not contribute unless they decide to undertake the remaining sessions.

Participants are requested to place their  donation in the donations box  that will be available at each session. 

20% of monies received will be donated to Clonfert diocese as a contribution toward room hire, light and heat.  The remaining 80% will be used to recoup course advertising and resource costs.  Any monies left over will be given to the CREIDEAMH Network toward costs of other adult education courses and initiatives.

Reading Material

Participants will be provided with loan copies of the following for the duration of the course:

Brian Grogan SJ
Making Good Decisions – A Beginner’s Guide
Veritas, Dublin, 2015.

Christian Community Bible (Catholic Pastoral Study Edition)
Claretian Publications & St. Pauls, Manila, Philippines, 2003 and later.

Some worksheets etc. will also be provided.

Our thanks to Fr. Brian Grogan SJ for giving us permission to lend copies of his book.

Elements of a typical session

  1. Word of welcome, shared review of reading and reflection since previous session
  2. Input and discussion
  3. Shared reflective exercise (sometimes drawing on sacred scripture)
  4. Moment of prayer / quiet reflection
  5. Preparation for next session
  6. Word of thanks

Enquiries and reservation of places

Please email or text Justin on admin@creideamh.ie / 087 6171526 

Number of places as of 10/8/2022

4

Last updated:  10/08/2022.