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Events in recent years in the Archdiocese of Boston have left many Catholics adrift in their faith, and Eileen Wood is working to help them find an anchor.
Wood, together with nine other area Catholics, has founded Catholic Quest, an organization that seeks to “provide forums for Catholics to continue to learn about their faith, to more clearly explain and defend those teachings, and to deepen their spirituality and to give people of other faiths the opportunity to learn more about the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
"Each of us is on a daily spiritual journey to discern what God wants us to do with our lives," Wood said, explaining why the group chose the name, "Catholic Quest."
"We know that the truth can only be found in the Catholic Church, but we are each on our own quest to live out that truth," she said.
"Catholic Quest is a grassroots movement to begin promoting a local understanding of the faith at the parish level," explained Father Jonathan Gaspar, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Church in Marlborough, who is also a member of Catholic Quest.
As adult Catholics, Father Gaspar continued, we need “an ongoing formation” in our faith, so we do not “rely solely on what we have received as young people.”
In order to facilitate this, Catholic Quest is sponsoring four seminars by Patrick Madrid, noted author and host of two EWTN television and radio series. Beginning Sept 21 and continuing for four successive days, Madrid will speak at four area churches: St. Marie in Manchester, N.H., Immaculate Conception Church in Marlborough, St. Joseph Church in Salem, N.H., and St. William Church in Tewksbury. Topics include “Ten Mistakes Catholics Make When Sharing the Faith,” “Why Be Catholic When You can be Anything Else?” and “Is Everything Up for Grabs? A Catholic Critique on Moral Relativism.”
"Each night's topic will be different," explained Wood during a recent interview, "so people can feel free to attend one or all of the discussions."
"The topics will encompass all different aspects of Church teaching," Wood said, "so we are inviting everyone to come with their Bible and their toughest questions."
So far, feedback has been very positive, commented Father Gaspar.
"People have been excited about these talks," he said. "Many people are searching, thirsting for a deeper knowledge and understanding of their Catholic faith. This is an opportunity to come with all your questions and to come and be fed."
"With everything that we are facing as a Church, as a society, it's a great thing to be able to be fed," he added.
According to Wood, the first three presentations will be evening talks, with time set aside for discussion. However, for the final event, Catholic Quest is hosting an all-day retreat at St. William Church in Tewksbury, full of workshops and open forum discussions.
Although pre-registration is not necessary for the first three events, and admission is only a goodwill donation to the parish, registration is required for the day-long retreat, as lunch is included for the admission fee of $25 per person.
[Editor’s note: For more information, or to register for the Sept. 24 program at St. William Church in Tewksbury, contact Eileen Wood at 978-858-3634 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.]