This story by Gina Keating was originally published in The Catholic Sun, the newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.
When it was suggested to Darren Handy that he take formation classes through Kino, he needed to consider the cost.
For anyone working or volunteering in parish ministry, the cost doesn’t always imply money.
“There’s a lot of fear and trepidation about what the costs would be, and not just financially,” Handy said, adding, “Where much is given, much is required.”
Handy was coordinating the men’s ministry at St. Timothy Church in Mesa when his pastor, Fr. Charlie Goraieb, told him about the adult formation and parish leadership certification through Kino.
The two-year program includes studies in the sacraments and liturgy, Theology of the Body and the Bible.
Handy, who is featured in a Charity and Development Appeal video, is now the coordinator of stewardship at the parish and one course away from certification.
Last year Kino received nearly $300,000 in CDA funding for programs that build knowledge and develop leaders through the generous support of parishioners throughout the diocese.
“I will say the process has been extensive …. I have a heart for Christ and now my mind is in line with my heart … to articulate the grace in which God has gifted us the Church for salvation,” Handy said.
While the father of seven and grandfather of two has the support of his family to delve deeper into his faith, he also has the support of his parish to help defray the $2,300 tuition.
“Just to be able to have Kino available in the Diocese of Phoenix, and to me, it’s invaluable,” Handy said, adding the experience of learning, living and sharing his faith now has him discerning the diaconate program.
“If each of us had a better understanding of what Christ wanted for us — to be strengthened in grace and receive the sacraments — everyone would be clamoring to receive that vessel of grace,” he said.
The effects of CDA are far reaching, not only forming adults but children attending parish catechetical programs in 93 diocesan parishes and 24 missions within its 43,967-mile border.
Cady Aranda recently returned from an Edge retreat with other junior high students from St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish in Scottsdale.
The program marries faith with food and activities over a weekend to engage tweens and teens into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Cady is featured along with her brother Andrew in a CDA video highlighting CDA-funded catechetical programs, like the one Cady attended.
Andrew, who last year received First Holy Communion and Confirmation in third grade, reflected on his preparation that included “water and crackers.”
“The best part of receiving Jesus is He stays in our soul and we get the full God in us, and He helps me make good choices and help other people,” he said.