Aspal and St Patrick's Pontifical University
St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth is delighted to work with the team at Aspal.ie to deliver cutting edge digital catechesis right into the hands of people all across Ireland. Our collaboration allows for people in the comfort of their own homes to engage with the highest quality ongoing faith formation. This new means of digital catechesis - the future of faith learning - has been made possible thanks to the support of the Benefact Trust.
Digital Faith Formation is the future of our helping people to know God in a deeper way. We are delighted in this collaboration to lead people on this journey.
How Aspal Works
To register for a course simply log onto Aspal.ie and register for the course you want to follow. A member of the Aspal Team will contact you and get you set up on the system. Start your learning.
You can follow the course from the Aspal.ie website simply by logging in with the username and password that is given to you at registration or you can download the Aspal App to engage with your learning anywhere and even on the move.
Irish steps on a digital synodal pathway
The Centre for Mission and Ministries at St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and the Irish Institute for Pastoral Studies from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in collaboration with Aspal, Ireland's new Digital Faith Formation Platform, are delighted to support an offering to the Irish Synodal Pathway to deepen our understanding of synodality.
This digital short course sees six modules explore what it is that Pope Francis intends by inviting us on a synodal journey as Church at this time. Users will have the opportunity to join with leading theological experts Sr Nathalie Becquart (Under-Secretary for the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops), Dr Rafael Luciani (a Lay Venezuelan theologian, appointed as Expert of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops) Sr Therese Fitzgerald (Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Scripture Scholar and member of the Irish Institute of Pastoral Studies), Fr Gerry O’Hanlon (Former Irish Provincial of the Irish Jesuits, and currently Social Theologian with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice), Dr Jessie Rogers (Dean of the Faculty of Theology, St Patrick’s Pontifical University and Lecturer in Sacred Scripture), and Fr Eamon Conway (Head of Theology & Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College) and as they explore various topics introducing synodality.
The wide variety of topics covered by this course all help the user to better understand what Pope Francis intends by inviting all in the church on this synodal pathway at this time. Those topics include: Synodality and Culture; The Spirituality of Synodality the Role of Women and Youth; Synodality, Insights from the Acts of the Apostles; Synodality, A Way of Being Church in the Third Millennium; Synodality and the Second Vatican Council; and Synodality and Discernment. Each of these topics covered is then reflected upon, in a separate conversation, by Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon (Theologian and Director of the Irish Institute of Pastoral Studies) and Dr Jessie Rogers as they highlight key elements or insights from each contribution. Users are also invited to submit a reflection on the chosen topic for feedback. This exciting collaboration allows users from across the Island of Ireland to have easy access to such leading voices on the topic of synodality, precisely at the time when the national and universal synodal journeys are taking place in Ireland and throughout the world.
Referring to the benefits of using Aspal to discuss synodality, Dr Jessie Rogers, Dean of Theology at St Patrick’s Pontifical University commented; ‘’Aspal allows people to access good quality input individually or in groups, at a time and place that works for them. We're hoping that this material on synodality will empower parishes and other groups to get meaningful conversations happening.’’
Reflecting on Aspal’s ability to support such faith projects as this course on Synodality Fr Dermot Ryan, Director Adult Faith Development, Aspal noted “For anyone who wishes to deepen the faith and knowledge of Church teaching, I would encourage them to register on the Aspal app by logging on to www.aspal.ie and from there they can choose the course that they wish to follow. A lot of the content on the app will be free, such as this very exciting course now offered on the Synodal Pathway”.
Aspal is greatly supported by the generosity of the Benefact Trust and collaborations such as this are now possible thanks to the creation of the supporting technology made possible by this assistance. Aspal is allowing parishes from across the island of Ireland to have access to the highest quality faith formation, often from the comfort of their homes.
Aspal is a new cutting edge digital platform for faith formation. Easy to use with the ability to access content anywhere and at any time, this App and digital platform allows people to deepen their faith from the comfort of their own home and at any time that is convenient for them. Imagine having access to the best theologians from around the world available to you in your own home town, village or parish. The team at Aspal have made that possible.
More details and some taster videos can be found at: aspal.ie/courses/synodality
Current Courses include:
• Introducing Synodality
• Formation for Ministers of the Eucharist
• The Kiss of Christ
• Pathways to Ministry
• Pastoral Council training & planning
• Foundations in Youth Ministry
• Advent course - Emmanuel- God with us
For more information and to register for online courses visit aspal.ie
The First Aspal Course
The launch course of Aspal was The Kiss of Christ, led by Fr Séamus O’Connell, an online introduction to lectio divina in a pastoral key over eight weeks. Alternating between brief presentations which may be accessed at any point, and live lectio sessions, this short course provides a pathway through lectio divina while participants journey with the Sunday gospels of Lent. The Kiss of Christ, along with other courses, is now made available to all the parishes of Ireland via Aspal.ie.
The Kiss of Christ
In Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council, and probably its most far-reaching document, the Church teaches that
she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the Bread of Life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body. (§21)
For well over a century, ever since the days of Pope Saint Pius X, the Church has been able to renew how it ‘offers to the faithful the Bread of Life’ at the table of Christ’s body. Not only has this renewal of Eucharistic life and practice permitted God’s people to be sustained by the Body of Christ, it has led to the renewal the Church’s inner life and our presence in the world.
However, the renewal of how the Church ‘offers to the faithful the Bread of Life’ at the table of God’s word is still in its early stages. This led Pope Saint John Paul II to ask,
to what extent has the Word of God become more fully the soul of theology and the inspiration of the whole of Christian living, as Dei Verbum sought? (TMA §36)
This question he asked in 1994 as he began prepare for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. You yourself will be best able to judge the Church’s response to his searching question.
The ancient discipline of lectio divina has re-emerged in the last 25 years as one balanced way for all the faithful to receive the word of God and be sustained by it. It brings together the Scriptures and life—what Pope Francis calls “that inseparable pair.” (Address to the Catholic Biblical Federation, April 2019). In a desire to sustain those involved in lectio divina and to provide for their ongoing formation, St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth is offering an online introduction to lectio divina in a pastoral key over the next eight weeks. Alternating between brief presentations which may be accessed at any point, and a fortnightly live lectio, this short course will provide a pathway through lectio divina while participants journey with the Sunday gospels of Lent.
Addressing the challenges of praying together during the Covid-19 pandemic has permitted many to gain confidence in negotiating virtual environments. Building on this confidence, the course, under the guidance of Father Séamus O’Connell, will provide resources and support for the prayerful reading of the Scriptures in a way that will nourish the faith of the individual, and inspire the lives of our parish and diocesans communities.
“To whom shall we go?” said Peter, “You have the words of eternal life.”