Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has undergone many changes and a profound renewal. In Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the Council stresses the place and the participation of the laity in the life of the Church. The document emphasises the co-responsibility of the laity and the ordained and the Church recognizes the important contribution of the laity in it’s growth and mission today.
Since the Council, throughout North America, and guided by the Holy Spirit, local churches felt the need to offer the laity means of formation in order to assist them in deepening their faith and to empower them to exercise their particular charisms in the Church.
To address this need, the Nathanael adult formation program was established in 1988 upon the request of the Archbishops of Saint Boniface and Winnipeg. The two archdioceses combined their efforts in order to establish a solid three year formation program offered to men and women who expressed a desire to deepen their faith and their Church commitments.
With the presentation of the diocesan Action Plan in 2013, the spiritual and pastoral renewal of the diocesan Church of Saint-Boniface is a well-established goal. This renewal is guided by two visions: the vision of the entire Church as a missionary Church made up of the people of God, Body of Christ, and Temple of the Holy Spirit, and the vision of a Church endeavoring to move forward through the sharing of the gifts and charisms of all the baptized.
Clergy, religious and laity throughout the diocese are invited to enter into this renewal and determine ways by which together we can achieve this common goal. As a response to our baptism, we endeavor to deepen our relationship with Christ and to respond to His call to sainthood. This is expressed in the manner in which we bear witness to a life in His image and contribute to a Church united through love, justice, joy, peace, and reconciliation.
One of the ways to realize this goal is through the Nathanael Formation Program offered by the diocese. The program has undergone renewal and is directed to respond to the needs of today’s diocesan Church.
Why the name Nathanael?
Nathanael becomes a disciple of Jesus after Philip presents him to Jesus. Nathanael recognized Jesus as the Messiah in addressing him “Son of God” and “King of Israel”
Philip meets Nathanael and tells him, 'We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.' Nathanael said to him, 'From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?' Philip replied, 'Come and see.' (John 1, 45-46).