by Louise Royer, Director, Social Action Office
With the May 1st message of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops comes an invitation to join the Amos program. What is this?
A few years ago, the social action network asked for a course to be created to better equip the French-speaking faithful in connecting the Gospel with their life in society. Formation is one of the two key elements, highlighted in the 2018 publication A Church which goes forth, that help foster the social dimension of evangelization. Over time, by integrating this social dimension, Christian communities gain in credibility, are more in tune with the issues surrounding them, and stand in support of others, thus becoming better witnesses of the Gospel.
We were looking to create a course program to offer initiation and training in social commitment, starting out from what people were already familiar with and were able to see for themselves in their own contexts. A similar program had been tested in the diocese of Saint-Jérôme. Based on the need for formation and on the experience acquired, the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops’ Council on Church and Society joined forces with two other partners - the Office de catéchèse du Québec and the Centre for Justice and Faith. Named for the prophet Amos, the program was launched in October 2022.
The Amos Program is based on the methodology of seeing/analysing (judging)/acting, similar to the life review practised by the Christian Workers Movement (MTC, French acronym). It is a proven method that is in this context enriched with short video clips and podcasts and grounded in biblical teaching. It helps adults to identify the social dimension of Christian faith, to recognize and embrace it and incorporate it into their lives and their spirituality.
To date, several groups in the province of Quebec have followed the program, but none from the diocese of Montreal, as far as we know, have yet participated. The Office for Faith Education would have been eager to promote the program, but priority had to be given to the resumption of activities and team-rebuilding, following the years-long COVID-19 pandemic. Now, however, some groups are preparing to take part, and the recently released tutorials will enable those interested to participate directly. The
program is all-in-one, as long as the person giving the sessions has access to the internet.
The introduction and the first module, comprising four sessions of 2.5 hours each, are timed to be in perfect harmony with the season: amid Earth Day, garden preparation and the month of socio-ecological transition. There are many existing resources in English: notably the Docat and CAPP-Canada’s sessions. After experimentation, if an English version is needed, it shall be considered. So…one way or another, it is great to learn more about the social teachings of our Church.