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November 9, 2006
Greetings and welcome to Faith Formation Update, a free monthly e-newsletter for catechetical leaders with a focus on parish catechesis beyond textbooks and classrooms. I'm Judith Dunlap. In each issue I offer a brief starter and my "Every Family" column. My co-worker and fellow religious educator Joan McKamey offers media resources and ideas in her "Seen and Heard" column. Our co-worker Chuck Blankenship suggests other faith formation resources for adults from St. Anthony Messenger Press in his column, "Sowing Sampler." Finally, we encourage YOU to share views and program ideas about this month's topic on our online bulletin board, "Faith Formation Forum." Blessings on your work!
—Judith Dunlap

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The Year of Luke
For various reasons this October is turning out to be a bear of a month for my colleagues and me here at SAMP. Having all worked as catechetical leaders in the past, Joan, Chuck and I know you will understand and forgive us for the brevity of our columns this month. This does not mean, however, that we will be cutting down on the samplings we will offer. Our theme for November is St. Luke.
In December, we begin another liturgical year—Cycle C, the year of Luke. Sometime during the year, perhaps before the First Sunday in Advent, you might consider offering some resources for adult Bible study on Luke’s Gospel.   
One resource you might consider is Journeys Into Luke: 16 Lessons of Exploration and Discovery written by Raymond Apicella. The book is a resource for small groups with discussion questions that lend themselves to Bible-sharing groups rather than small Christian communities. For those of you who may not be familiar with the distinction between the two, I’ll offer a brief explanation.
In Bible study groups, or other small discussion groups, the questions are usually more focused on the topic. The end result is learning more about a subject. With small Christian communities (SCC) or small faith communities (SFC), the discussion questions are focused on how the information or biblical passage affects one’s personal faith. The end result is discovering how to implement the message in one’s daily life.     
That said, it is important to understand that study groups often talk about how they can and do apply what they have learned in their lives. And SCC or SFC are always learning more about themselves, others and their faith. (Click here to see the table of contents for small group resource, Journeys Into Luke.)  
Bringing Home the Gospel
Learning About the Gospels
I’ve mentioned Jim Merhaut’s Your Catholic Family: Simple Ways to Share The Faith at Home before. It is an excellent resource for families, filled with practical and fun ideas on how parents and youngsters can learn about their faith at home. With just a little imagination you can adapt the activities to work in a large or small intergenerational group setting at the parish.
One of my favorite activities is the “Gospel Trivia” game. You’ll find this activity under the section on the New Testament, complete with rules, playing board and questions and answers. (Click here to find the game “Gospel Trivia.”) There are five categories of questions in this game: Infant Narrative; Parables and Teachings; Miracles and Wonders; Passion, Death, Resurrection; and general questions. It shouldn’t be difficult to add a sixth category on the Gospel of Luke to accommodate this year’s liturgical readings.
I’ve had fun playing Jeopardy with this sort of trivia. You can play boys against girls, or divide into small groups of intergenerational people. Winners get to be first in line for food.
Another idea is to send copies of the game home for families to play the week/month before your planned gathering. This gives youngsters a chance to learn about the New Testament in preparation for the parish gathering.
Electronic Media Resources on the Sunday Gospel
I like to read the Sunday readings in advance of hearing them proclaimed at Mass. I used to read at least the Gospel during the week, but now I usually manage to reflect only on the readings in church in the minutes before Mass begins. (My husband is very good about keeping us on time on Sunday mornings, so I usually have at least 10 minutes to do this before the start of Mass.) I find that little bit of preparation and reflection really makes a difference in how and what I hear during the Liturgy of the Word. It helps me be more attentive to the proclamations and homily as well.
As we approach the beginning of a new liturgical year, it’s a good time to encourage parishioners to get in the practice of preparing themselves for Sunday Eucharist. A former pastor often reminded us that as soon as we begin our physical preparations for Mass (getting dressed, etc.), we need to start preparing our hearts as well. Far too many of us put on our Church face as we enter the church doors—sometimes even arguing with family members on the way there. This lack of sincere preparation for uniting with each other and with Christ in the Eucharist can only hinder true union in the Spirit.
There are many resources available to assist people in reflecting on the Sunday readings—either in preparation for or following the Mass. (I keep telling folks that it’s so much more than an online catalog!) has an area specifically designed for getting us in the right frame of mind and heart for Sunday Mass. Click here to be connected to Sunday Supplements and Sunday Soundbites. Use these resources to begin preparing yourself for Sunday liturgy and share them with the people to whom you minister. It’s amazing what the Spirit can do in people’s lives when we open ourselves to God’s Word as proclaimed at Sunday Eucharist.
Preparing for the Year of Luke
As we begin the new liturgical year, our scriptural focus changes to the Gospel of Luke. St. Anthony Messenger Press publishes a number of books that can help you explore the themes in the year of Luke.
Macrina Scott’s Bible Stories Revisted: Discover Your Story in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles digs into 24 stories from the Gospel of Luke. Fr. William Kurz offers a tour of Luke and Acts in Following Jesus: A Disciple’s Guide to Luke and Acts. Fr. David Knight’s Living God’s Word: Year C gives you insightful reflections on each week’s Gospel reading from Luke. Add to these the commentaries of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk on the first and second readings for each week, as found in When God Speaks: Reflections on the First Readings of the Sunday Lectionary and Live Letters: Reflections on the Second Readings of the Sunday Lectionary, and you will be prepared for your journey through the year of Luke.
Study guides from St. Anthony Messenger magazine
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