Visit our Web site
Visit our Web site
May 04, 2011
Looking Back at Successes and Failures
Faith Formation Update continues to offer free monthly encouragement and direction for catechetical ministry within the classroom and beyond. I’m Jeanne Hunt. 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 Angela Glassmeyer suggests other faith formation resources for adults in her column, “Sowing Sampler.”

As we close out another catechetical year, it’s good to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. In the words of Jesus, “…the truth will set you free.”
FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
As you look back on this passing program year, what is one new thing you did that turned out well?
What is one new thing you did that didn’t turn out so well? What can you do next year to make it better?
Where is new energy needed in your programs? What will you do over the summer months to find the personal energy, personnel or resources to meet this need?


How Do You Define Success?

The catechetical year is cyclic. It usually follows the academic year. Yet good catechesis is far from academic. Catechists are first and foremost evangelizers. While the catechetical content is the primary tool, every lesson aims at bringing faith alive through an encounter with Jesus Christ. So we need to ask and pray about some questions:
   * When did I experience grace in my class? 
   * How did my lessons influence my students in a positive way? 
   * What left my students and me dry as dead bones?

Before you close the catechism and textbook for another year, make a list of your own questions and thoughtfully answer them. Priding ourselves for completing the textbook yet never moving our students into deeper faith is a failure. Completing eight really important chapters and helping 18 children remember forever their encounter with Jesus Christ is a roaring success. In the end, we learn from both experiences. It is just vitally important to move forward with this wisdom.

Online Catalog
An Evangelizing Moment
The changes in the Roman Missal are the focus of many conversations in ministerial circles. The common folks in the pews, however, don’t seem so aware or excited. I suppose the heat will be turned up that first Sunday in Advent 2011 when folks are struggling with their Mass prayers.

Have I got a deal for you! Plan now to begin adult discussion groups next fall based on the Catholic Update Guide to the Mass. This inexpensive book is the perfect tool for leading parishioners into understanding both the changes and the real meaning of why we Catholics do what we do at Mass. Each chapter contains the trusted content of a Catholic Update, followed by discussion questions that are meant to help readers come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the Mass.
Online Catalog
Have You Done Anything for Adults Lately?
While adult faith formation is to be “the axis around which revolves the catechesis of childhood and adolescence as well as that of old age” (General Directory for Catechesis, no. 275; Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, no. 5), the typical parish scale of resources and efforts is tipped toward the faith formation of children and teens. It’s difficult to get busy adults to any adult faith offering—even if they’re interested in the topic.

Small groups, Christian communities, faith-sharing groups—whatever they’re called in your area—are vital to the faith formation of many adults. Adults often commit to a short-term group and decide to continue meeting. Many groups meet regularly long after parish renewal programs (e.g., Christ Renews His Parish, Renew) during which strong bonds formed. Groups are made up of couples, singles, mothers, retired folks, widows/widowers, businessmen—or a mixture of these and others.

How well are you resourcing the small groups in your parish? What do you know of their interests and needs? Every Day Catholic is an engaging and user-friendly resource for small groups. Every issue is topical, and the short columns approach the topic from different perspectives.

Topics address the challenges and questions faced by typical Catholics as they try to live their faith in today’s world. Every Day Catholic helps readers realize that their Catholic faith is relevant. A free small-group guide is written for each issue. These guides simplify the job of the catechetical leader and give volunteer facilitators a step-by-step process to follow.

Consider Every Day Catholic for your small groups in the coming program year. If you’re already familiar with Every Day Catholic, please take a few minutes to tell us what you think. How do you use it? What do you like or dislike? How can we better meet your needs and serve your parish? Take our short survey, and we’ll use your feedback to develop new Every Day Catholic issues. Please complete the survey by May 18. Thanks! 
Franciscan Radio
Ready, Set...Plan!
As you evaluate this program year and look ahead to the next, consider introducing some of the fresh and fun ideas presented in Celebrating Saints and Seasons. There are prayers, projects and even recipes for families and schools. It will provide great ideas with which to start off the year, as well as lots of ideas for keeping up the energy and excitement throughout the year.

I’d like to echo Jeanne’s recommendation of Catholic Update Guide to the Mass and add a couple more suggestions that may help before, during and after the transition to the new translation of the Roman Missal. Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers is a great resource about the Mass and reflects the changes in the Roman Missal. There is also the Catholic Update Guide to Changes in the Mass, which offers a video, handouts and a leader’s guide—perfect for faith formation before and after the changes take effect.
Preview full text of the latest issue and past issues!
Preview full text of the latest issue and past issues!
Subscribe to Bringing Home The Word!
Faith Formation Forum

Share your ideas on faith formation at our online bulletin board, Faith Formation Forum. Our editors will screen and post your thoughts, and you can learn from others' ideas. Submit your ideas by clicking here.