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July 06, 2011
Refilling Your Own Tank
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.”

Taking a break from the classroom is so important. Yet our summer break contains a hidden grace: the time to become learners as we pick up that magazine article, DVD or book that can give us inspiration, information and renewed passion. Join us as we offer a few suggestions for your summertime renewal.

FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
What have you done during past summers to refresh and rejuvenate yourself for your ministry as catechist or catechetical leader?
What resources do you recommend to others?

Summertime "R&R"
Keeping current is the challenge of every catechist, parent and teacher. Every so often, we need to put aside the lesson plans and workshop notes and start from scratch. It’s so easy to keep saying the same old thing over and over again. It takes time to refresh our delivery of the message.
The effort it takes to do this, however, helps keep the Good News fresh, current and ever-living for our students and ourselves. Start by devoting some of your summertime to reading and research. I suggest that you look at what you teach and where your knowledge is sketchy. Perhaps you need to bone up on liturgy with the changes in the Roman Missal coming in Advent. Maybe Scripture has never been a strength for you. It might just be that there is an area of your faith that excites you and which you want to share with your students. Before you procrastinate your way into September, choose one topic and devote a little time this summer to “R&R”—that’s reading and research.

PLANNING AHEAD? As you anticipate welcoming your next group of RCIA participants, take another look at Come and See. It’s been updated with new Catholic Updates and revised to make it easier to coordinate session topics with the Sunday readings. It now offers a proposed format for an RCIA session, an outline for a retreat, a glossary of key terms and tab dividers to help you get and stay organized. We think you’ll find it more user-friendly—as a main or ancillary resource for RCIA. Look for this sixth edition in August.
Online Catalog
Dusting off Mary
Have you ever noticed the dust that can accumulate on church statues? In my parish, the statue of Mary had to get a good dusting before we crowned her in May.

I suggest that Mary’s statue isn’t the only thing that needs a good dusting: Our Marian theology could probably use a little updating this summer as well. The perfect book for reacquainting yourself with our heavenly mother is Christopher Padgett’s Wholly Mary. Chris gives us a picture of Mary from Scripture, Church teaching and traditions, the history of apparitions and more. His engaging style and unabashed love for the Blessed Virgin is simply contagious. With Wholly Mary as your summer read, you’ll return to the classroom with renewed excitement for that “Lovely Lady, dressed in blue.”
Online Catalog
Take a walk with the saints

“If you knew more about the saints and how they lived their lives, you would be more like the saints.” —Matthew Kelly, Mustard Seeds: Daily Thoughts to Grow With

Who of us doesn’t wish to be more saintlike? Yet we all stumble repeatedly on our personal paths to sainthood. Too often we stumble and fall because the path seems unclear or we’re afraid to travel it alone.

When we look to the saints, we find that the path is well-traveled and that we are not alone. Father James Martin, S.J., shares some of his own spiritual journey with the saints in his best-selling memoir, My Life with the Saints. In it, he features 16 of his favorite saints in the order in which he encountered them along his life path. I’ve selected a short sample for you (Windows Media).

Spend some time this summer learning about the saints through Father Jim’s experiences of them. Take this audiobook on vacation with you—or listen to it on your commute to and from work. You’re sure to find companions and guides for your own journey to sainthood. 

Franciscan Radio
Happy Catholic
Following the relief that comes with the end of the school year, it can seem as if time is flying and it’s almost time to begin again. One way I get energized and re-inspired is to look for materials that help remind me why I do what I do—books, conferences, speakers, movies. Any of these things can help. One book that I just started reading is Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life. The author, Julie Davis, joined the Catholic Church in 2000 and has a passion for finding God everywhere she goes.

Davis writes: “After my Confirmation, I was given a Catholic book, and that began a reading frenzy. I began seeing a pattern of truth and beauty that I never knew existed. Soon, everywhere I looked, I recognized the pattern. Books I read, movies I watched, songs I heard were reflecting bits of the Truth that was God. I realized that this reality had been there all along. I just couldn’t see it before. It made everyday things glow. I couldn’t hold in my delight and began e-mailing friends with my discoveries. The e-mails turned into a blog, Happy Catholic, which reflected everything I loved about being Catholic every day.”

The book is full of examples from all kinds of media, both secular and religious, that show us how God is everywhere. And we’ll find him…if only we look.
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