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August 03, 2011
 
Resources Every Catechist Needs
 
 
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.”

IN THIS EDITION:
It’s time to load up the catechist bag of tricks and prepare for a return to fall religious education programs. Each year it’s important to find new and exiting ways to share the faith. This issue will offer a few ideas that could spice up your curriculum.

FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
What is a tried-and-true resource that you have in your bag of tricks?
Where have you lost energy or become bored with your past approach to a topic? What fresh ideas have you found? What fresh ideas do you still need?

—Jeanne
 
     
 
 
Time for Something New
 
 

Labor Day is around the corner. Families are registering their children for parish religious education programs. And you and I need to get creative as we prepare to present our faith message in new and exciting ways.

While the basic message of our faith remains the same, the catechist can deliver that message in ways that are entertaining and energizing. No one wants our students to complain that “CCD is so boring” or “I hate going to PSR. It’s the same old thing.”

I recommend that you literally dump out your supplies and throw away those old and weary games, prayer resources, CDs, etc., and start fresh. Lesson plans should be reworked to include something new.

Your students can tell if you’re bored with the content. That boredom is contagious. So shake things up for everyone. Plan one new component each lesson. Sometimes it might be a prayer walk with Jesus instead of a tried-and-true memorized prayer. Instead of reading a Scripture passage, act it out or have students interview a classmate who is pretending to be Peter or Jesus. Whatever your plans, make sure the wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing the dust off your old bag of tricks.

 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
St. Francis' Soap Opera
 
 
Franciscan Father Murray Bodo, O.F.M., has just published a 40th anniversary version of his classic Francis: The Journey and the Dream. If you’re teaching junior high through high school, this book is perfect as a weekly saint’s soap opera. Thousands of young adults have been inspired by the life of St. Francis of Assisi. If you want to keep them coming back for more, you might try reading an installment of Francis: The Journey and the Dream each week.

Stories of the saints bring the faith into reality for teenagers. St. Francis was a young man when he made the radical choice to follow God. Murray Bodo’s inspiring story speaks of both God’s call to live the gospel and St. Francis’ response in a way that every student will long remember.
 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
Teaching and Parenting Teens
 
 

I taught junior high religion (full-time) at a Catholic grade school straight out of college. I taught 180 seventh and eighth graders every day—and, in their minds and the minds of many of their parents, I wasn’t teaching a subject that mattered very much.

I thought differently and worked hard to make the subject matter relevant to the kids’ lived experience. The trick with teens is getting a handle on their lived experience. Now that I’m the parent of a teen myself, I find that the decades that have passed since my own teen years have further distanced me from the experience of teens today.

While many of the same life challenges we faced as teens remain, the times have changed dramatically. Anyone with a teen in his or her life—catechists, parents and Confirmation sponsors to name a few—will benefit from the wisdom Kimberly Hahn shares in Legacy of Love: Biblical Wisdom for Parenting Teens and Young Adults, a three-disc DVD set containing six sessions. Kimberly is a frequent conference speaker on topics related to marriage and family. She and her husband, Scott, have six children and several grandchildren. She’s someone who’s “been there” and can offer insights from both a scriptural and personal perspective. I’ve selected a clip from the session “The Parenting Adventure—Teens” (Windows Media Player) to share with you. Legacy of Love is available as a book as well.

Let Kimberly’s insights assist you in your ministry this year. Use Legacy of Love as a resource for catechist formation, parent meetings, sponsor meetings and your own formation. Be sure to have extra copies on hand to share with parents who come to you for help and encouragement.

 
     
Franciscan Radio
 
Helping Our People Prepare
 
 
As we head back into the school year, there are a couple of things I would make sure I had at the ready. The first is the Catholic Update Guide to Changes in the Mass. As we head into the fall, parishioners will be hearing more about the changes in the translation of the Roman Missal. What better way to answer their questions than with a video or series of handouts? I would also make sure to have some pew cards on hand. These show exactly what the changes in the people’s responses will be. 
 
For your RCIA leaders and participants, I recommend the newly revised Come & See program. 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 one-day 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 (Leader edition: B61549; Participant edition: B61556).
 
     
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