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October 05, 2011
Lives to Follow
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.”

One of the toughest hurdles in evangelizing youth is offering solid models of faith for them to emulate. Our saints and other holy people witness to our Catholic faith through their lives. Make sure to introduce your students to some of them, yourself included!

FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
Who is a favorite saint you like to share with your students?
What characteristics of the saints do you try to develop in your own life?
Share an idea for integrating lessons of the saints into your faith formation sessions.

The Value of Witness
Catechesis is more than textbook learning. At some point, we put down the text and bring its content into our lived reality. As we offer living examples of how faith works, what it means and how it sustains us in daily life, the textbook teaching begins to make sense, and the first steps of conversion are taken.

The catechist’s personal witness is primary in this process. We need to share our own journeys of faith with those we teach. Every lesson should contain a “witness” moment. It’s at this time that the catechist, a parent, a young adult or parish elder joins the discussion and shares real-life moments when the lesson’s topic affected his or her life. My well-worn quote for catechists is “Do what you teach, or you are teaching something else.”

The witness moment is a graced time when we evangelize our students. A good story of faith leaves a lasting imprint on our souls. So I encourage you to share the story of personal faith in every lesson this year. It will be a priceless gift to your students that will bring the pages of the textbook to life.
Online Catalog
Saint Who?
November is the month when Catholics turn their attention to the saints. If we ever hope to convince today’s children to live lives of faith, we must look for saints, heroes and role models who are relevant to their lives today.
A great resource for exploring these role models is St. Anthony Messenger magazine. Each issue is full of stories and examples of contemporary Catholics who live Catholicism well. In the October issue, Barbara Beckwith writes about “St. Francis for Seekers.” She points out what those looking for inspiration and faith might find in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Father Jack Wintz, O.F.M., and B.G. Kelley share their faith stories as well. Each month, you'll find new examples of Catholic role models in this time-honored magazine.
Online Catalog
Saints on the Go
We’re busy. In spite of all the timesaving technology we now enjoy, it seems that we’re busier than ever. Yet, as busy as we may be, we’re each still called to holiness.

What does it mean to be holy today? Each person’s way of being holy will be unique to that person—reflecting his or her particular talents, gifts, personality, opportunities and life situation. This is true of those canonized members of the Communion of Saints as well. They each responded to God’s call to holiness in his or her particular life situation—reflecting the culture and time in history as well as his or her personal gifts and qualities.

For many years, visitors to our Web site, have turned to us for information about the saints. Our popular “Saint of the Day” feature is searchable through the Web site, or you can subscribe to receive it daily as a free e-mail. Learn about the lives of the saints one at a time and link to other saint resources, including a calendar and a list of patron saints. You can also listen to a 90-second audio version of “Saint of the Day” from our own Franciscan Media.

Now you can carry the saints with you and access “Saint of the Day” offerings through our iPhone app. Be sure to watch the demo of its features.
 Take the saints along on your daily walk and turn to them frequently to help guide your efforts to grow in holiness.
Franciscan Radio
Getting to Know the Saints
Saints are important role models for our children, but sometimes we forget that we’re all called to be saints. It’s also easy to forget that not all saints started out very saintly. We may think that saints are boring, pious people who don’t quite connect with the reality of our lives today. Here are a few products that will introduce you to some saints and reinforce the saints’ influence in our lives. I trust you’ll find that the saints do have a lot to teach us.

39 New Saints You Should Know by Brian O’Neel presents the stories of saints that you should know, but who are relatively new and so not well-known. It’s written in an easy-to-read and understandable style, with a touch of humor to keep you interested.

Saints at the Dinner Table by Amy Heyd helps us learn about a particular saint and plan a party or family meal for which we prepare the recipes related to that saint. What a cool way to both fill your tummy and learn about saints!

Celebrating Saints and Seasons by Jeanne Hunt offers activities for families and classrooms. This book offers easy and fun ways to teach kids about saints. Check out the activities for the saints each month and choose to do your favorites.

“Laughing with the Saints” by Jim Martin, S.J., gives us 11 reasons to lighten up. My favorite line from this Catholic Update is “Still, I’m sure you’ve met Catholics who seem to think that being religious means being deadly serious all the time. But if you’re deadly serious, you’re seriously dead.” Don’t be so serious all the time.

“Can We Be Saints of the Sandwich Generation?” by Gloria Hutchinson shows that the saints really do have relevance to our lives today. I particularly like this issue of Every Day Catholic for two reasons: First, it shows that we are all saints. Second, it gives examples of saints who have taught the author how to deal with a particular situation in her life.

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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.