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January 04, 2012
 
Catholic Identity
 
 
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: The winter days are a great time to tell stories of faith. Stories that enhance a student’s understanding of what it means to be Catholic are even better. In this issue, we offer several ideas for sharing and teaching about Catholic identity.

FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
What are some ideas you have for sharing Catholic identity with your students?
What successes have you had with your own children that can be modified for use in parish catechesis?
—Jeanne
 
     
 
 
Being Catholic
 
 
Being Catholic takes more than passing a test on Chapter Eight. It means watching, listening and imitating in practice what we see other Catholics doing. So much of our faith is passed down through tradition: a reverent bow, grace before meals, modest dress for Sunday Mass, etc. These little signs of faith are seen and heard, not read about.
 
I recommend that you include a “Catholic Moment” tip in every lesson. Make your own list of Catholic practices, stories of faith and prayers. Each week, end your class with a discussion of that “moment” and an assignment to help your students “try it on.” 
  
The generations before us learned what it means to “be Catholic” as their parents taught the practices of faith through kitchen-table talk and through the example of those in their community. These little tips and assignments will help the current generation bring these beautiful faith traditions home to their hearts and minds in the same way their grandparents learned to be Catholic.
 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
A Wild Man Who Loves Being Catholic
 
 
It’s easy to inspire a second grader, but young adults often aren’t quite so open to religion. The best way to bring them a powerful witness of Catholicism is through people they can relate to.

Lino Rulli, popular host of The Catholic Guy, a three-hour show heard daily on SiriusXM Radio, is one of those people many young adults can relate to. With his funny stories of failure and temptation, Lino shares about his efforts to live as a faithful Catholic. His book, Sinner: The Catholic Guy’s Funny, Feeble Attempts to be a Faithful Catholic, helps us—young and old—to realize that, in spite of our failures, we can keep trying to stay on the path of Catholicism.

Lino offers a humorous, candid and very real witness of being a young Catholic today. This book, available in print and audio, is the perfect tool for teaching Catholicism with a lighthearted edge that will bring adults of all ages to laughter and faith. We even offer a t-shirt that’s sure to be a hit!
 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
Connecting Catholic Practices to Life
 
 

Catechesis must inform our actions as well as our beliefs. We’re more successful at touching and changing hearts if our learners find the subject relevant to their lived experiences.

With Lent beginning on February 22, it’s not too early to start thinking about ways to make our catechetical efforts for Lent meaningful. Father Al McBride, O.Praem., is a longtime provider of solid catechetical material. He now offers us an audio Way of the Cross, The Challenge of the Cross: Praying the Stations. Praying the Stations in Lent, or at any other time of year, provides an opportunity to witness Jesus’ suffering, relate our own struggles and suffering to his, and grow closer to him as we reflect on his path to Calvary.

Each of the reflections on the Stations (including #15 Jesus Rises From the Dead) is followed by a Scripture passage to ponder, a prayer to help listeners personally meet the challenge of the cross and a closing prayer. There’s also an introduction by Father Al as well as instructions for praying the Stations. I’ve selected a sample, the First Station, to share with you (Windows Media).

Use The Challenge of the Cross: Praying the Stations with different groups in your parish. If the church isn’t available, have students make drawings of the Stations and place them around the room. Use the audio Stations to help your group pray them. You may do something similar with those in the catechumenate, perhaps as part of their Lenten retreat. Make sure to have copies of this devotion in your parish lending library as well. With its music, group responses and multiple voices, it will help shut-ins and those in nursing-care facilities feel more connected with the worshiping community.

 
     
Franciscan Radio
 
What Makes Us Catholic?
 
 
When I think about Catholic identity, one product really comes to mind: Catholic Update. Sharing this four-page handout which features topics of importance to Catholics is a great way to help parishioners learn about and grow in their faith. Catholic Updates address our identity as Catholics—what we believe, who we are and why we do the things we do. Some are even particular to the Lenten season that’s fast approaching.

These handouts are easy for the average Catholic to read and understand. You can buy the ones listed below (and find more on our website), as well as subscribe and receive a new issue each month. It’s really a great way for you and your parish to stay informed and up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of Catholicism.
 
Here are some of my recommendations of Catholic Updates that address the heart of our Catholic identity:
“Nine Things That Make Us Catholic”
“Being Truly Catholic Today”
“The Works of Mercy”
“What It Means to Be Catholic”
“Our Holiest Week”
“Real Presence”
“Ten Top Reasons for Being Catholic”.
 
     
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