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July 08, 2009
Using Summer as a Time to Re-create
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.”

The recession, the smaller staffs, the stress of too much to do with too little resources and time can leave even a catechist overwhelmed. Summer is always the time to rejuvenate. This month we will offer a little holy help in that direction.
—Jeanne Hunt
“Be Still”
In days gone by, summer was the classic time to slow down and rest. However, the culture has subtly changed that attitude. It is business as usual in so many aspects of our lives. We need to be purposeful if we intend to find any R&R. The family has sports tournaments, parish feasts and festivals to work, summer conferences and many other must-attend events that create a full schedule. If we want to restore our spirits we must get out that red pen and deliberately mark off the time to seek God, rest our body and soul, and even “be still and know that I am God.” If we presume that there will be time for care of the soul, it will never happen. This is the moment to put aside some time before the school bells of late August begin to ring, to spend a day at a retreat center, a weekend away or even a full-blown week at the beach may be the cure for our weary sprits.
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Oh, You Beautiful Doll!
Women make up about 78% of the parish-volunteer-catechist as well as professional staff. Well-rested catechists and DREs are an endangered species. In the six weeks before we return to active duty in the classroom, I offer you a wonderful spiritual makeover for women: Choosing Beauty by Gina Loeher. The author speaks and writes on the topic of women’s spirituality, and her book affirms that she has walked in the shoes of a busy woman. She offers a 30-day retreat for women that kicks off a beauty routine beginning with the work of the soul. She believes that beauty is an inside job. Choosing Beauty guides us through daily exercises that deal with a change of heart. We learn to seek a purer heart that brings a refreshing inner light which radiates God’s beauty to the world. If you get this book today, by August you will be a new creation! However, there is strength in numbers, and Gina’s book is the perfect resource for an early-morning coffee klatch with four good friends. In whatever way you use this book, it promises to be that wrinkle cream without price that can turn a prune back into a plum.
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Relax With an Audiobook and a Movie or Two
If your summer reading list contains only the latest best-selling novels, add balance with a short spiritual audiobook. Father Robert Barron’s Eucharist is a four-hour exploration of the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11). In the introduction, Father Barron says, “The Eucharist is not a luxury, but a necessity, for without it, we would, in a spiritual sense, starve to death.” I’ve selected a short clip from the audiobook Eucharist to share with you.
Father Barron uses contemporary examples as he explores three major themes: meal, sacrifice and real presence. He makes frequent references to the movie Babette’s Feast. How long has it been since you saw this spiritual classic? I’m looking forward to viewing it with new eyes as a result of listening to Father Barron’s insights. As you listen to the audiobook and view Babette’s Feast, consider ways to integrate this material into an adult faith-formation offering or a first Eucharist parent meeting.
If you’re looking for other movies to use for reflection and discussion on topics and life issues that challenge adult Catholics, go to our catalog and look under Every Day Catholic. Here you’ll find the suggested group process for each of the Every Day Catholic issues since January 2008. Every Day Catholic, a four-page publication for small-group or individual adult faith formation, contains a “Movie Moments” column featuring a film that relates to each issue’s theme. Two clips from the movie are suggested for viewing, and questions are offered for those who view just those clips or the entire movie. Watch some of these movies this summer and order Every Day Catholic—as a monthly subscription or by topic—to share with adults in your community.
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Leaving Home With Spiritual Essentials
It’s time to pack up that young adult and send him or her off to college, the first apartment, to the armed services or anywhere life takes them. Parents may be looking forward to that empty bedroom becoming a new office, and shouldn’t feel the least-bit guilty.
However, to ease any feelings you might be feeling and to fulfill your parental duty, flip a few extra items with the moving supplies: Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit: A Young Catholic’s Search for Meaning, by Mark Hart; I Choose God: Stories From Young Catholics, by Chris Cuddy and Peter Eriksen; and, for good measure, you might throw in a year’s subscription to St. Anthony Messenger magazine. Just in case she or he has a little time to connect electronically with the faith, you might write a little goodbye note indicating with our family of Web sites: (with its “Saint of the Day,” “Minute Meditations” and “Daily Catholic Question” features, among others),,,, ,, for gift ideas, and, to send a card home, Hmmm...if you wonder if your little boy or girl will keep the faith while away from home, throw in your prayers as well!
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