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August 1, 2012     

Gearing Up! What's New?

It’s that time of year—time to get in gear for the upcoming program year. While many parishes offer summer programs for children, youth, and adults, most formal catechetical efforts take place during the school year. Let’s look at some new and updated products to add some welcome energy and interest to your efforts.

'Come and See'
by Joan McKamey

The journey of initiation made by those wishing to join the Catholic Church is “an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life” (General Directory for Catechesis, no. 67, italics added). Catechumens and candidates learn not only from the teachings of Jesus and the Church, but also through the example of members of the parish.

Both discipleship and apprenticeship involve a stance of learning. Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus’ apostles as men who were slow to understand what Jesus meant by his teachings and predictions of his passion, death, and resurrection. Sometimes we too are slow to get it. Let’s face it: what Jesus taught and promised is pretty amazing—and impossible for us humans to fully grasp. Sometimes we need to be shown the way. Sometimes we need others to support us on the road of discipleship. Always we must be open to learning and growing in both faith and knowledge.

Those exploring membership in the Catholic Church need and deserve our guidance and support on their journeys of intiation. Often the witness of these adults inspires those who have been Catholic for years to reexamine our faith and how we’re living it.

Jesus called his first apostles with the invitation to “Come and see.” Our RCIA resource ‘Come and See’ (leader, participant) uses our trusted and award-winning Catholic Updates. If you haven’t seen ‘Come and See’ in a while, make sure to check out its new features: a sequence of session plans coordinated with Sunday readings for Cycles A, B, and C, a one-day retreat for the elect and candidates, a timeline, an interview checklist, a glossary of Catholic terms, and more!

Preparing to Vote
by Joan McKamey

It’s a presidential election year, a time for us to explore what we as Catholics believe and stand for and what we look for in our elected officials. How are we to know who the “right” candidate is? How do we choose who gets our vote? What issues must we consider when evaluating our options? 
Our Catholic faith must be considered when we make our voting choices. That means that we must know what the Church teaches on the issues. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has published Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility. In response, Franciscan Media has put together the Catholic Update Guide to Faithful Citizenshipa package of parish resources for sharing the message of the bishops’ document:

* The Voter’s Edition contains video segments directed to parishioners. Viewing these segments will help them better understand Church teaching and see how that can and should influence their votes. It doesn’t tell people how to vote, nor does it endorse any political party or candidate. View a sample here (Windows Media). The Voter’s Edition also contains reproducible handouts, a leader’s guide, and Bulletin Briefs to use in your parish communications.

* The Parish Leader’s Edition is geared for pastors, deacons, and other parish leaders, who may be charged with or prefer to present these topics themselves. It also contains a CD with a special edition of Homily Helps, designed to tie in one of the bishops’ seven key issues with the Sunday readings.

* The Prayer for Voters card offers a prayer on one side and a listing of the seven key themes of the bishops’ document on the other.
Two other Faithful Citizenship products include:

*Catholic Update: “Faithful Citizenship: A Matter of Conscience” (newsletter, also available in Spanish)

*Catholic Update Guide to Faithful Citizenship (book)

And be sure to check out the August issue of Catholic Update: “Why Catholics Care About Religious Liberty” by Helen M. Alvaré.

Offer your parishioners some non-partisan, Catholic guidance as they prepare to vote in the upcoming election.

Videos On Demand
by Angela Glassmeyer

As we head into another program year, I reflect on one of the new resources available to catechists and catechetical leaders. Last spring, we introduced Catholic Update On Demand—a video subscription service for parishes.

You can use this service even if you don’t have easy access to the Internet or video equipment at your parish setting. You can give access to the videos you choose to students, small-group participants, catechumens and candidates, and parents—to view from the comfort of their homes.

You, as the catechist or catechetical leader, choose the videos that go into the parish playlist. Others from the parish can register with a special code and get access to the video playlist you have chosen. They can then log in to watch the videos whenever and from wherever they have a computer with Internet access.
So, now you can ask parents to watch a video before coming to the sacramental prep meeting. Or, you can send them home from a meeting with homework to watch the video within the next week. If it’s a video for children, invite parents to view the program with their child and give them questions to discuss together. How nice to be able to incorporate videos into your faith formation—without the need to have a room with special access or equipment. And if your parish facilities are well-equipped with technology, Catholic Update On Demand will enhance your efforts in myriad ways.
Plus, the categorization and search functionality make it easy to find the videos you need. You can safely send families and parishioners to the site without concern that they’ll be exposed to inappropriate videos or ads.

For more information, to browse the videos currently available (more are added each week), or to sign up, visit

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.



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Faith Formation Update
is your bridge to a community of readers who share your passion for catechesis. For our part, we offer monthly encouragement, ideas, and resources to assist you in your catechetical ministry. We are honored to serve you in this e-newsletter and hope you find it useful. God bless you in your important ministry of sharing the Good News!

Angela Glassmeyer and Joan McKamey (Find out more about us by clicking here.)

We invite you to share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum; click here, or on the link at the end of each segment to leave your comments.
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