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November 6, 2013     
photoexpress.com / Miroslav Beneda

Welcoming a New Church Year

With the First Sunday of Advent (12/1), we begin a new Church year. We'll help you with ideas for marking Advent and helping your community better understand the upcoming readings from the Gospel of Matthew.


Vision of the Gospel of Matthew
by Joan McKamey

Invite those participating in your adult initiation sessions (RCIA) to explore the Gospel of Matthew in preparation for the new Lectionary cycle that begins on 12/1. Father Michael Himes, professor in the theology department at Boston College, offers insights into each of the four Gospels in the video program Vision of the Gospels. These video presentations focus on how the ancient Christian communities that created the Gospels speak to the demands of discipleship today.
 
In The Gospel of Matthew (30 min.), Father Himes calls it “the Christian book of wisdom” and the Beatitudes “the new commandments.” But do we understand what they really mean? Father Himes sees them as experiments in living. This Gospel also tells us what it means to be Church—learning about being a community that excludes no one.

Share this video segment with participants in RCIA, lectors, and those doing Bible study. Then plan to do the same with the segments on the Gospels of Mark and Luke in future years. Bring out the Gospel of John segment for Lent and Easter.


Matthew for Parents and Small Groups
by Joan McKamey

FOR PARENTS

Bringing Home the Gospel—
The Year of Matthew: A Weekly Journal for Catholic Parents is designed for busy parents who want to share the faith with their family and reflect on their day-to-day spiritual journey. Each week, author Judith Dunlap offers a reflection based on the Sunday Gospel. These reflections will help you bring the word of God home, apply it to your life, and help you grow in your relationship with God as individuals and as parents.

“Family Response” questions or suggestions give you an opportunity to talk with your children about God and the things that are important to your family. There’s plenty of room for you to journal and record how the Gospel touches you or relates to something significant happening in your life. Dunlap includes an easy-to-understand overview of the Church liturgical year and a 10-year liturgical calendar.

 

Bringing Home the Gospel is a perfect gift for engaged couples, newly married couples, parents, and grandparents—anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of Scripture and live a gospel life. 


FOR SMALL GROUPS
 


Looking for a resource to offer to small Christian communities? Gathered in His Name for Small Faith Communities (leader’s guide, participant manual) by Margo Doten may be just the thing.

 

Small faith communities seeking a unique resource for fostering community, growing spiritually, and better understanding distinctly Catholic experiences will find what they’re looking for in Gathered in His Name. Six-session guides for small groups inform as well as encourage Catholics to embrace their faith and its rich tradition. Each session guide consists of a historical context, spiritual exercises, and suggestions for small groups to interact and grow together.

 

The leader’s guide contains all the resource material and information needed to run the following six-session small group meetings:

  • Making Connections—tools for getting your small group started
  • The Gospel of Matthew
  • Great Twentieth-Century Catholics
  • The Spirit of Vatican II
  • The Gospel of Mark
  • The Old Testament
  • The Sacraments
  • Lent and Easter


Advent with Family
by Angela Glassmeyer

Have you ever heard of Bambinelli Sunday? I hadn't either, until a book from Amy Welborn came across my desk. It is a most delightful story about a boy named Alessandro, who not only learns what Bambinelli Sunday is, but also learns wider lessons about family, faith, and love. This is a great book for an elementary-level classroom in Advent.

If you're looking for a gift for the families in your parish or school, check out A Catholic Family Advent. Its colorful pages are a daily treat for families who use it during Advent to help prepare them for Christmas. It's a convenient size and price for purchasing in bulk and giving to the families in your parish. (If your budget is an issue, you could always ask for a small donation.)


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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