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Archdiocese of Miami 

Welcome to the Archdiocese of Miami's page for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute!

The Archdiocese of Miami has partnered with the Catechetical Institute in order to provide our parish staff and ministry leaders with authentically Catholic resources and formation.  The youth and young adult ministers,  RCIA teams, parish staff and other ministry leaders and parents of your parish or school will have unlimited access to the Catechetical Institute’s online workshops in the comfort of their own homes.

During our initial launch we will offer courses in the following areas of ministry: Youth Ministry, RCIA (both in English and Spanish) and Mentorship.  The Mentorship track is for those individuals who have been designated by their parish to serve as a mentor-please do not begin that track without prior approval.  During the next month we will be adding many more tracks, including one for parishioners who are not active in ministry but want to grow in their faith.

If you have any questions about the Catechetical Institute, please contact:

Rosemarie Banich

Director, Office of Evangelization and Parish Life

rbanich@theadom.org

Learning Tracks

First Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

“Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us” (CCC 2560). Jesus not only desires to have a relationship with youth, but with youth ministers as well.  In fact, God cares more about doing ministry to people than he cares about people doing ministry for others. This workshop focuses on God’s intense love for us, and places that personal relationship as the center for all our ministry.

What is good youth ministry in today’s Church? Every ministry to young people needs to have a clear mission and purpose, rooted in the larger mission of the Church, and needs to be able to identify clear values in the way that ministry is carried out. In this workshop, we look specifically at the essential components to a vibrant, effective approach to parish ministry for young people.

“So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils.” (Mark 3: 13-14) The theme of discipleship is strong in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' document called Renewing the Vision. This workshop looks at what discipleship entails and what it means to help teens be not just a follower of Christ, but a disciple of Christ. And through helping teens become disciples of Christ, we help them along this path of companionship with Christ both now and to eternity.

Methodology of Youth Ministry

“At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2). When the Second Person of the Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us, everything changed. He used to speak through others, now He comes to us personally. This model of “incarnational ministry” should be at the foundation of our efforts to reach teens. For ministry to be effective, it has to be intentionally and consistently relational. As St. John Bosco once wrote that it was important “not only that the (youth) be loved, but that they know they are loved.” We explore how to do that safely and effectively in the current culture.

The responsibility of passing on the faith to a young person begins first and foremost with his or her family, particularly the parents. St. John Paul II wrote that catechesis within the family has “a special character, which is in a sense irreplaceable” (Familiaris Consortio 68). Though the teenage years are often characterized as a time of rebellion from the family, the ‘National Study of Youth and Religion’ found that a young person is more likely than not to reflect the religiosity of his or her parents. Parents are the hinge-point of successfully and consistently reaching most teens. It is therefore essential that those in youth ministry understand their role is to provide support, empower, and partner with families.

Faith seeks understanding. Yet, understanding the social teachings of the Catholic Church is not enough. Teens need to be drawn into the apostolic life and mission of the Church, and be given tangible opportunities to experience that life at work. This workshop addresses the critical nature of outreach and service, and offers excellent resources for mobilizing teens for service and leadership. It also addresses the apostolic nature of the Church, and the great gift of priestly and religious vocations, helping youth ministers to understand how to draw young people into a greater awareness of that gift.

Doctrine

St. Francis de Sales once said, “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.” Who is God the Father? What does God the Father have to do with my life? How do I come to know the Father? God the Father is the First Person of the Trinity: the Alpha and the Omega. The Catechism of the Catholic Church begins and ends with the Father. The Son became Man in order to show us the Father and lead us into relationship with Him. This workshop teaches us about Who the Father is, and how we relate to Him as His children

He is the Alpha and the Omega.  He is in all, before all, through all.  The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St. Paul, “the mystery of Christ.” (CT 5)  Therefore everyone who teaches the Catholic faith must be immersed in this mystery.  Using Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as recent ecclesial documents, this workshop will present the key doctrines that must be taught concerning Jesus Christ.  By examining Jesus’ actions in Scripture, His relationships, and His ways of teaching, we will help catechists unlock the mysteries of Christ, His Incarnation, Redemption, and Second Coming.

 

The Church is the Body of Christ on Earth. The Church Christ founded is His continued history on Earth. The graces entrusted to Her make possible an explosion of sanctity in the human family. The revelation of truth entrusted to Her makes possible our secure return to the Father’s arms. The mission entrusted to Her engages all human endeavors, and transcends all human failings, so that God’s Spirit can go forth to fulfill Christ’s promise to “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). This workshop will explore God’s magnificent convocation of souls that we call the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Second Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

Successful Catholic youth ministry in the Third Millennium will depend upon helping every young person experience a vibrant and lasting conversion. In Catholic youth ministry, two models of conversion have been contrasted: a purely evangelistic approach or a more catechetical approach. Taken in isolation, each model falls short. This workshop describes the stages that adolescents normally experience in moving from evangelization to catechesis, enabling teens to move deeper into the Mystery of Christ, and find the safety, solace, and strength that only the Holy Spirit enables in each soul.

The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that catechists learn how to effectively engage the young mind and heart of each child, encourage each child to respect and love the things of the faith, and help each child discover the wonderful love of a gentle Father. This very basic workshop focuses on the most fundamental catechetical methodologies that will enable the catechist of children to facilitate intimacy with God and fidelity to the Church. Methods and techniques will be demonstrated that encourage children to grow in wonder and awe, as they deepen their love for God and His truths.

Methodology of Youth Ministry

“The heart of catechesis is the explicit proposal of Christ to the young man in the Gospel; it is a direct proposal to all young people in terms appropriate to young people, and with considered understanding of their problems,” (GDC 183). Jesus invited the rich young man to follow Him. In our ministry to young people, we also invite young people to follow Jesus and be His disciple. It is beneficial to develop a holistic view of adolescence in order to speak to the heart of a young person and lead them closer to the Lord. The goal of this workshop is to help parents, youth ministers, teachers, and those who minister to teens understand the development of teenagers in order to effectively minister to them.  

“Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 357). The dignity of the human person dwells in relationship. It resides first and foremost in our relationship with God, Who created us in His image and calls us always to Himself. It resides as well in our relationships with others, who share in our humanity. Each of our ministries within the Church, whatever form it may take, includes a call to relationship, and always a call to foster healthy and healing relationships. As we will learn in this workshop, certain communication skills underlie all healthy, healing relationships. Parish ministers are not therapists, but practicing these healthy ways of communicating encourages healthy relationships and can even foster healing amidst those they serve. Let us approach this workshop, then, ever mindful of the precious dignity of those our heavenly Father places in our path, and of the beautiful way in which each person we encounter holds within him or herself the astounding identity of being a child of God.

“Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same function: in the same way, all of us, though there are many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another” (Romans 12:5). We are not lone rangers, nor are we the lone Savior – we are one part of a Body in which interdependency is fundamental for our fidelity to God and success in serving others. This workshop looks at people who might work with us in ministry, as well as people for whom we are working: the Bishop, the pastor, and especially the parents.

Doctrine

The Blessed Trinity is the greatest of all mysteries: the One and Only God is a unity of Three Persons.  The Trinity is also our final home, the goal of our life.  This mystery, revealed in Jesus, sheds light on all other Christian mysteries.  And it is the revelation that sheds light on all other Christian mysteries.  Knowing that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is a unity of loving Persons, changes our understanding of everything.  Many religions believe in gods, some believe in one God, but nothing compares to the Christian belief in one God as a communion of Persons, named for us by Jesus as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Many curriculums include the Trinity as only one doctrine among many.  This workshop will help to show how to teach the centrality of the Trinity effectively, as the goal and fulfillment of the life of each Christian.

Pope Francis teaches us that, “Faith does not draw us away from the world or prove irrelevant to the concrete concerns of the men and women of our time. . . . Faith makes us appreciate the architecture of human relationships because it grasps their ultimate foundation and definitive destiny in God, in his love, and thus sheds light on the art of building; as such it becomes a service to the common good” (Encyclical Letter “On the Light of Faith,” Lumen fidei 51). In this workshop, we will be exploring how God wishes to form each and every one of us into the person He created us to be, through helping us love others and live for others, just as Christ Himself lived for us and loved us “to the end” (see John 13:1). Often misunderstood, the Church’s social teaching is not a partisan platform, an economic policy, or a political position, but rather an integral part of proclaiming and living the Good News of Jesus Christ. We will present the social doctrines in this context and demonstrate how this aspect of Church teaching can help evangelize, console, and lovingly challenge us, as well as those we seek to teach.

Foundational RCIA Certificate
The Vision for Christian Initiation

What is our purpose and goal as ministers in the Church in an RCIA process?  To make new Catholics?  To spread the Gospel?  To run a good process?  Our purpose and goal must transcend the “how” of RCIA and begin with the “why.”  The restoration of the catechumenal process is a reflection of the Church’s wisdom in going back to a tried and true practice in order to lovingly bring people into her fold.  It is a restoration of grace for those who are seeking Christ and his one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  This workshop inaugurates the necessary vision to develop excellent parish-based RCIA ministry, beginning with a call to trust the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in her discernment to gift the modern world with a way of Christian Initiation unparalleled in its beauty and power.  Only in the light of this trust and deep understanding of the RCIA process, as the Church intends it to be implemented, does the full purpose and potential of the initiation journey become clear and attainable.

It is into the great mystery of the Father’s saving love through Christ Jesus that all believers are called.  And it is this great mystery that all the institutions of the Church, each and every one of them, exist to serve. The RCIA has no other purpose than the service of the holy mystery, the saving sacrament, of Christ present and active in His living Body.  The renewal of the process of Christian initiation stands as one of the most important and successful features of modern liturgical renewal. Since its promulgation in 1972 and its further elaboration under the auspices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1988, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has been among the most pastorally effective features of Catholic life in the United States.  And yet all is not well. The very fact that the challenge is conversion, the conforming of imperfect men and women to Christ, means that the process will never be perfect. Initiation is, after all, the beginning of a process which has its ending in eternity. However, there are problems that are more concrete and, for that reason, can more readily be corrected. In general, three models of RCIA are operative today in most Catholic parishes using the Rite. Each of the models conceives of, and practices, Christian initiation differently. This workshop describes these models, discussing their strengths and weaknesses in terms of catechetical, liturgical, and pastoral dimensions.  The result is clarity on how best the RCIA can serve the great work of immersing participants into Catholicism through a process of learning and interiorizing the sacred Scriptures, doctrines, sacraments, prayers, moral traditions, spiritual readings and rich communal culture of the Catholic Church, in order to serve the Father’s provident love in calling each soul to the living Body of Christ on earth.

From the ancient Nicene Creed we proclaim that “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.” The mystery of the second Person of the Trinity is the God who comes to us to save, redeem, instruct, give us hope and lead us to our promised glory.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  We do not have a God who is distant, but a God who comes to us in the most intimate way.  We enter into the mystery of Christ through a living Word, transforming sacramental grace, evangelizing catechesis, and evangelical communities.  This workshop will explore how a rich understanding of the means by which souls enter into Christ’s life can be fostered in our approaches to ministry. “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us” to call each soul to God’s loving plan and sure hope in Christ. This talk describes the means to participate in that life.

Liturgical Aspect of Christian Initiation

This workshop will explore the necessary connection of catechesis to the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church in our work as catechists.  The liturgy comes from the “living memory” of the Church, that is, the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit working in the liturgy, the truths of the faith are passed on, like a special family memory, from generation to generation, to the present day.  Each time we participate in the liturgy we receive the treasure of the Deposit of Faith.  But the liturgy is more than a family heirloom – it is reality, the place in which “Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings” (CT 23).  As catechists, we have a call, the privilege of assuring that those we catechize understand and grow in appreciation for this encounter with God.  We bring others into God’s saving work in the liturgy so they too can become transformed by He who loves us fully.  We teach about the liturgy to pass on the magnificent inheritance of faith to the next generation, echoing the action of catechists from the centuries before us.

“. . . [T]he liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed;  it is also the fount from which all her power flows” (Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium 10).  The liturgy proclaims, celebrates, and actualizes the Father’s loving plan for His people.  The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), or catechumenal process, has three aspects: liturgical, catechetical, and pastoral, of which liturgical is prime. The Church has designed these aspects to promote deep, long-lasting conversion to Christ and a love for the Church.  This workshop will focus on the stages of the modern catechumenal process, which derives directly from the ancient order of catechumens, and the way liturgical graces build and crescendo through the four periods of the RCIA process to make possible the plan of goodness born in the Father’s heart for each believer.

Catechetical Aspect of Christian Initiation

“That which was from the beginning . . . that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you…” (1 John 1:1, 3). St. John Paul II proclaimed that, “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ . . .” (Catechesi tradendae 5). The work of catechesis is not just “education,” but “intimacy with Jesus Christ.” God wants to make Himself known, to communicate His own divine life to us and make us capable of responding to Him. God gradually “pulls back the veil” (See 2 Corinthians 3:14–16) by words and deeds, but especially in Jesus Christ, the Mediator and fullness of all Revelation. By His Revelation, God has answered all the questions of the human condition. God wants all to be saved, so He arranged that His Revelation remain in its entirety and be transmitted to all generations. This workshop focuses on the apostolic work of passing on the truths of the faith in an organic and systematic way. This is done to make disciples of Christ and to initiate them into the fullness of Christian life through an encounter with the communion of believers and with Christ the teacher. “‘The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 25).

This workshop explores adult catechesis within the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) baptismal catechumenate. Each period of the RCIA process has a distinctive catechetical objective in serving the Holy Spirit’s work of conversion, and so each period of the RCIA will have a different “feel” catechetically. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults itself gives us the guidelines for what participants need to know, and what we need to teach, thereby allowing the catechetical aspect of Christian initiation to become teaching in the service of leading others into the Father’s eternal embrace, a love beyond all telling

Knowing and understanding Scripture is essential in the life of a catechist. This workshop will explore how God’s Word, transmitted in Sacred Scripture, grounds and deepens our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. In Scripture, we see the sweeping Plan of God, the history of salvation unfolded. We hear His stunning and steadfast invitation to communion with Him. Sacred Scripture ought to permeate all forms of catechesis, as well as our personal lives as catechists. Through creating lesson plans saturated with the Scriptures, we foster a profound encounter with the Divine – love and challenge, wisdom and hope, forgiveness and mercy, and the means to know God and to know ourselves. By breaking open the Scriptures in each catechetical session, we unlock the mystery of Christ, revealing to those we teach the One they desire to know, fostering life-changing intimacy with God.

Pastoral Aspect of Christian Initiation

St. Thérèse of Lisieux joyfully exulted that, “‘If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE — IT'S ETERNAL!’” (quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 826, emphasis in the original). We know that this love is the golden thread that binds all we believe, this love which has God as its source and which we know as the theological virtue of charity. It is the love of God that gives us truth to speak in gentleness and clarity, and life-giving concern to reach out sacrificially to all those souls around us. It is the love that makes us adopted sons and daughters. It is our beginning and our gifted destiny. This workshop delves into the vital nature of the love of brethren — the virtue of charity that helps us to love God first and love our neighbors as ourselves — that is to be the mark of any community calling others to join Christ’s Body.

The pastoral aspect of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) signifies the means by which we form and accompany souls, person-to-person, to a deeper relationship with the Trinity through the Body of Christ. Many who do not stay with the Church after going through the RCIA process leave not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of care. The pastoral components are the people who participate, some intimately and others from a distance, in Jesus’ graced work of conversion and discipleship of souls. It is the surpassing calling of becoming a gift to other souls, and receiving others freely as a gift from the Lord. This workshop addresses how the pastoral aspect of the RCIA process leads us to be sacrificial witnesses — the Lord’s chosen means to authenticate faith and relationship with the Trinity, to support conversion in lives, and through God’s saving message draw all people into the loving embrace of the Father and His People.

Advanced RCIA Certificate, Part I
The Vision for Christian Initiation

“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb 1:1-2).  Revelation means to pull back the veil.  It is God’s method of manifesting a bit 
of Himself, allowing us time to absorb it and respond, before He shows a bit more; and the process repeats.  Because the work of catechesis is oriented towards conversion, the catechist needs to understand clearly how a person gets faith and grows in faith.  This workshop delves in the sacred pattern of God’s methodology – how He reaches out to us, and how He calls us and enables us to freely respond.

Liturgical Aspects of Christian Initiation

The goal of the Christian Initiation process is to bring souls into the Mystery of Christ and so share in His divine life. Intimacy with Jesus takes place above all in the Church’s liturgy, where He is present and the grace which flows from His saving work is made available to those who would receive it.  The road to initiation in all believers is singularly paschal in nature, and it is ultimately in the sacred liturgy that we experience and are reminded of all God’s blessings from creation to the cross to our recreation in sacramental grace.  God initiates and we respond, and will until Jesus comes again.  Insertion into this mystery of Christ, participation in the sacramental economy, requires us to live our lives as we were created, as liturgical people.  Our life is liturgy.  How we move others toward that same understanding requires creativity and humility and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the power of the liturgy so that they can in turn help those in the catechumenal process to encounter Christ. 

“The rite of Christian initiation . . . is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 1). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process by which men and women respond to the Lord’s movements in their lives and enter the Church. The RCIA Rite Book, also referred to as the RCIA Ritual Text, is the guiding light from the Magisterium for the entire RCIA process. In this workshop, we will learn about the origin and importance of this resource that is so integral to the process of the RCIA, as well as gain an overview of the major components of the RCIA Rite Book. It is vital that this liturgical document be understood by pastors, RCIA leaders, RCIA team members, and others involved in forming those who seek to enter Holy Mother Church. This text provides the liturgical prayers, major and minor rites, and the rubrics that are to be used during the RCIA process. It also provides essential pastoral and catechetical guidelines which aid a parish RCIA process to develop and operate as the Church intends, thereby properly serving the men and women in the RCIA process.

Catechetical Aspect of Christian Initiation

“The content of catechesis cannot be indifferently subjected to any method.” - General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) 149. Every good catechist seeks in some organized fashion to give growth to the seed of faith, to nourish hope, and to develop a deeper desire to love God and neighbor. In this workshop, we will explore a method that is highly suited to the goals of catechesis, and flows from a study of how the Church’s many catechetical saints sought to pass on the beauty, truth, and goodness of Christ’s saving revelation.

How do I know what to teach?  How do I know what is essential?  What can I not leave to chance that my students will get on their own?  Many catechists are never helped and trained to go beyond pre-written outlines.  They never discover how to take a piece of God’s revelation, a doctrine, and break it down in a way that answers these critical questions.  This workshop explores how to identify the premise, essentials, common misunderstandings, related doctrines, and foundational Scriptures for the truths all catechists are called to pass on, so that each catechist can develop teachings that flow from his or her own deep grasp of the saving truths.

 

This workshop will introduce participants to biblical catechesis through an ancient catechetical technique: the use of the Story of the Bible. The most important historical events of the Bible can be briefly described in one Story, connected by one common theme: union with God. The Story of the Bible portrays the drama of God’s love for every soul and the whole human race: how God created us to be united with Him in a relationship of love; how we lost union with God through the original sin; how Jesus re-united us with God in a relationship of love through His passion, death and Resurrection; and how the Holy Spirit fosters a continuing unfolding of those saving events in the life of Church, as the Lord’s Bride. Often in a catechetical setting we fall into the habit of teaching individual topics without reference to the greater context of salvation history. In order to draw others into the life of God and the Church we have to help them make this Story of the Bible their own. Everything that the Church teaches, her doctrines, disciplines, worship, and morality makes sense when delivered within the context of the Story of the Bible. The Story of the Bible tells us of our spiritual roots, our dignity, our destiny, and daily vocation to follow Jesus Christ, providing peace and authentic hope to those we seek to teach and evangelize.

 

Pastoral Aspect of Christian Initiation

"No methodology, no matter how well tested, can dispense with the person of the catechist in every phase of the catechetical process. The charism given to him by the Spirit, a solid spirituality and transparent witness of life, constitutes the soul of every method" (GDC 156). This workshop discusses the surpassing importance of the catechist as a witness and how to wisely and effectively incorporate witnessing into the work of formation. To the degree this understanding is poorly understood by catechists, is the degree to which their efforts will fall on deaf ears in our secular culture, as Pope St. Paul VI reminds us: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (EN 41).

The RCIA team is an essential element in an effective RCIA process, and is often the first real “Catholic community” many RCIA participants encounter. The members of a well-formed RCIA team play a fundamental role in fostering the Holy Spirit’s work of conversion through their personal witness to the practice of the faith and their commitment to entering into authentic relationships with those considering entering Holy Mother Church. They support and model and most of all they love. This workshop delves into how to find, form, and faithfully lead a team that can help create a strong environment for conversion.  There is also a follow-up workshop that goes even deeper into this critical pastoral element.

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thess 2:8). The role of sponsor or godparent in the RCIA process is intended by the Church to be a life-long task. It is a work of grace that is certainly challenging and demanding, but also extremely rewarding. The RCIA process calls for godparents and sponsors to be part of each participant’s journey into the Catholic Church. Who is appropriate for this role? How can you find and train them well? What does Canon Law require? Good sponsor/godparent choices can help the whole RCIA process become effectively attuned to each individual being served, while imprudent choices can affect everyone involved. Learn the keys to making this pastoral element decisive in the overall work of conversion.

Advanced RCIA Certificate, Part II
The Vision for Christian Initiation

RCIA is conceived of by Holy Mother Church as a collaborative work, under the leadership of our clerical shepherds. The ritual book specifically describes catechists and other members of the laity as individuals who “work with priests and deacons” (RCIA 7).  This phrase recognizes the mutual dependence of the clergy and laity upon each other; it does not offer an option for either clergy or laity to “go it alone.”  The most noticeable areas of collaboration described in the ritual book are in catechesis and discernment, extending, for example, from sponsors/godparents up to the bishop of the diocese in the chain of accountability that unfolds in the Rite of Election.  This workshop explores these complementary roles through the RCIA process.  Only when every role is fulfilled does the Christian initiation process properly accomplish its part in the exalted mission of evangelizing and initiating adults into the mystery of Christ and the communion of the Catholic Church.

Liturgical Aspect of Christian Initiation

[The catechumenate] is not a mere exposition of dogmatic truths and norms for morality, but a period of formation in the whole Christian life, an apprenticeship of sufficient duration, during which the disciples will be joined to Christ their teacher” (AG 14).  In the Church’s wisdom, this apprenticeship demands a careful process of mutual discernment that extends through the RCIA process and reaches specific points of inquiry as each of the major liturgical rites approach.  Participants need to be aided to examine and re-examine their genuine desire to become truly Christian adherents, truly the Lord’s, fully in the Church, and what that practically means in their lives.  For her part, the Church, as represented by the pastor and RCIA leadership, must also be certain that this decision is appropriately considered and not premature. This workshop examines the RCIA Rites Book’s specific assistance in this regard, offering clear guidance about how this discernment should proceed.

Catechetical Aspect of Christian Initiation

“From evangelization, completed with the help of God, come the faith and initial conversion that cause a person to feel called away from sin and drawn into the mystery of God’s love. The whole period of the precatechumenate is set aside for this evangelization, so that the genuine will to follow Christ and seek Baptism may mature” (RCIA 37).  Being first, this period of the RCIA process is critical, since so much must be built upon it in subsequent periods to serve the Holy Spirit’s work of conversion.  What does an effective precatechumenate consist of in consideration of the liturgical, catechetical, and pastoral aspects of the RCIA process?  This workshop explores the necessary elements that make this period a graced invitation to a love beyond all telling.

“The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope, or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love” (CCC 25).  This longest period of the RCIA process rests on the foundation of an effective precatechumenate.  This workshop unpacks the Church’s call in this period: to lead participants to the Catholic life of believing, hoping, and loving – a deep encounter with God’s radical generosity and mercy, found in the light of truth and the love of a community of faith.

Before RCIA participants receive the sacraments of initiation: “...the elect must have the intention of achieving an intimate knowledge of Christ and his Church, and they are expected particularly to progress in genuine self-knowledge through serious examination of their lives and true repentance” (RCIA 142).  This workshop provides the Church’s pattern for the period of immediate preparation prior to sacramental initiation.  This is not a period in which to teach new doctrines; it is a period for a new depth of encounter.  It is a time to inform and develop the life of prayer, the call to holiness, the sense of repentance, the yearning for healing graces, the anticipation of Jesus’ saving embrace in His sacraments.  With its unique liturgies and spiritual focus, this period is a time of retreat, making straight the way of Lord to come anew to hearts well prepared for His coming.

“The distinctive spirit and power of the period of postbaptismal catechesis or mystagogy derive from the new, personal experience of the sacraments and of the community” (RCIA 247). The time between Easter and Pentecost is spent in expanding the understanding and appreciation for the sacramental life – to stoke an authentic pursuit of sainthood in new Catholic hearts. In this period of the RCIA process, the deepest meaning of discipleship must be examined, leading to a greater trust, a firmer hope, a more generous love, and the call to mission – to give to others the treasure that has been so freely given.

Pastoral Aspect of Christian Initiation

How do we, as parish and as an RCIA team, prepare inquirers for the momentous commitment to become one of the Church’s own?  Apart from the sacraments of initiation, the first major liturgical gateway is the most significant one for both catechumens and candidates.  The ritual book emphatically states that the “Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens is of the utmost importance” because these individuals are, “assembling publicly for the first time [to] declare their intention to the Church and the Church in turn, carrying out its apostolic mission, accepts them as persons who intend to become its members” (RCIA 41).  Inquirers should not go through this Rite unless they have a desire to learn and live the Catholic way of life, and know the essence of what they are choosing.  For her part, the Church, as represented by the pastor and RCIA leadership, must also be certain that this decision is appropriate and not premature, that these inquirers intend to become Catholics. This workshop helps parishes to understand the careful pastoral work that leads to this place of decision.

As Lent approaches, so does a major liturgical gateway: the Rites of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion.  As the period preceding this gateway draws to a close, participants should “have undergone a conversion in mind and in action and to have developed a sufficient acquaintance with Christian teaching as well as a spirit of faith and charity” (RCIA 120).  RCIA participants should have become increasingly involved with the local community, which can wholeheartedly acclaim their readiness because it knows them.  This workshop unfolds the elements of pastoral care leading to a deepened conversion, mature discernment, and God-willing, an encounter with the apostolic shepherd of the diocese calling each soul forward to the sacraments of new life.

Of course, the story of the RCIA team and parish community’s role in the Christian initiation process does not stop after the candles of the Easter Vigil have been extinguished.  Each child who arrives in a family changes it forever, and these Catholics, who have become a “new creation” (Gal 6:15) in the Spirit, change the parish family into which they have been born or received.  From the decision to receive the sacraments of initiation through the first year as a Catholic there are many challenges. The role of the parish, the clergy, the RCIA team, the godparents and sponsors during this crucial time will be examined in this workshop. Special attention will be paid to stemming the tide of recidivism.

Certificado en RCIA en Español
Talleres

Este taller explicará el contenido del kerigma y la Buena Nueva, y en él, exploraremos diferentes formas de compartir las palabras y los hechos de Jesucristo con los demás. Seas padre o madre de familia, catequista o simplemente una persona interesada en aprender más, este taller te ayudará a aprender más acerca de lo que la Iglesia enseña. En esta jornada de fe en la que nos embarcaremos, podrás profundizar tu fe y tu vida de oración de tal forma que, al terminar, habrás podido entender la importancia de llevar la Buena Nueva a tu hogar, a tu escuela o a tu trabajo.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Dios es Santo, y llama a Su Pueblo hacia Su Presencia para que participe en Su vida de eterna felicidad: “Sean, pues, santos porque yo soy santo” (Biblia Latinoamericana (BL), Levítico 11:45; también ver 1 Pedro 1:15-16). El Concilio Vaticano II renovó la conciencia de la Iglesia sobre este llamado en su Constitución Dogmática sobre la Iglesia, Lumen Gentium: Capitulo Cinco, titulado “Universal Vocación a la Santidad en la Iglesia”. En este taller, le permitiremos a la Madre Iglesia enseñarnos acerca de este llamado, el cual impacta a cada uno de nosotros. Exploraremos los retos que implica nuestra respuesta a este llamado, y celebraremos las gracias que Dios nos da para nuestra santificación.

Este taller explora el elemento esencial en la misión de transmitir la fe: . Debido a que el contenido de la fe es una Persona, Cristo, la persona del catequista es fundamental. La vocación del catequista es la de ser testigo de la bondad de Cristo, de Su santo celo, de Su ejemplo — de ser como el Maestro. “. . . [C]ualquiera que sea su responsabilidad en la Iglesia, debe ser la de comunicar, a través de su enseñanza y su comportamiento, la doctrina y la vida de Jesús” (Juan Pablo II, Exhortación apostólica, La Catequesis en Nuestro Tiempo, Catechesi tradendae (CT) 6). Este llamado es a la vez tan gozoso y emocionante como al mismo tiempo dificil porque conlleva una gran responsabilidad. Se trata de una obra sobrenatural, más allá de nuestras capacidades naturales. “La catequesis . . . es por consiguiente una obra del Espíritu Santo, obra que sólo Él puede suscitar y alimentar en la Iglesia” (CT 72). Y se sostiene en ti. Este taller es un punto de partida que ofrece inspiración, visión y guía para animar a los catequistas en su esfuerzo por vivir su vocación privilegiada.

La Santísima Trinidad es el misterio más importante: el Único Dios es una unidad de Tres Personas. La Trinidad también es nuestra morada final, la meta de nuestra vida. Este misterio, revelado en Jesús, ilumina a todos los otros misterios cristianos. Y es la revelación que ilumina a todos los otros misterios cristianos. Saber que Dios, el Creador del cielo y de la tierra, es una unidad de Personas amorosas, cambia nuestro entendimiento de todo. Muchas religiones creen en un Dios, pero nada se compara a la creencia cristiana de un Dios que es una comunión de Personas, nombradas para nosotros por Jesús como Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo. Algunos planes de estudio incluyen a la Trinidad simplemente como una doctrina entre otras. Este taller nos ayudará a entender cómo enseñar eficazmente la centralidad de la Trinidad, como la meta y cima de la vida de cada cristiano.

El es el Alfa y la Omega. El está en todo, antes que todo y a través de todo. Usando una expresión muy familiar de San Pablo podemos decir que el objetivo esencial y primordial de la catequesis es “el misterio de Cristo” (ver Catechesi Tradendae, sobre la catequesis en nuestro tiempo (CT) 5). Por lo tanto, todo aquel que enseñe la fe Católica debe estar inmerso en este misterio. Utilizando las Escrituras y el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (CEC), al igual que recientes documentos eclesiásticos, este taller presentará las doctrinas claves que deben ser enseñadas respecto a Jesucristo. Al analizar la obra de Jesús en las Escrituras, Sus relaciones, y Su manera de enseñar, ayudaremos a los catequistas a descifrar los misterios de Cristo, su Encarnación, Redención y Segunda Venida.

De generación en generación, la Palabra de Dios ha sido transmitida como una joya preciosa. La Iglesia ha custodiado este Depósito de la Fe para que el mensaje salvífico de esperanza ilumine y llegue a todos los hombres. Ahora nos corresponde a nosotros. Es nuestro turno transmitir esta joya, intacta. Nos toca catequizar, continuando la cadena ininterrumpida de transmisión de la fe a lo largo de los siglos. El término catequesis deriva de dos palabras griegas que significan: “hacer eco”. Es un llamado a transmitir la totalidad de la fe en su plenitud salvadora. Este Depósito de la Fe queda resumido para nosotros en el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica. Veremos esta importante herramienta de enseñanza para la catequesis en este taller. De esta manera  descubriremos que nosotros también podemos transmitir el preciado depósito de la enseñanza cristiana de manera efectiva. Y al aprender como hacer esto, seremos parte en la exhortación de San Pablo, “Catequista, guarda el depósito”. 

La Iglesia es el Cuerpo de Cristo en la Tierra. La Iglesia que Cristo fundó es la continuación de Su historia en la Tierra. Las gracias confiadas a Ella hacen posible una explosión de santidad en la familia humana. La revelación de la verdad confiada a Ella hace posible nuestro regreso seguro a los brazos del Padre. La misión otorgada a Ella abarca toda actividad humana, y trasciende toda debilidad humana, a fin de que el Espíritu de Dios pueda continuar avanzando para cumplir la promesa de Cristo: “Yo hago nuevas todas las cosas” (Apocalipsis 21:5). Este taller explorará la gloriosa convocatoria de Dios a las almas que nosotros llamamos la Iglesia, que es una, santa, católica y apostólica.

La Virgen María tiene un papel único en la historia de la salvación. En este taller, haremos un recorrido por las Sagradas Escrituras y veremos cómo la misión de Jesucristo está íntimamente ligada a la fidelidad de su madre.  Viajaremos desde la Tierra Santa hasta Latinoamérica y escucharemos testimonios de como la Virgen acompaña a cada uno de sus hijos con cariño y cercanía, y como es para la Iglesia un modelo de fe y caridad.  Aprenderemos de la devoción a la Virgen María, que constituye una expresión especial de la confianza que ponemos en lo que Dios nos ha revelado y en el cumplimiento de sus promesas.  Al reconocer la importancia de esta devoción, nos comprometemos a compartirla con todos los que Dios ponga en nuestra vida para que el mundo pueda acercarse a Jesús por su madre.   

Mentor Formation
Foundational Workshops

St. Teresa of Calcutta stated that, “I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual.  I can only love one person at a time, just one, one, one. . . So you begin.  I began – I picked up one person.  Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand. . . The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community.  Just begin – one, one, one.”  All conversion is local.  Formation in the faith is always first and foremost God’s attentive presence to the individual.  From this principle arises the importance of mentorship, and for that guidance to be proximal and personal: a mentoring accompaniment.  This workshop encourages all those in any form of ministry to discover by experience the value of making the effort to be more personally available to people.

This workshop explores the most critical element in the graced work of passing on the faith – you. Because the content of the faith is a Person – the Person of Christ – the person of the catechist is pivotal for success. The vocation of the catechist is to be a witness of Christ’s goodness, of His zeal, of His ways, of Him – to be like the Master. “Whatever be the level of his responsibility in the Church, every catechist must constantly endeavor to transmit by his teaching and behavior the teaching and life of Jesus” (CT 6). This calling is both joyfully thrilling, and jarringly daunting. It is a supernatural work, beyond our natural capacities. “Catechesis . . . is consequently a work of the Holy Spirit, a work that He alone can initiate and sustain in the Church” (CT 72). And sustain in you. This foundational workshop offers inspiration, insight, and guidance to encourage catechists as they strive to live out their privileged vocation.

Mentorship is integral to ministry in the Catholic Church, as well as to life in the home. In ministry we are privileged to be able to participate in the Blessed Trinity’s divine and loving mentorship of every soul. In His gracious plan of salvation, God, our heavenly Father provides for us to receive all the guidance we need for our journey to Him, for our everlasting homecoming. Through the sending of His own Son and Spirit, He not only teaches us the Way to Him but also gives Himself to us to be our companion on this royal highway. The Church, the Body of His Son, formed by the Spirit, mothers and mentors us on this journey, and it is within this Body that each of us who are also called into ministry — whether as ordained members, as parents, or as lay catechists and pastoral associates — exercise a mentorship for those whom we serve. Our ministry, then, is a participation in His mentorship. Our ministry is one of the ways in which God makes this generous provision of mentorship for others.

An important part of being a mentor is getting to really know the person under your care. In this workshop, we explore various kinds of questions related to this work of discovery, and demonstrate which ones best accomplish the objective of authentically revealing that person’s thoughts and needs to productively and wisely build the mentoring relationship. Poor questions result in missed opportunities or weak rapport. Great questions truly serve to open up a soul and build strong mentorship. We especially emphasize the value of open-ended questions oriented toward drawing out a person’s life story.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Empathic listening makes a profound impact on mentoring relationships and in the mentor’s ability to influence effectively someone seeking guidance. When mentors ask good questions, they demonstrate a sincere interest in getting to know those in their care. Such questions orient the relationship towards more authentic sharing, and thereby allows the Holy Spirit to foster spiritual progress and genuine openness to God’s will. This workshop is intended to complement the workshop on asking good questions. Empathic listening is the counterpart skill that enables mentors to truly understand another person intellectually as well as emotionally. As well as addressing the meaning of empathy, we discuss how Jesus provides the superlative pattern for this service to souls. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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