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Diocese of Allentown

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Foundational Catechist Certification
Core Workshops

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.

Mother Church insists that catechesis that truly evangelizes hearts, and that meets souls in the place of greatest need, must be unshakably centered upon Him who is our beginning and our end – Jesus Christ.  We teach Jesus, and everything we teach, we teach in reference to Him, thus teaching Christo-centrically.  Come explore how to unfold the life-giving truths of our faith with Jesus placed clearly at the center of all things: our teaching content, our teaching methods, and our own personal witness to others whom God has called us to love.

Throughout the generations, the Word of God has been handed on as a precious jewel. The Church has guarded this Deposit of Faith so that the saving message of hope might shine out for all to see. Now it is up to us. It is our turn to hand on this jewel, unscathed. It is up to us to catechize, continuing the unbroken chain of passing on the faith throughout the ages. The term catechesis comes from two Greek words meaning, “to echo down,” reflecting the call to us to “echo down,” to hand on, the whole of the faith in its saving fullness. This Deposit of Faith is summed up for our times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will look at this important teaching tool for catechesis in this workshop, to discover how we, too, can effectively pass on the precious deposit of Christian teaching. And in learning how to do this, we are able to insert our own name into St. Paul’s exhortation, “O catechist, guard what has been entrusted to you.”

 

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.

 

“The content of catechesis cannot be indifferently subjected to any method” (General Directory for Catechesis 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.

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.

The General Directory of Catechesis says that, “Catechesis for adults, since it deals with persons who are capable of an adherence that is fully responsible, must be considered the chief form of catechesis” (GDC 59).  Is this what most adult Catholics understand?  Do most parishes orient sufficient resources to this endeavor?  Do the methods employed in parishes reflect the best possible principles for adult learning, which differ from methodology employed for children and adolescents?  This workshop will explore techniques to evangelize, catechize, and form faith in adults most effectively, given that the principle places of adult formation are in the family and in the parish.

This workshop sharpens a few of your philosophical tools for teaching the faith. Philosophy, far from putting our lessons out of reach of our audience, actually appeals to the reason of those we teach; it helps us explain doctrine so that it “makes sense,” rather than just falling back on, “because I said so.” This workshop will provide examples of philosophically approaching the faith by exploring both a Catholic and a secular worldview, as well as what these two approaches mean for the human person, ultimately helping us prepare our learners to answer Jesus’ crucial question to His apostles and to each one of us, “Who do you say that I am?”           

 

In order to pass on the truths of Faith in season and out, the catechist must be securely grounded in Christ. This workshop will consider the richness of the Catholic spiritual life as it pertains specifically to the life of the catechist. Prayer is not the “last ditch effort” of defense for us as catechists, but our first line of defense - the wings on which every effort should soar. Our society often has trouble recognizing that the invisible spiritual realities are in fact “more real,” and certainly more lasting, than the physical realities we touch, see, hear, and experience daily. A review of the spiritual tools of the trade is thus appropriate to help us as catechists joyfully incorporate prayer as our first, middle, and last act of the day, and of the teaching session, creating an environment for catechesis that is permeated by prayer.

 

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.  Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 27). The basic proclamation of the Good News of Jesus’ saving life, death and Resurrection, known as the kerygma, is about giving the gift of belonging  the call to a life within a Love beyond all telling. This workshop lays out the essential elements of this most important story, enabling those who teach, share, and witness to more effectively unfold its surpassing beauty to other souls. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

While “Parish Catechetical Leader” can mean virtually anything in a given parish, there are  specific skills that are particularly best suited for the people who serve in these eclectic positions. This workshop discusses those skills and traits in detail and examines some of the major themes, underlying principles and recurring patterns found in the lives of successful leaders who serve under pastors. May we be inspired to seek the harder road in the privileged vocation of leadership in God’s Church, so that He may be glorified and many souls lifted up. As St. Catherine of Siena in the voice of our Lord said: “I have set you as workers in your own and your neighbor’s souls, and in the mystic Body of holy Church.  Take your tears and your sweat, drawn from the fountain of My Divine love, and with them wash the face of My spouse the Church. I promise you, that by this means, her beauty will be restored to her.”

Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17).  Imagine Jesus facing you, and speaking to you these words, with no distractions, no doubts of His reality, identity or knowledge. Imagine facing Him with no loss of memory on your part about your whole past, nothing less than your whole future to offer, no misinterpretation of the profoundness of the question, Do you love me? A breathtaking question. Conversion is about finding what you are seeking in the deepest part of yourself, and finding it superabundantly.  The result of true conversion is a rare combination: peace of soul and zeal of heart. This workshop explores how to support this work of the Holy Spirit, so that all catechesis is focused on conversion to Christ and to His Church, and continuing conversion becomes the norm for each Christian life.

The work of evangelization, of sharing the Gospel message with others, is vitally important, because the love at the heart of the Gospel is intended for every one of us — educators and students alike. The Gospel will meet every human longing, the Gospel can penetrate any culture, any community, and the Gospel is forever personal — Lover to beloved. Creating an environment within the Catholic school or parish classroom in which students are evangelized, transformed by the love of the Gospel, and led into discipleship of Christ is made possible first and foremost by the faithful witness of the educator. By us as teachers first being evangelized and seeking to grow in our relationship with Jesus, we transform our classroom and aid students in using their unique, God-given traits and talents to grow in holiness. This workshop will encourage us to see every moment as an evangelizing moment for the teacher as well as the students, and prompt us, as Catholic educators, to take seriously our own commitment to the teachings of the Catholic faith and our continual conversion to Christ.

Advanced Catechist Certification, Part I
Core Workshops

This workshop, designed for Parish Catechetical Leaders seeking to plan for and implement successful parish faith formation programs, discusses how the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults’ (RCIA) baptismal catechumenate format actually serves as a helpful model for doing so. This may be surprising, but the format of the RCIA baptismal catechumenate is actually modeled by Jesus in His encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35), and since then has been followed by the Church to form disciples. The presenter precedes this teaching on the RCIA baptismal catechumenate with the 1997 General Directory for Catechesis’ (GDC) key conditions that need to be present in the parish before beginning and concludes with ways to assess faith formation programs. Let's explore this method of applying the RCIA baptismal catechumenate to our parish formation programs in order to best foster conversion and form disciples of our Lord Jesus, to make saints!

Christ our Lord had wonderful times with his apostolic band – “You are my friends” (John 15:13) – and tough times as well – “How much longer must I be among you and put up with you!” (Luke 9:41). The volunteer catechists we have the privilege of serving alongside of and leading in ministry merit our best efforts in training and equipping them for the ministry to which they are called. This highly practical pair of workshops examines the type of person who volunteers to be a catechist, reasons for volunteering, where to find volunteer catechists, screening prospects, the dynamics of working together in a parish program, addressing problem situations which may arise among or with catechists. We offers specific practical strategies for forming and training catechists in four critical areas: human, spiritual, doctrinal and apostolic. The aim of this pair of workshops is to place integral formation of people at the top of the list of priorities of a parish catechetical leader, to make possible a successful sharing of outreach to any age in every parish.

Christ our Lord had wonderful times with his apostolic band – “You are my friends” (John 15:14) – and tough times as well – “How much longer must I be among you and put up with you!” (Luke 9:41).  The volunteer catechists we have the privilege of serving alongside of and leading in ministry merit our best efforts in training and equipping them for the ministry to which they are called. This highly practical pair of workshops examines the type of person who volunteers to be a catechist, reasons for volunteering, where to find volunteer catechists, screening prospects, the dynamics of working together in a parish program, addressing problem situations which may arise among or with catechists. We offer specific practical strategies for forming and training catechists in four critical areas: human, spiritual, doctrinal and apostolic. The aim of this pair of workshops is to place integral formation of people at the top of the list of priorities of a parish catechetical leader, to make possible a successful sharing of outreach to any age in every parish.

Mother Church, in Her wisdom, tells us that “. . . the entire community must help the candidates and the catechumens throughout the process of initiation” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 9). The RCIA team is an essential element in an effective RCIA process, because the RCIA team represents the Christian community 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 faith and their commitment to fostering authentic relationships with those considering entering holy Mother Church. They support those in the RCIA process and accompany them on their journey of faith, modeling for them what the life of a Christian looks like. Most importantly, the RCIA team loves those who are in the RCIA process. This workshop delves into how to find, form, and faithfully lead a team that can help create a strong environment for conversion.

In his Apostolic Exhortation “On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World,” Evangelii gaudium, Pope Francis reminds us that: “. . . the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness” (88). As parish catechetical leaders, we are encountering others — our pastor, fellow staff members, catechists, parishioners, and so on — on a day-to-day basis, whether in person, through email, or over the phone. So much interaction is not without its challenges, and it takes work, as well as great trust in our Lord, to maintain healthy and flourishing relationships in the parish setting. This workshop will explore common challenges we face as parish catechetical leaders, ways by which to grow in virtue as the servant leaders we are called to be, and help us grow in our appreciation for those we work with in our ministry.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul . . . the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes . . .” (Psalm 19:7–8). The Lord’s law revives our souls, causes our hearts to rejoice, and enlightens our eyes, because when we obey His commands, we live in the freedom that God intends for us. As Parish Catechetical Leaders, we can live in the freedom of God's commands by being attentive to potential legal issues that might arise during the course of our ministry and developing proactive approaches to attend to those issues. Amidst our responsibilities for program development, implementation, and evaluation, as well as many other facets of faith formation, we must remember that the safety and care of the parish’s children, teens, and adults is paramount, as is the welfare of those we lead. This workshop offers an overview of potential legal issues, practical tips and suggestions for anticipating and avoiding them, and recommends two valuable resources for Parish Catechetical Leaders to guide us in navigating potential legal issues.

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Our mission in all of our religious education endeavors within the parish is to proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and to lead others into a relationship with the Trinity. Within this central call, as parish catechetical leaders, we are responsible for developing, directing, and implementing a successful parish formation program. This workshop will discuss the policies and procedures needed to help our programs run effectively and protect the children, teens, catechists, and families we serve, as well as ourselves. This workshop will also help us develop professionalism in our ministries in order to better serve the individuals entrusted to us.

“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” (Hebrews 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.

This workshop examines the place of the sacraments within God’s magnificent plan of love. More than simply Catholic rituals, the sacraments are God’s chosen channels of supernatural life, His plan for doing even more than saving us. “‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’  ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 460).  This workshop will explore this extraordinary truth, and the provision of God to grace His adopted sons and daughters for a life far beyond their own natural capacity.

In our calling to guide souls in their relationship with the Blessed Trinity, we have the assistance of a powerful tool: the religion textbook! Religion textbooks play an undeniably important role in the Church’s mandate to foster a faith that is “living, conscious, and active” (see the General Catechetical Directory (GCD) 17). This workshop explores the purpose and best use of textbooks within catechesis, and assists participants in developing criteria for textbook selection while examining various materials currently in use for schools and parish programs. Ways to include the parents or caregivers, who are the “primary educators” (see General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) 226–227) of children, will be explored. We will also be challenging the dominance of the textbook in religious education, and the need to develop formation approaches that prioritize the person of the catechist above all: “The work of the catechist must be considered of greater importance than the selection of texts and other tools” (GCD 71).

Called to Him.  Kept in Him.  Made new in Him.  God’s generosity and His fatherly love for His young daughters and sons are strikingly evident in the gift of these two sacraments to those newly arrived at the age of reason.  This workshop unfolds the Church’s guidance for parents and parishes in preparing souls for Confession and Communion.  By considering the role of both the home and the parochial settings, a balanced and effective formation can be achieved.  This pragmatic workshop also addresses common struggles and cultural issues that Catholic communities face in developing responsible and robust approaches to helping young souls be open to grace.

Effectively Confirming.  What the bishop gives sacramentally is always efficacious.  How do we support our confirmands and their families in this deeply challenging modern culture so that what we give in our parishes and schools catechetically is also reliably effective?  How do we not only provide a program, but also a conversion process, so that participants do not experience the catechesis we give as a series of required hoops to jump through, but revelatory hope?  This workshop aims to explore some practical strategies that apply to this and other parish ministries.  It includes insights from Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium, as well as examines current trends relating to the age of Confirmation and the ordering of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

Advanced Catechist Certification, Part II
Core Workshops

“The Word of God became man, a concrete man, in space and time and rooted in a specific culture . . .” (General Directory for Catechesis 109). Jesus provides for us the example of living in a particular culture and engaging the good things of the culture to aid individuals in the process of conversion, and rejecting those things in a culture which hinder conversion. Each of us finds ourselves living and interacting within a variety of cultures — family culture, workplace culture, modern culture, and so on — each of which possess certain aids and barriers to our continual turning from sin and turning toward God. This workshop will guide us in thinking about some of the obstacles to conversion present in our current culture, as well as some of the true, good, and beautiful gifts our culture has to offer. We will explore Mother Church's vision for engaging the good things our culture has to offer in a way that fosters love for the Good News of the Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and others.

The ministry of catechesis and the ministry of spiritual formation are ordinarily somewhat separate in people’s understanding. Yet in the Church’s mind, they relate naturally and necessarily. In the General Directory for Catechesis we read, “Truly, to help a person to encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God. . . . The catechist is essentially a mediator. He facilitates communication between the people and the mystery of God, between subjects amongst themselves, as well as with the community” (139, 156). This workshop explores what it means to be guided — an intentional docility and trust in the Church's ability to lead us to spiritual growth, to peace with God, to sanctity. Building upon this, we then examine the fundamentals of what it means for you to guide another soul in a catechetical context, so that you can more intentionally seek to be all that the catechetical vocation is graced to become. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

We are greatly blessed by the leadership God gives us through the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium.  Significant documents have been written which provide much needed inspiration and guidance for catechists.  In this workshop we will consider the mind and heart of the Church through her key documents that govern the catechetical endeavor.  We will consider the underlying themes and their application in parish and school settings, as well as their meaning for the training, growth, and development of catechists.

 

We are greatly blessed by the leadership God gives us through the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium. Significant documents have been written which provide much needed inspiration and guidance for catechists. In this second part of this topic area, we will continue to consider the mind and heart of Mother Church through Her key documents that govern the catechetical endeavor. We will consider the underlying themes and their application in various catechetical settings, as well as their meaning for the training, growth, and development of catechists.

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.

 

Increasingly our communities, and the parishes that serve them, are a mosaic of ethnicities and languages.  St. John Paul II noted that, “the power of the Gospel everywhere transforms and regenerates. When that power enters into a culture, it is no surprise that it rectifies many of its elements.  There would be no catechesis if it were the Gospel that had to change when it came into contact with the cultures.  To forget this would simply amount to what St. Paul very forcefully calls “emptying the cross of Christ of its power.”  It is a different matter to take, with wise discernment, certain elements, religious or otherwise, that form part of the cultural heritage of a human group and use them to help its members to understand better the whole of the Christian mystery” (CT 53).  This workshop addresses the challenges and opportunities of the Church’s work of inculturation, specifically focusing on situations where parish communities are serving souls from a diversity of backgrounds and cultural experiences.

 

In his homily at the Jubilee of the Disabled, St. John Paul II beautifully stated: “How eloquent are your words for us . . . Lord of life and hope! Every human limitation is ransomed and redeemed in you. Thanks to you, disability is not the last word on life. Love is the last word; it is your love that gives meaning to life” (December 3, 2020). We also heard from St. John Paul II that “. . . the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right” that needs to be available to all people, and this includes persons with disabilities (Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae 14). This workshop will introduce the catechist to the Church’s teaching concerning catechesis for persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, and include practical assistance for catechists working with various special needs situations. This workshop will also help raise awareness among those involved in parish work of the many resources and sources of aid that exist to serve children and adults with these conditions.

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.

St. John Paul II stated that adult catechesis is “the principal form of catechesis, because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form” (Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae 43). During His public ministry, Jesus invited men and women to follow Him and be His disciples. Through adult catechesis, we invite men and women to be Jesus’ disciples, and we accompany them on their journey of faith, so that they may come to believe more firmly, hope more ardently, and love more perfectly. This workshop offers practical insights on how to disciple adults, the need for pastoral accompaniment, and how to identify and sensitively address the needs that exist in every community.

St. John Paul II tells us that, “Family catechesis . . . precedes, accompanies and enriches all other forms of catechesis” (Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae 68). These words challenge us to examine our thinking about how to pass on the Catholic faith within the parish or school we serve, and specifically to look at how to encourage the formation of the entire family.  In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read, “The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom” (2207). This workshop examines the primacy of the family in religious education and the importance of assisting families in their formation, so that together the parish or school community and families can work to bring about the well-formed and beautiful soul of each member.

 

The General Directory for Catechesis teaches that, “. . . the baptismal catechumenate . . . is the model of [the Church’s] catechizing activity” (90). We might wonder why Mother Church urges those who teach the faith to see the catechumenate (the RCIA process) as a model for all forms of catechesis. Mother Church urges this, because at the heart of the catechumenal process is a process of conversion. This workshop makes clear that the catechumenal process is slow and in stages. It also helps us understand that the catechumenal process is a progressive process, meaning it deepens with each step, so that individuals are brought into deeper communion with the Blessed Trinity and the Church. This workshop also offers guidance on how all forms of catechesis can follow the model of the baptismal catechumenate.

“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 . . .” (Apostolic Exhortation "On Catechesis in Our Time," 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)

Catholic School Certification
Core Workshops

A Catholic school has the mission to be a communion of persons that seeks to give a sacred gift. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone summarized our Catholic vision in this way: “In Catholic schools we teach virtue and truth, and we hold out holiness as the Christian vocation of all students. The core mission of the Catholic Church is to provide an integrated education to young men and women, that is, knowledge and virtue combined. The connections between the two are provided by Catholic practice and teachings. We believe this is the formula for forming outstanding disciples of Jesus Christ” (Address to San Francisco Catholic High School Teachers Convocation, February 6, 2015).  This workshop aims to develop an understanding of this mission in light of the critical role of each teacher, since, “The nobility of the task to which teachers are called demands that, in imitation of Christ, the only Teacher, they reveal the Christian message not only by word but also by every gesture of their behavior. This is what makes the difference between a school whose education is permeated by the Christian spirit and one in which religion is only regarded as an academic subject like any other” (The Catholic School, Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education 43).

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.  Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 27). The basic proclamation of the Good News of Jesus’ saving life, death and Resurrection, known as the kerygma, is about giving the gift of belonging  the call to a life within a Love beyond all telling. This workshop lays out the essential elements of this most important story, enabling those who teach, share, and witness to more effectively unfold its surpassing beauty to other souls. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Mother Church insists that catechesis that truly evangelizes hearts, and that meets souls in the place of greatest need, must be unshakably centered upon Him who is our beginning and our end – Jesus Christ.  We teach Jesus, and everything we teach, we teach in reference to Him, thus teaching Christo-centrically.  Come explore how to unfold the life-giving truths of our faith with Jesus placed clearly at the center of all things: our teaching content, our teaching methods, and our own personal witness to others whom God has called us to love.

Throughout the generations, the Word of God has been handed on as a precious jewel. The Church has guarded this Deposit of Faith so that the saving message of hope might shine out for all to see. Now it is up to us. It is our turn to hand on this jewel, unscathed. It is up to us to catechize, continuing the unbroken chain of passing on the faith throughout the ages. The term catechesis comes from two Greek words meaning, “to echo down,” reflecting the call to us to “echo down,” to hand on, the whole of the faith in its saving fullness. This Deposit of Faith is summed up for our times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will look at this important teaching tool for catechesis in this workshop, to discover how we, too, can effectively pass on the precious deposit of Christian teaching. And in learning how to do this, we are able to insert our own name into St. Paul’s exhortation, “O catechist, guard what has been entrusted to you.”

 

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.

 

“The content of catechesis cannot be indifferently subjected to any method” (General Directory for Catechesis 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.

St. John Bosco once said, probably on one of his hard days while shepherding his sea of teenage boys, that, “sometimes children just need to be loud!” But how do you balance necessary discipline and the need for a loving Christian tone? Joy and just punishment. Gentleness and good focus? This workshop addresses the challenge unique to the teacher of the faith – how to ensure that a loving Christian environment exists as a good witness to younger disciples without compromising effective and efficient means of discipline. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illumined by the light of faith, and having its own unique characteristics. . . . In a Catholic school, everyone should be aware of the living presence of Jesus the ‘Master’ who, today as always, is with us in our journey through life as the one genuine ‘Teacher,’ the perfect Man in whom all human values find their fullest perfection” (“The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School: Guidelines for Reflection and Renewal” 25). The beauty of a Catholic school comes from its mission, because it shares in the mission of the Church to create disciples of all nations. The Catholic school has a unique ability to help students and staff in their process of ongoing conversion, a continual turning toward our Lord and His ways, because the Catholic school can lead others into a deeper relationship with the Blessed Trinity. This workshop explores key elements of an environment that fosters conversion in a Catholic school, giving highest attention to the formation of the educators, pastoral staff, and leadership, who bear witness to and bring to life all that the Catholic school has been created to foster. 

“The Word of God became man, a concrete man, in space and time and rooted in a specific culture . . .” (General Directory for Catechesis 109). Jesus provides for us the example of living in a particular culture and engaging the good things of the culture to aid individuals in the process of conversion, and rejecting those things in a culture which hinder conversion. Each of us finds ourselves living and interacting within a variety of cultures — family culture, workplace culture, modern culture, and so on — each of which possess certain aids and barriers to our continual turning from sin and turning toward God. This workshop will guide us in thinking about some of the obstacles to conversion present in our current culture, as well as some of the true, good, and beautiful gifts our culture has to offer. We will explore Mother Church's vision for engaging the good things our culture has to offer in a way that fosters love for the Good News of the Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and others.

The work of evangelization, of sharing the Gospel message with others, is vitally important, because the love at the heart of the Gospel is intended for every one of us — educators and students alike. The Gospel will meet every human longing, the Gospel can penetrate any culture, any community, and the Gospel is forever personal — Lover to beloved. Creating an environment within the Catholic school or parish classroom in which students are evangelized, transformed by the love of the Gospel, and led into discipleship of Christ is made possible first and foremost by the faithful witness of the educator. By us as teachers first being evangelized and seeking to grow in our relationship with Jesus, we transform our classroom and aid students in using their unique, God-given traits and talents to grow in holiness. This workshop will encourage us to see every moment as an evangelizing moment for the teacher as well as the students, and prompt us, as Catholic educators, to take seriously our own commitment to the teachings of the Catholic faith and our continual conversion to Christ.

Catholic School Foundational Theology Certification
Core Workshops

Who am I? What is my nature? What has God created me for? Who has God created me for? The answers to these questions affect not only how I think about myself, but also how I think about those whom I catechize and how I encourage each of those whom I have the privilege of teaching to think about themselves. In this workshop we contemplate the unique answers that the Christian faith gives to these questions, answers that highlight the incredible dignity of every person. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Flowing from the workshop called, “The Human Person,” this workshop addresses three of the major components of the human person and their relevance to the unfolding of God’s plan of loving kindness: 1) our creation in the image of God and His call to transformation by grace into His likeness; 2) our creation as male and female; and 3) the unity of body and soul in the human person. As we learn from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “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 that no other creature can give in his stead.” (CCC 357)  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

St. John Paul II reminds us that, “According to Christian faith and the Church's teaching, ‘only the freedom which submits to the Truth leads the human person to his true good. The good of the person is to be in the Truth and to do the Truth’” (Encyclical Letter, “The Splendor of Truth,” Veritatis splendor 84). In this workshop, we explore not only what truth is and some of the different forms it takes, but also some of the obstacles we face in coming to know the truth and have confidence in our convictions. Objective truth does exist. We can make statements that describe the world as it really is. We are called to diligently seek out the truth, allowing God to open our minds and hearts in order to ultimately find the authentic peace and joy that come with discovering the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is Truth Himself (see John 14:6).

This workshop offers a summary outline of the basic principles of Catholic morality and how our moral life is rooted not merely in a code of ethics or a set of rules, but profoundly in the Person of Jesus. It discusses some of the major moral issues we face in our society today, and equips all who teach the faith — whether youth ministers, catechists, Catholic school teachers, and so on — with the tools to establish a sure foundation for right moral thinking, both in themselves and in those to whom they minister.

“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it,” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter The Redeemer of Man, Redemptor hominis 10). The love that we are meant to "participate intimately in" is the love of God. God first loves us, and this love enables us to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. St. John Paul II offers a reflection and teaching on human love in the Divine plan through his work called the Theology of the Body. This workshop explores that work, and offers insights on our vocation to perfect love and its relationship to the vocation of marriage and family life. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17).  Imagine Jesus facing you, and speaking to you these words, with no distractions, no doubts of His reality, identity or knowledge. Imagine facing Him with no loss of memory on your part about your whole past, nothing less than your whole future to offer, no misinterpretation of the profoundness of the question, Do you love me? A breathtaking question. Conversion is about finding what you are seeking in the deepest part of yourself, and finding it superabundantly.  The result of true conversion is a rare combination: peace of soul and zeal of heart. This workshop explores how to support this work of the Holy Spirit, so that all catechesis is focused on conversion to Christ and to His Church, and continuing conversion becomes the norm for each Christian life.

Hidden within plain sight in every liturgy is the heart of catechesis – the mystery of Christ’s earthly vocation to return us to the Father’s loving embrace. A deeply Catholic catechesis seeks to uncover the profound meaning of the words, signs, and movements of worship to enlighten and enliven every truth we teach. Understanding the relationship between liturgy and catechesis is vital to forming souls – and to helping those we teach discover the peace and joy of their salvation.

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.

 

In the Directory for Catechesis we read: “The Church today looks with greater attentiveness at the passage from the age of youth to that of adulthood. . . . New approaches to pastoral and catechetical action must therefore be conceived that would help the Christian community to interact with young adults, supporting them in their journey” (256). In order to effectively minister to adolescents and young adults, it is critical that we understand some of the facets of youth culture and how to enter into it, so that we might shed light on what is good, and call young people into relationship with Jesus Christ. This workshop will provide guidance for all who work with young people as to how to better understand the culture in which they’re growing up, relate to them through their culture, share the Gospel message with them effectively, and accompany them on their journey of faith.

“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.

Catholic School Advanced Theology Certification
Core Workshops

How do we keep our focus on serving the Holy Spirit’s plan and empowerment, and not our own ways and human strength?  Pope Paul VI wrote, “techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit” (Evangelii Nuntandi 75).  No one responds to the gospel without first being drawn by the Holy Spirit, and no one can live the high calling of the Christian life without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. When we forget that outreach is a work of God, we burn-out. This workshop explores who the Holy Spirit is and His work in personal conversion and our accepting with joy the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Church.

This workshop sharpens a few of your philosophical tools for teaching the faith. Philosophy, far from putting our lessons out of reach of our audience, actually appeals to the reason of those we teach; it helps us explain doctrine so that it “makes sense,” rather than just falling back on, “because I said so.” This workshop will provide examples of philosophically approaching the faith by exploring both a Catholic and a secular worldview, as well as what these two approaches mean for the human person, ultimately helping us prepare our learners to answer Jesus’ crucial question to His apostles and to each one of us, “Who do you say that I am?”           

 

Scripture converts.  It is an effective gift to God’s adoptive family, graced and imbued with His own life.  The place of the sacred page in our catechetical work is matchless, irreplaceably vital.  It is is at the heart of all that the Church “believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God” (RCIA 491).  This workshop will explore Sacred Scripture as a fundamental agent of conversion in the catechetical process, and will provide practical means to make Scripture much more than just “proof” texts for your teaching.  Learn how to identify the Scriptures that drive the Church’s doctrines and how to incorporate them into your catechesis as the preeminent unfolding of the Father’s love for His children.

 

We are greatly blessed by the leadership God gives us through the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium.  Significant documents have been written which provide much needed inspiration and guidance for catechists.  In this workshop we will consider the mind and heart of the Church through her key documents that govern the catechetical endeavor.  We will consider the underlying themes and their application in parish and school settings, as well as their meaning for the training, growth, and development of catechists.

 

We are greatly blessed by the leadership God gives us through the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium. Significant documents have been written which provide much needed inspiration and guidance for catechists. In this second part of this topic area, we will continue to consider the mind and heart of Mother Church through Her key documents that govern the catechetical endeavor. We will consider the underlying themes and their application in various catechetical settings, as well as their meaning for the training, growth, and development of catechists.

St. Paul, when instructing a young St. Timothy, wrote, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). We can imitate St. Paul by encouraging the young people entrusted to us to discover who the Lord has called them to be, respond to His invitation to follow Him, and become young men and young women of virtue. It is critical for us as parents, priests, teachers, youth ministers, and catechists to learn how to effectively engage the mind and heart of each young person, so that they may receive the full and abundant life that our loving Father offers them. This workshop will reflect on key aspects of an adolescent’s psyche from ages 12–18, and how we can build upon what is naturally occurring within adolescents, in order to allow Jesus to draw them into the heart of the Father.

“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.

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.

This workshop examines the place of the sacraments within God’s magnificent plan of love. More than simply Catholic rituals, the sacraments are God’s chosen channels of supernatural life, His plan for doing even more than saving us. “‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’  ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 460).  This workshop will explore this extraordinary truth, and the provision of God to grace His adopted sons and daughters for a life far beyond their own natural capacity.

The Big Questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Where am I going? Unless one is sleepwalking through life, these are burningly urgent and profoundly relevant questions. How our loving God comes to us at our last breath can unfold so much about those critical questions. We’ll correct common myths about the “Four Last Things,” provide suggestions for teaching these amazing truths, and speak into the powerful curiosity we all have about crossing that final threshold.

Catholic School Leadership Certification
Core Workshops

The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration “On Christian Education,” Gravissimum educationis, states, “Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of all those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties and who, as representatives of the human community, undertake the task of education in schools. This vocation demands special qualities of mind and heart, very careful preparation, and continuing readiness to renew and to adapt” (5). The role of an educational leader in a Catholic setting is to aid parents in the education of their children, so that their children grow in all aspects of life. The educational leader can do this by being a person of virtue. This workshop reflects upon how an educational leader is meant to foster the virtues of humility, magnanimity, and the cardinal virtues in their life, in order to better serve students, faculty, and staff entrusted to them. This workshop also examines what an educational leader is, considers how an educational leader hires a team, and how he or she evaluates the team and assesses how well it is entering into the mission of Catholic education.  

The ministry of catechesis and the ministry of spiritual formation are ordinarily somewhat separate in people’s understanding. Yet in the Church’s mind, they relate naturally and necessarily. In the General Directory for Catechesis we read, “Truly, to help a person to encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God. . . . The catechist is essentially a mediator. He facilitates communication between the people and the mystery of God, between subjects amongst themselves, as well as with the community” (139, 156). This workshop explores what it means to be guided — an intentional docility and trust in the Church's ability to lead us to spiritual growth, to peace with God, to sanctity. Building upon this, we then examine the fundamentals of what it means for you to guide another soul in a catechetical context, so that you can more intentionally seek to be all that the catechetical vocation is graced to become. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

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.

“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 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.

“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” (Hebrews 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.

Building from the first teaching on this topic, this workshop will go beyond the basic steps of this method and offer further suggestions and guidance on wielding this powerful means of unfolding the Deposit of Faith.  One of the highlights of this workshop is to help you see the great flexibility of this catechetical approach.  Suited to all ages, the Ecclesial Method significantly contributes to maturing our teaching, ensuring that those with different learning styles are well served and that full engagement of learners becomes our overarching priority.

 

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.

In ministry, we are all called to be personally available to people in competent and conversion-oriented ways. Christian fellowship is profoundly proximal. “The most precious gift that the Church can offer the bewildered and restless world of our time is to form within it Christians who are confirmed in what is essential and who are humbly joyful  in their faith” (Guide for Catechists, 8). For evangelization and catechesis to remain appropriately situated with those who can be in authentic ministerial relationships in the field, the practice of mentorship needs to better fostered. Person-to-person engagement over extended periods of formation enables those in ministry to take more creative ownership of their own call to serve and form souls.

In his homily at the Jubilee of the Disabled, St. John Paul II beautifully stated: “How eloquent are your words for us . . . Lord of life and hope! Every human limitation is ransomed and redeemed in you. Thanks to you, disability is not the last word on life. Love is the last word; it is your love that gives meaning to life” (December 3, 2020). We also heard from St. John Paul II that “. . . the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right” that needs to be available to all people, and this includes persons with disabilities (Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae 14). This workshop will introduce the catechist to the Church’s teaching concerning catechesis for persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, and include practical assistance for catechists working with various special needs situations. This workshop will also help raise awareness among those involved in parish work of the many resources and sources of aid that exist to serve children and adults with these conditions.

St. Paul VI reminds us that, “At different moments in the Church’s history and also in the Second Vatican Council, the family has well deserved the beautiful name of ‘domestic Church.’ This means that there should be found in every Christian family the various aspects of the entire Church. Furthermore, the family, like the Church, is called to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized” (Apostolic Exhortation “On Evangelization in the Modern World,” Evangelii nuntiandi 71). As teachers, administrators, or pastoral staff in a Catholic school, we are in a unique position to assist parents in building up the domestic church of their family, in strengthening their role as primary educators of their children, and in helping them learn ways of integrating the faith into the daily routines of their family life. This workshop explores how a Catholic school can intentionally and creatively foster this vision, so as to authentically support family life.

Parish Evangelization and Discipleship
Core Workshops

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.  Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 27). The basic proclamation of the Good News of Jesus’ saving life, death and Resurrection, known as the kerygma, is about giving the gift of belonging  the call to a life within a Love beyond all telling. This workshop lays out the essential elements of this most important story, enabling those who teach, share, and witness to more effectively unfold its surpassing beauty to other souls. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

How do we keep our focus on serving the Holy Spirit’s plan and empowerment, and not our own ways and human strength?  Pope Paul VI wrote, “techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit” (Evangelii Nuntandi 75).  No one responds to the gospel without first being drawn by the Holy Spirit, and no one can live the high calling of the Christian life without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. When we forget that outreach is a work of God, we burn-out. This workshop explores who the Holy Spirit is and His work in personal conversion and our accepting with joy the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Church.

God is the Holy One, and He calls His People to Himself to share in His life of everlasting happiness: “Be holy as I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45; also see 1 Peter 1:15–16). The Second Vatican Council renewed the Church’s awareness of this call in its Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, Lumen gentium: Chapter Five, which is titled “The Universal Call to Holiness.” In this workshop, we allow Mother Church to teach us about this call, a call impacting each one of us. We explore the challenges involved in making our response to this call, and celebrate the graces that God gives us for our sanctification. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

This workshop sharpens a few of your philosophical tools for teaching the faith. Philosophy, far from putting our lessons out of reach of our audience, actually appeals to the reason of those we teach; it helps us explain doctrine so that it “makes sense,” rather than just falling back on, “because I said so.” This workshop will provide examples of philosophically approaching the faith by exploring both a Catholic and a secular worldview, as well as what these two approaches mean for the human person, ultimately helping us prepare our learners to answer Jesus’ crucial question to His apostles and to each one of us, “Who do you say that I am?”           

 

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.

 

Throughout the generations, the Word of God has been handed on as a precious jewel. The Church has guarded this Deposit of Faith so that the saving message of hope might shine out for all to see. Now it is up to us. It is our turn to hand on this jewel, unscathed. It is up to us to catechize, continuing the unbroken chain of passing on the faith throughout the ages. The term catechesis comes from two Greek words meaning, “to echo down,” reflecting the call to us to “echo down,” to hand on, the whole of the faith in its saving fullness. This Deposit of Faith is summed up for our times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will look at this important teaching tool for catechesis in this workshop, to discover how we, too, can effectively pass on the precious deposit of Christian teaching. And in learning how to do this, we are able to insert our own name into St. Paul’s exhortation, “O catechist, guard what has been entrusted to you.”

 

In order to pass on the truths of Faith in season and out, the catechist must be securely grounded in Christ. This workshop will consider the richness of the Catholic spiritual life as it pertains specifically to the life of the catechist. Prayer is not the “last ditch effort” of defense for us as catechists, but our first line of defense - the wings on which every effort should soar. Our society often has trouble recognizing that the invisible spiritual realities are in fact “more real,” and certainly more lasting, than the physical realities we touch, see, hear, and experience daily. A review of the spiritual tools of the trade is thus appropriate to help us as catechists joyfully incorporate prayer as our first, middle, and last act of the day, and of the teaching session, creating an environment for catechesis that is permeated by prayer.

 

“The Word of God became man, a concrete man, in space and time and rooted in a specific culture . . .” (General Directory for Catechesis 109). Jesus provides for us the example of living in a particular culture and engaging the good things of the culture to aid individuals in the process of conversion, and rejecting those things in a culture which hinder conversion. Each of us finds ourselves living and interacting within a variety of cultures — family culture, workplace culture, modern culture, and so on — each of which possess certain aids and barriers to our continual turning from sin and turning toward God. This workshop will guide us in thinking about some of the obstacles to conversion present in our current culture, as well as some of the true, good, and beautiful gifts our culture has to offer. We will explore Mother Church's vision for engaging the good things our culture has to offer in a way that fosters love for the Good News of the Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and others.

The ministry of catechesis and the ministry of spiritual formation are ordinarily somewhat separate in people’s understanding. Yet in the Church’s mind, they relate naturally and necessarily. In the General Directory for Catechesis we read, “Truly, to help a person to encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God. . . . The catechist is essentially a mediator. He facilitates communication between the people and the mystery of God, between subjects amongst themselves, as well as with the community” (139, 156). This workshop explores what it means to be guided — an intentional docility and trust in the Church's ability to lead us to spiritual growth, to peace with God, to sanctity. Building upon this, we then examine the fundamentals of what it means for you to guide another soul in a catechetical context, so that you can more intentionally seek to be all that the catechetical vocation is graced to become. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

St. John Paul II stated that adult catechesis is “the principal form of catechesis, because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form” (Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae 43). During His public ministry, Jesus invited men and women to follow Him and be His disciples. Through adult catechesis, we invite men and women to be Jesus’ disciples, and we accompany them on their journey of faith, so that they may come to believe more firmly, hope more ardently, and love more perfectly. This workshop offers practical insights on how to disciple adults, the need for pastoral accompaniment, and how to identify and sensitively address the needs that exist in every community.

“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.

While “Parish Catechetical Leader” can mean virtually anything in a given parish, there are  specific skills that are particularly best suited for the people who serve in these eclectic positions. This workshop discusses those skills and traits in detail and examines some of the major themes, underlying principles and recurring patterns found in the lives of successful leaders who serve under pastors. May we be inspired to seek the harder road in the privileged vocation of leadership in God’s Church, so that He may be glorified and many souls lifted up. As St. Catherine of Siena in the voice of our Lord said: “I have set you as workers in your own and your neighbor’s souls, and in the mystic Body of holy Church.  Take your tears and your sweat, drawn from the fountain of My Divine love, and with them wash the face of My spouse the Church. I promise you, that by this means, her beauty will be restored to her.”

First Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

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.

“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.

“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.

Culture and Context of Youth Ministry

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.

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.

What does it mean to serve in a diverse parish? Cultural diversity has always been at the heart of the Church: “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). This workshop explores how to navigate the intercultural reality that many parish programs experience, so that we can effectively bring the love of Christ to each person and help all within the community feel a part of the Body of Christ. In doing so, fostering a respect for the dignity of each person, honoring the pivotal importance of family culture, and making the effort to grow in intercultural competence become key highlights in any successful ministry approach.

Catechetical Formation of Adolescents

“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 most effective catechetical programs for adolescents are integrated into a comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth…” (NDC p. 201).  The craft of passing on the faith is never a generic work. It is specifically attuned to those being drawn towards the Lord’s goodness. This workshop looks at the distinct features of adolescent catechesis as discussed by the National Catechetical Directory, with practical examples of how to utilize them in a youth ministry setting.

Understanding universal catechetical principles, such as the primacy of relational ministry, are important for every type of formation and outreach, yet these principles come to life in the context of each ministry’s unique demands. For youth ministry, though many elements of methodology are discussed in our other workshops, this workshop provides an opportunity to have specific questions answered about the ecclesial method applied to adolescents, retreat and semester planning, and effective ways to speak to groups of teens.

Second Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

How do we keep our focus on serving the Holy Spirit’s plan and empowerment, and not our own ways and human strength?  Pope Paul VI wrote, “techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit” (Evangelii Nuntandi 75).  No one responds to the gospel without first being drawn by the Holy Spirit, and no one can live the high calling of the Christian life without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. When we forget that outreach is a work of God, we burn-out. This workshop explores who the Holy Spirit is and His work in personal conversion and our accepting with joy the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Church.

In his introduction to the Youcat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), Pope Benedict XVI challenges young people: “You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith . . . so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination.” This exhortation holds true not only for young people, but also for us, those who minister to them. If we are to effectively hand on the truths of the Catholic faith and the beauty of holy Mother Church to the young, we must, ourselves, be immersed in our Lord’s teachings and continually seeking to know Him more. This workshop has a special focus on the formation of the youth minister and helps us understand the immense importance of making our study of Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, salvation history, and so on, an indispensable aspect of our lives and our work.

“[Adolescence] is characterized by the drive for independence, and at the same time by the fear of beginning to separate from the family context; this creates a continual to and fro between bursts of enthusiasm and setbacks. . . . It is therefore to be the concern of the community and the catechist to make room within themselves for grasping and accepting without judgment and with sincere educational passion this adolescent search for freedom, starting to channel it toward an open and daring life plan” (Directory for Catechesis 248). Adolescence can be a trying time, because it is a period involving monumental changes for a young person. It is beneficial to develop a holistic view of adolescence and what occurs during adolescent development, in order to speak to the heart of a young person and lead him or her closer to the Lord. Young people have the desire to do something daring and purposeful with their lives. We can help fulfill this desire by inviting them to follow Jesus. The goal of this workshop is to help youth ministers, parents, teachers, and those who minister to teens understand the development of teenagers — biological, cognitive, and social-emotional — in order to effectively minister to them.

Culture and Context of Youth Ministry

In the Directory for Catechesis we read: “The Church today looks with greater attentiveness at the passage from the age of youth to that of adulthood. . . . New approaches to pastoral and catechetical action must therefore be conceived that would help the Christian community to interact with young adults, supporting them in their journey” (256). In order to effectively minister to adolescents and young adults, it is critical that we understand some of the facets of youth culture and how to enter into it, so that we might shed light on what is good, and call young people into relationship with Jesus Christ. This workshop will provide guidance for all who work with young people as to how to better understand the culture in which they’re growing up, relate to them through their culture, share the Gospel message with them effectively, and accompany them on their journey of faith.

“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out . . . And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons” (Mark 1:35, 39). In the course of Jesus’ ministry, He took a step beyond by entering into our humanity and taking on a human nature. He also took a step beyond the comforts and familiarities of His home, in order to build relationships with individuals and draw them into the Heart of the Father. In our ministry to young people, we are called to do the same — to step beyond our comfort zones, beyond the boundaries of our parish, in order to help the young people in our care be drawn deeper into the Heart of our loving Father, experience the beauty of the Church, and see Christ and love Him in others. In this workshop, we will look at the benefits and practical considerations of incorporating events (especially those outside of our parish) into our ministry with young people, specifically through relational events, spiritual events, and service-focused events. 

“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 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.

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. . . . . Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27). Here St. Paul teaches us that we are members of Christ’s Body, and as we see throughout 1 Corinthians 12, each member of the Body of Christ is vital and serves a specific purpose. In youth ministry, there are various individuals that aid in evangelizing and catechizing young people, so that they might fall deeper in love with our Lord and His Body, the Church. As the Body of Christ, interdependency is fundamental for our fidelity to God and success in serving others. This workshop will explore the broader picture of youth ministry — that is, how we work with our bishop and diocese, our pastor, other members of the parish staff, and adult volunteers — in order to better understand and appreciate the various members of the Body of Christ, and work together as one Body in the service of young people.

Catechetical Formation of Adolescents

This workshop outlines the Church’s purpose and understanding of sacred liturgy in light of God’s wonderful plan of salvation. It helps youth ministers develop a Catholic identity with their teens through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, offering pragmatic and well-tested ways to help teens participate in the liturgy, as well as strategies to help teens see the Eucharist as the ‘source and summit’ of their lives.

This workshop offers a summary outline of the basic principles of Catholic morality and how our moral life is rooted not merely in a code of ethics or a set of rules, but profoundly in the Person of Jesus. It discusses some of the major moral issues we face in our society today, and equips all who teach the faith — whether youth ministers, catechists, Catholic school teachers, and so on — with the tools to establish a sure foundation for right moral thinking, both in themselves and in those to whom they minister.

“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it,” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter The Redeemer of Man, Redemptor hominis 10). The love that we are meant to "participate intimately in" is the love of God. God first loves us, and this love enables us to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. St. John Paul II offers a reflection and teaching on human love in the Divine plan through his work called the Theology of the Body. This workshop explores that work, and offers insights on our vocation to perfect love and its relationship to the vocation of marriage and family life. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Español: Certificación Básica Para Catequistas
Formación fundamental

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.

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”. 

"Después de haber hablado antiguamente a nuestros padres por medio de los Profetas, en muchas ocasiones y de diversas maneras, ahora, en este tiempo final, Dios nos habló por medio de su Hijo” (Hebreos 1:1–2). Revelación significa remover el velo. Es la manera en que Dios manifiesta un poco de sí mismo, dándonos tiempo para absorberlo y responder, para después manifestarse un poco más; y así se repite el proceso. Dado que el trabajo de catequesis se orienta a la conversión, el catequista necesita entender claramente cómo una persona recibe la fe y cómo esta crece en ella. Este taller profundiza en el patrón sagrado de la metodología de Dios, en la manera en que Él se acerca a nosotros, nos llama y nos permite responderle libremente.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Las Sagradas Escrituras

“El Padre eterno creó el mundo por una decisión totalmente libre y misteriosa de su sabiduría y bondad. Decidió elevar a los hombres a la participación de la vida divina” (CEC 759). Un plan que nace del corazón del Padre: desde el génesis de la vida, hasta el último profeta del Pueblo Judío, el gran panorama de la historia de la salvación es desplegado en los 46 libros del Antiguo Testamento. Las alianzas, los mandamientos y la promesa del Elegido, forman el tema principal de este taller, para permitir al catequista apreciar la mano providencial de Dios en nuestro pasado, nuestro presente y nuestro destino eterno.

“Lo que existía desde el principio . . . Lo que hemos visto y oído, se lo anunciamos también a ustedes . . .” (1 Juan 1:1,3).  El Nuevo Testamento es la culminación de la historia de cómo el Padre preparó al mundo para Su Hijo, y el inicio de la historia de la Iglesia, la cual es Su Cuerpo, Su Reino, Su Esposa, Su Arca, para salvar a un Pueblo que considera Suyo. El drama general de la verdad, centrado en Aquel que es la Verdad, conforma el mensaje de la buena nueva que los catequistas tienen el privilegio de ofrecer a cada generación de almas.

Metodología

“El contenido de la catequesis, siendo objeto de fe, no puede someterse indiferentemente a cualquier método . . .” (Directorio para la catequesis (DC) 194). Todo buen catequista busca de manera intencional hacer crecer la semilla de la fe, alimentar la esperanza y desarrollar un deseo más profundo de amar a Dios y al prójimo. En este taller, exploraremos un método que se adapta muy bien a los objetivos de la catequesis y que surge de un estudio de cómo los santos catequéticos de la Iglesia buscaron transmitir la belleza, la verdad y la bondad de la revelación salvadora de Cristo.

*La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa donación de Our Sunday Visitor Institute, y por el apoyo de la diócesis de Tyler, TX.

El Directorio para la Catequesis nos dice que es urgente recuperar la "inspiración catecumenal de la catequesis" porque es una forma de enseñar que es "progresiva y dinámica, rica de signos y lenguajes, favorables para la integración de todas las dimensiones de la persona" (DC 2). En este taller, conoceremos los inicios de este modelo en la historia de la Iglesia, y veremos cómo cada una de las etapas del proceso catecumenal tiene un lugar especial en el proceso de la conversión. Revisaremos algunos de los términos y conceptos más básicos, y buscaremos aplicar sus principios a nuestras propias situaciones. Finalmente, reflexionaremos sobre la razón que es el modelo de formación en la fe que necesitamos para nuestros tiempos.

Tal vez eres un catequista para niños o para adultos y estás buscando maneras de mejorar tus métodos de enseñanza o trabajas en el ministerio del Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos (RICA) y quieres profundizar tu entendimiento del proceso. ¡Este taller es para ti!

Filosofía
Espiritualidad

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.

Para transmitir las verdades de la fe, el catequista debe estar firmemente cimentado en Cristo. Este taller considerará la riqueza de la vida espiritual católica en lo que se refiere específicamente a la vida del catequista. La oración no es un “último esfuerzo desesperado” de defensa para nosotros como catequistas, sino nuestra primera línea de defensa: las alas en las que debe volar todo esfuerzo. A menudo, nuestra sociedad tiene problemas para reconocer que las realidades espirituales invisibles son de hecho “más reales” y ciertamente más duraderas que las realidades físicas que tocamos, vemos, oímos y experimentamos a diario. Por lo tanto, una revisión de las herramientas espirituales del oficio es apropiada para ayudarnos como catequistas a incorporar con alegría la oración al principio, mitad y final de nuestro día y de la sesión de enseñanza, creando un ambiente permeado por un clima de oración para la catequesis.

Doctrina

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. 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. El objetivo esencial y primordial de la catequesis es, usando una expresión muy querida por St. Pablo, “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.

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.

Este taller ofrece un esquema resumido de los principios básicos de la moral católica y cómo nuestra vida moral está arraigada no solo en un código de ética o un conjunto de reglas, sino profundamente en la Persona de Jesús. Habla sobre algunos de los principales problemas morales que enfrentamos en nuestra sociedad hoy, y prepara a todos los que enseñan la fe, ya sean líderes en el ministerio de jóvenes, catequistas, maestros de escuelas católicas, etc., con las herramientas para establecer una base segura para poder tener un pensamiento moral correcto, tanto nosotros mismos como también aquellos a quienes servimos. 

¿Quién soy? ¿Cuál es mi naturaleza? ¿Para qué me ha creado Dios? ¿Para quién me creó Dios? Las respuestas a estas preguntas afectan no solo cómo pienso sobre mí mismo, sino también cómo pienso sobre aquellos a quienes catequizo y cómo animo a cada uno de aquellos a quienes tengo el privilegio de enseñar a pensar sobre sí mismos. En este taller contemplamos las respuestas excepcionales que la fe cristiana da para responder a estas preguntas, respuestas que resaltan la increíble dignidad de cada persona. 

*La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa donación de Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Español: Especializaciones Ministeriales
Coordinadores/Directores de Educación Religiosa
Evangelización

En este taller exploraremos los elementos esenciales sobre la misión más importante: la evangelización. La misión de evangelizar es la vocación propia de la Iglesia. Como miembros de la Iglesia cada uno de nosotros estamos llamados a participar en esa misión. “La Buena Nueva del Reino que llega y que ya ha comenzado, es para todos los hombres de todos los tiempos. Aquellos que ya la han recibido y que están reunidos en la comunidad de salvación, pueden y deben comunicarla y difundirla” (San Pablo VI, Exhortación apostólica, La Evangelización en el Mundo Contemporáneo, Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN) 13).  La misión de evangelizar es un llamado personal a participar en la edificación del Reino de Dios y a dar testimonio de la persona de Jesucristo en nuestras comunidades y en el mundo. Este taller es una oportunidad para que los líderes de ministerios parroquiales, feligreses o catequistas puedan tener la inspiración y un camino claro para evangelizar y ser testigos en todas partes y en todo momento. 

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.

Familia y Fe Hispana

¿Para qué existen los sacramentales y las devociones populares?  Las variadas formas de la piedad ayudan a que “nuestras almas se conviertan y dirijan a Dios” y se hagan “cada vez más aptas para contemplar los misterios de la naturaleza divina y humana de Jesucristo” (Mediator Dei (MD) 219).  No toman el lugar de la liturgia, pero más bien nos “disponen a participar con mayor fruto en las funciones públicas” (MD 219).  Tal vez eres un catequista o un padre de familia que quiere entender el uso apropiado de los sacramentales y la devoción popular, tal vez quieras poder contestar a las personas que preguntan el “por qué” la Iglesia tiene estas prácticas.  Cualquiera que sea tu motivo, ¡eres bienvenido a este taller!  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

La Iglesia hace presente el amor y la bendición de Dios en los diferentes momentos de nuestras vidas. Como una madre, nos acompaña a lo largo de nuestra jornada.  La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos (USCCB) reconoce el valor de la celebración Quinceañera en la vida de la joven hispana y lo describe así: “Es costumbre entre varios países de habla española y entre grupos hispanos en los Estados Unidos el celebrar y marcar el paso de la niñez a la adolescencia con un rito que exprese agradecimiento a Dios por el don de la vida y bendición para los años venideros” (Rito de Bendición, n. 1). En este taller, se explicarán los orígenes de la Quinceañera, la preparación apropiada, el valor de la celebración, y como se celebra la bendición litúrgicamente.

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.   

Formación para adultos
Formando a los padres de familia

“La educación a la castidad y las oportunas informaciones sobre la sexualidad deben ser ofrecidas en el más amplio contexto de la educación al amor” (Pontificio Consejo para la Familia, Sexualidad Humana: Verdad y Significado: Orientaciones educativas en familia 70). El don de la sexualidad humana y la virtud de la castidad deben enseñarse en el contexto del amor, porque el amor nos capacita a vivir castamente y a reconocer el don de la sexualidad humana. Este taller describe el rol esencial de los padres en la formación de sus propios hijos en una visión cristiana de la sexualidad, guiado por el recurso As I Have Loved You del Dr. Gerard O'Shea. Este taller ayuda a los padres en su capacidad para detectar señales que indican cuando sus hijos están listos para comenzar esta formación, y también ofrece estrategias para abordar el tema de manera clara y delicada. Está especialmente destinado a los padres. Sin embargo, este taller también es beneficioso para los catequistas, maestros de escuelas católicas, líderes catequéticos parroquiales, ministros de jóvenes y otras personas que desempeñan funciones en las que ayudan a los padres a enseñar a sus hijos sobre el plan de Dios para la sexualidad.

Jóvenes/Jóvenes adultos
Mentoría/Acompañamiento

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 mentoría catequética es parte integral de los ministerios en la Iglesia Católica, así como de la vida en el hogar. En nuestro ministerio tenemos el privilegio de poder participar en la mentoria Divina y amorosa de la Santísima Trinidad en cada alma. En Su bondadoso plan de salvación, Dios, nuestro Padre celestial, nos provee toda guía que necesitamos para nuestro camino hacia Él, para nuestro eterno regreso a casa. Mediante el envío de su propio Hijo y Espíritu, no solo nos enseña el Camino hacia Él, sino que también se entrega a nosotros para ser nuestro compañero en este “camino de realeza”. La Iglesia, el Cuerpo de Su Hijo, formada por el Espíritu, nos acoge y acompaña en este camino, y es dentro de este Cuerpo donde cada uno de nosotros, que también estamos llamados a un ministerio, ya sea como miembros ordenados, como padres, como laicos catequistas, o como colaboradores: ejercemos una mentoría catequética para aquellos a quienes servimos. Nuestro ministerio, entonces, es una participación en Su mentoría. Nuestro ministerio es una de las formas en que Dios hace una generosa provisión para la mentoría catequética de otros.

El ministerio de la catequesis y el ministerio de la formación espiritual están normalmente algo separados en el entendimiento de las personas. Sin embargo, en la mente de la Iglesia, se relacionan de forma natural y necesaria. “En realidad, favorecer el encuentro de una persona con Dios, que es tarea del catequista, significa poner en el centro y hacer propia la relación que Dios tiene con la persona y dejarse guiar por Él”. (Directorio general para la catequesis (DGC) 139). “El catequista es intrínsecamente un mediador que facilita la comunicación entre las personas y el misterio de Dios, así como la de los hombres entre sí y con la comunidad”. (DGC 156). Este taller explora lo que significa ser guiado: una docilidad intencional y confianza en la capacidad de la Iglesia para llevarnos al crecimiento espiritual, a la paz con Dios, a la santidad. Con este entendimiento, examinamos los fundamentos de lo que significa para ti guiar a otra alma en un contexto catequético, de modo que puedas buscar más intencionalmente ser todo lo que la vocación catequética debe llegar a ser. La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa donación del Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Una parte importante de ser un mentor es llegar a conocer realmente a las personas que tenemos bajo nuestro cuidado. En este taller, exploramos varios tipos de preguntas relacionadas con este trabajo de descubrimiento y examinaremos cuáles logran mejor el objetivo de revelar auténticamente los pensamientos y necesidades de esa persona para construir de manera productiva y sabia la relación de mentoría. Las preguntas deficientes resultan en oportunidades perdidas o en una comunicación débil. Las grandes preguntas realmente sirven para abrir el alma y construir una mentoría sólida. Enfatizaremos especialmente el valor de las preguntas abiertas orientadas a extraer la historia de vida de una persona. La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa donación de Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos
Mentor Formation
A Vision for Caring for Others Personally

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.

The ministry of catechesis and the ministry of spiritual formation are ordinarily somewhat separate in people’s understanding. Yet in the Church’s mind, they relate naturally and necessarily. In the General Directory for Catechesis we read, “Truly, to help a person to encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God. . . . The catechist is essentially a mediator. He facilitates communication between the people and the mystery of God, between subjects amongst themselves, as well as with the community” (139, 156). This workshop explores what it means to be guided — an intentional docility and trust in the Church's ability to lead us to spiritual growth, to peace with God, to sanctity. Building upon this, we then examine the fundamentals of what it means for you to guide another soul in a catechetical context, so that you can more intentionally seek to be all that the catechetical vocation is graced to become. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

This workshop is about the central importance of personal vocation. In the words of St. John Paul II, the human person, each unique and unrepeatable, is “the primary and fundamental way for the Church” (RH 14). Each is called to a graced path: to eternal divine beatitude, and to live as a person devoted to the good of his or her neighbor. We will discuss the meaning of personal vocation as it emerged from the Second Vatican Council and was developed in the teaching of St. John Paul II. The unfortunate neglect of personal vocation will also be addressed. We will discuss the pressing need for integrating personal vocation into all Catholic formation. Mentors must situate their mentorship squarely within their own unique callings. In turn, they must help those in their care further clarify and deepen their own personal vocations. Personal vocation should not be a peripheral concept for the Catholic but a central and integrating principle of a life lived in and for Christ.

 

Effectively Mentoring 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.

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.

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