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Diocese of Gallup

Learning Tracks

LEVEL A (All Teachers)
Formation 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).

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.

“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.

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).

LEVEL B (Religion Teachers)
Formation Workshops

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 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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

“Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (Second Vatican Council’s Constitution On the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium 14). Mother Church desires that all of us — children included — fully and actively participate in the Eucharistic liturgy, the holy Mass, so that we experience the beauty and profundity that is present in every moment of the Mass and the joy of allowing Jesus to help us become the persons He has created us to be through its celebration. Every gesture and word of the Mass has significance, and children — when taught the concrete meaning of each element —can joyfully and excitedly engage with the Mass and encounter the Person of Jesus. This workshop offers a method to introduce the liturgy to children, in order for them to enter into the liturgical rites and to pray the Mass to the best of their abilities.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

The Directory for Catechesis tells us that “St. Augustine indicated early and middle childhood as times for learning the dialogue with the Teacher who speaks deep within. It is from the tenderest age that the child must be helped to perceive and to develop the sense of God and the natural intuition of his existence” (236). Our ability to catechize, to hand on to children a relationship with Jesus Christ — whether as catechists, parents, Catholic school teachers, and so on — is not simply a matter of our teaching abilities. Rather, the age and development of a child, as well as environmental factors, affect a child’s receptivity to the faith. In this workshop, we will explore ways to craft our catechesis in relation to a child’s developmental stage, so that we may better lead them into intimacy with Jesus Christ. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

In his Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae, St. John Paul II made a statement that has been echoed in other catechetical documents of the Church: “. . . catechesis should adopt widely different methods for the attainment of its specific aim: education in the faith. . . . The variety in the methods used is a sign of life and a resource” (51). In this workshop, we will take to heart this exhortation by exploring the various learning styles exhibited by children — specifically through exploring Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences — as well as the multisensory pedagogy of God that we are to imitate as catechists. Every child is created with the ability to come to know and love God, and in our ministry to children, we have the beautiful opportunity to lead them into communion with the Blessed Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can do this most effectively when we understand the differences in the learning styles of those we’re catechizing and seek to adopt methodologies that will help us creatively reach each child.

Introduction to Successfully Passing on the Catholic Faith
Introduction to Successfully Passing on the Catholic Faith

“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.

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.”

 

“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)

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.

 

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.

“And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. . . . They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?’” (Luke 24:27, 32). The hearts of the disciples burned within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them. The hearts of those entrusted to us can also burn with a desire and hunger for the Lord through the catechesis they receive. Echoing the Mystery: Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis is an incredible resource that stems from the heart of a true catechist. Barbara Morgan became a catechist at the age of fourteen, and spent the majority of her life teaching the faith, and forming others to be catechists. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan collaborated with Barbara Morgan in order to develop this resource. This workshop offers a walk-through of this uniquely beneficial resource that helps us teach in such a way that the hearts of those entrusted to us may burn within them. This guide for unlocking the Deposit of Faith can be a resource to all in the catechetical field, be they priests, parents, teachers, parish catechists, youth ministers, and so on. 

Pillar I: The Profession of Faith
Pillar I: The Profession of Faith

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.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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

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

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

 

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 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 eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life” (CCC 759).  A plan born in the Father’s heart: from the genesis of life itself, to the last prophet of the Jewish people, the grand sweep of salvation history is unfolded in the 46 books of the Old Testament.  The Covenants, the Commandments, and the promise of a Chosen One form the subject of this workshop, to give catechists a sense of the provident hand of God over our past, our present, and our eternal destiny.

 

“That which was from the beginning...that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you...” (1 John 1:1, 4).  The New Testament is the completion of the story of how the Father prepared the world for His Son, and the beginning of the story of the Church, His Body, His Kingdom, His Bride, His Ark to save a People He calls His own.  This sweeping drama of truth, centered upon He is who is Truth, forms the message of the good news that catechists are privileged to offer to each generation of souls.

 

The Church father St. Jerome said that, “To others grace was given in measure, but into Mary was poured the whole fullness.”  Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Spirit, the Blessed Virgin has a profoundly unique place in the Mystical Body.  She is the first and pre-eminent member of the Church, the model par excellence of faith, hope, and love for all Christians.  She is the mirror-image of the Church’s unfailing holiness as virgin-spouse of the Word.  This workshop looks at what God revealed to the Church about our Lady, and how those truths form us under her Motherhood as faithful disciples.

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

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.

Pillar II: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Pillar II: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

“Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1069). Through the liturgy, the grace that flows from Jesus’ saving work is made available to us so that we may grow in intimacy and communion with the blessed Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the sacred liturgy we are reminded of all God’s blessings, from creation to the cross to our re-creation in sacramental grace. God initiates, we respond, and we will continue responding until Jesus comes again. This workshop offers us an opportunity to learn how the liturgy is an encounter with the Holy Trinity and the primary means for us to live in right relationship with our Lord. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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

Mother Church teaches us about the great significance of the Sacrament of Baptism by saying, “Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213). It is through the gift of Baptism that Christ’s work of salvation is applied personally to each one of us. Through Baptism, we are cleansed from our sins and share in God’s divine life. In this workshop we will deepen our understanding of and appreciation for the Sacrament of Baptism by exploring how Jesus instituted Baptism, reflecting on the effects of the sacrament and the obligations it imparts to us, learning more about the importance of the theological virtues in the Christian life, and reflecting upon being anointed into Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and kingly ministry through Baptism. This workshop is applicable to all of us, because we all have room to grow in our understanding of and appreciation for this ever-important sacrament. 

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.

The holy Eucharist is the greatest of all gifts, because here Jesus offers His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to us. Through the Eucharist, we are able to receive the living God and be transformed by His divine life dwelling within us. Mother Church teaches us that “The Eucharist is therefore ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324, quoting the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution “On the Church,” Lumen gentium 11). Our lives flow from the Eucharist and lead back to the Eucharist, so that we may be filled with God’s life, sent into the world to proclaim the Good News, and be strengthened and refreshed. This workshop will help you, whether you are a priest, parent, parish catechetical leader, catechist, teacher, youth minister, and so on, to better understand the Eucharist and its unique importance in your life.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

In the Code of Canon Law we read, “Sacramentals are sacred signs by which effects, especially spiritual effects, are signified in some imitation of the sacraments and are obtained through the intercession of the Church” (Canon 1166). Properly speaking, the term sacramentals refers to three of these sacred signs: blessings, consecrations, and exorcisms. In this workshop, we will explore the beauty of sacramentals and their power to dispose us to receive the sacraments and to more fully live as Christ in the particular circumstances of our lives. As we explore numerous examples of sacramentals, we will gain a deeper appreciation for the profound gift they are from holy Mother Church for participating in the Christian life, and discover opportunities to incorporate them into our own lives.

Pillar III: Life in Christ
Pillar III: Life in Christ

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.

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).

The Christian moral life finds its foundation in the Ten Commandments.  Yet they are often explained only as proscriptions or laws that have to be kept.  This workshop will present the Ten Commandments as prescriptions that profoundly inform and foster living life to its fullness.  Building on the foundation of the Commandments, Jesus gave us the model of how to live the reality of Heaven here on earth through the Beatitudes: a great challenge, but a reality each one of us is called to in God’s grace.  This workshop will discuss the blessed radicality of a life lived under the Commandments and the Beatitudes.

“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.

Recognizing that ". . . [t]he future of the world and of the Church passes through the family," St. John Paul II exhorts the Christian family to “become what you are” in his Apostolic Exhortation, "On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World," Familiaris consortio, paragraphs 75 (italics our emphasis) and 17. The Christian family is a community that lies at the heart of formation, education, and evangelization. This workshop walks us through this pastoral document from the saint who is often called the “Pope of the family,” examining the tasks facing the Christian family in both its natural and supernatural roles. It examines St. John Paul II’s teaching in Familiaris consortio, systematically exploring the tasks of the family that the Church, through St. John Paul II, has presented in the document. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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

Pillar IV: Christian Prayer
Pillar IV: Christian Prayer

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.

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.

 

Pope Benedict XVI stated that, “the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina… will bring to the Church a new spiritual springtime.”  Come and experience the prayerful pondering of sacred Scripture in the timeless Lectio Divina in which the Holy Spirit makes a connection between the passage and one’s own life.  This way of praying with the Word of God incorporates the natural development of relationship, which derives from the way God has touched and drawn human hearts down through the ages.  During this workshop, you will learn the four stages of Lectio Divina, which will help prepare you to share in this rich treasure of prayer.

 

Next Steps
Next Steps

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” (St. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation "On Catechesis in Our Time," Catechesi tradendae (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.

“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.

“. . . thus says the Lord . . . ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine’” (Isaiah 43:1). Through the saving life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been redeemed and called to know a sense of our belonging to the Blessed Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel, the kerygma, is the message we are called to share with all those we catechize, and the great story of God’s loving plan for our salvation and what He calls us to be. In order to proclaim the kerygma to any audience in a way that can be heard and inculcated — such that they desire to run to their Savior and return His love — it is important for us to understand the content of the kerygma, its different formulations, and the context in which we will be sharing it. This workshop will explore the essence of the kerygma and ways to effectively share it with the particular audience we have in front of us.  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.

This workshop is the first installment of a four-part series on reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an amazing gift that the Church has given us.  Within the Catechism, we find the Church’s teachings clearly laid out and supported by Sacred Scripture and Tradition.  This particular workshop walks through and highlights the key points within Part 1: The Profession of Faith, which includes an overview of the Trinity, the Creed, Salvation History, the Four Last Things, etc. 

This workshop is part of a four-part series on reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an amazing gift that the Church has given us. Within the Catechism, we find the Church’s teachings clearly laid out and supported by Sacred Scripture and Tradition. This particular workshop walks through and highlights the key points within Part 2: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, which includes an overview of Christ’s continuing work in the Sacraments,  the seven Sacraments of the Church, and other liturgical celebrations.

This workshop is part of a four-part series on reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an amazing gift that the Church has given us. Within the Catechism, we find the Church’s teachings clearly laid out and supported by Sacred Scripture and Tradition. This particular workshop walks through and highlights the key points within Part 3: Life in Christ, which includes discussion of the dignity of the human person, human community, law and grace, and the Ten Commandments.

This workshop is part of a four-part series on reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an amazing gift that the Church has given us. Within the Catechism, we find the Church’s teachings clearly laid out and supported by Sacred Scripture and Tradition. This particular workshop walks through and highlights the key points within Part 4: Christian Prayer, which includes an overview of what prayer is, types of prayer, the life of prayer and a detailed look at the Lord's Prayer. 

Workshops in addition to the Four Pillars Track
Formation Workshops

“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.

God calls man first. . . . the living and true God tirelessly calls each person . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2567). God continually calls us to Himself so that we may grow in intimacy with Him. The Lord also calls us to participate in His plan of salvation. This calling is a vocation, and at the heart of our response to the Lord is an offering of faith, obedience, and love. This workshop reflects on what a vocation is through a prayerful reflection on the calling of Moses, the Twelve Apostles, and the Blessed Virgin Mary preserved in Sacred Scripture. This reflection will help us to recognize God’s call in our own heart so that we may freely respond to His promptings. Let us approach this workshop in a spirit of prayer, with hearts open wide, ready to receive that which God has revealed in Sacred Scripture regarding His call for our lives. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

The holy Eucharist is the greatest of all gifts, because here Jesus offers His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to us. Through the Eucharist, we are able to receive the living God and be transformed by His divine life dwelling within us. Mother Church teaches us that “The Eucharist is therefore ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324, quoting the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution “On the Church,” Lumen gentium 11). Our lives flow from the Eucharist and lead back to the Eucharist, so that we may be filled with God’s life, sent into the world to proclaim the Good News, and be strengthened and refreshed. This workshop will help you, whether you are a priest, parent, parish catechetical leader, catechist, teacher, youth minister, and so on, to better understand the Eucharist and its unique importance in your life.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

“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 eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life” (CCC 759).  A plan born in the Father’s heart: from the genesis of life itself, to the last prophet of the Jewish people, the grand sweep of salvation history is unfolded in the 46 books of the Old Testament.  The Covenants, the Commandments, and the promise of a Chosen One form the subject of this workshop, to give catechists a sense of the provident hand of God over our past, our present, and our eternal destiny.

 

“That which was from the beginning...that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you...” (1 John 1:1, 4).  The New Testament is the completion of the story of how the Father prepared the world for His Son, and the beginning of the story of the Church, His Body, His Kingdom, His Bride, His Ark to save a People He calls His own.  This sweeping drama of truth, centered upon He is who is Truth, forms the message of the good news that catechists are privileged to offer to each generation of souls.

 

In the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution “On the Sacred Liturgy,” Sacrosanctum concilium, we read:
“. . . the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows” (10). This workshop is a journey toward that “summit.” In it we will walk through four of the most significant moments in the Mass, pausing to reflect on them and to delve into the Scripture passages to which they’re connected, as well as to explore the connections between these moments and the mysteries of Christ’s Life. The mystagogical catechesis presented in this workshop — a catechesis taking us into the mysteries of Christ — is, in a special way, for those who catechize children, but it is also adaptable to other audiences. Ultimately, the workshop is meant to help any of us who form others deepen in our appreciation for the most holy Mass and be spiritually enriched, ourselves, so that we can pass on our love for and understanding of the liturgy to others.

The Church father St. Jerome said that, “To others grace was given in measure, but into Mary was poured the whole fullness.”  Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Spirit, the Blessed Virgin has a profoundly unique place in the Mystical Body.  She is the first and pre-eminent member of the Church, the model par excellence of faith, hope, and love for all Christians.  She is the mirror-image of the Church’s unfailing holiness as virgin-spouse of the Word.  This workshop looks at what God revealed to the Church about our Lady, and how those truths form us under her Motherhood as faithful disciples.

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.

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.

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