Languages

Franciscan at Home

Forming those who form others

Diocese of Reno

Welcome to the Diocese of Reno’s landing page for Franciscan University of Steubenville's Catechetical Institute!

We are incredibly excited to offer this faith formation content to our parishes and Catholic schools. As we come together to grow in our understanding of the faith, the Diocese of Reno would like you to participate in the many learning tracks and workshops offered through the Catechetical Institute.

Parish Catechetical Leaders, Catechists, Catholic school principals, Catholic School teachers, Youth Ministers, as well as adult parish parishioners will be invited to access Catechetical Institute’s workshops by signing up under your participating institution.

Participants can complete Catechetical Institute workshops either individually or in group settings. These workshops are taught by professors at the University and other experts in their field. Each workshop is designed to be interactive. We encourage you to meet in small groups within your parish, school community, or by deanery.

Should you have any questions, please contact The Office of Faith Formation:

[email protected]  – (775) 326-9439

 

¡Bienvenido a la página de inicio de la Diócesis de Reno para el Instituto Catequético de la Universidad Franciscana de Steubenville!

Estamos increíblemente emocionados de ofrecer este contenido de formación de fe a nuestras parroquias y escuelas católicas. A medida que nos unimos para crecer nuestra comprensión de la fe, a la Diócesis de Reno le gustaría que usted participe en los numerosos talleres y cursos de aprendizaje que se ofrecen a través del Instituto Catequético.

Se invitará a los líderes catequéticos parroquiales, catequistas, directores de escuelas católicas, maestros de escuelas católicas, ministros juveniles y feligreses adultos de la parroquia a acceder a los talleres del Instituto Catequético inscribiéndose en su institución participante.

Los participantes pueden completar los talleres del Instituto Catequético ya sea individualmente o en grupo. Estos talleres son impartidos por profesores de la Universidad y otros expertos en su materia. Cada taller está diseñado para ser interactivo. Le recomendamos que se reúna en grupos pequeños dentro de su parroquia, comunidad escolar o por decanato.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, comuníquese con la Oficina de Formación de Fe:

[email protected] – (775) 326-9434

Learning Tracks

Formación fundamental
Formación fundamental

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.  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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 creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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.  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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. 

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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 creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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 cómo hacer esto, seremos parte en la exhortación de San Pablo, “Catequista, guarda el depósito”.  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

Conocer y comprender las Sagradas Escrituras es esencial en la vida de un catequista. Este taller explorará cómo la Palabra de Dios, transmitida en la Sagradas Escrituras, fundamenta y profundiza nuestra relación con Jesucristo y Su Iglesia. En las Sagradas Escrituras, vemos el amplio plan de Dios, la historia de la salvación revelada. Escuchamos Su asombrosa y constante invitación a vivir en comunión con Él. Las Sagradas Escrituras deben inspirar e impregnar todas las formas de catequesis, así como nuestra vida personal como catequistas. Al crear planes de lecciones cimentados en las Sagradas Escrituras, fomentamos un encuentro profundo con lo Divino: amor y desafío, sabiduría y esperanza, perdón y misericordia, y a su vez los medios para conocer a Dios y conocernos a nosotros mismos. Al contemplar las Sagradas Escrituras en cada sesión de catequesis, descubrimos el misterio de Cristo, revelando a aquellos a quienes enseñamos a Aquel que desean conocer, fomentando una intimidad con Dios que cambiará sus vidas.

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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.

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor. 

“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 subvención de Our Sunday Visitory por el apoyo de la diócesis de Tyler, TX.

Profundizando en la formación
Profundizando en la formación

"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.  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

“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. 

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

“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. 

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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!  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

¿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!  

La creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

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 creación de este taller fue posible gracias a una generosa subvención de Our Sunday Visitor.

Help for Parents Seeking to Grow Faith in the Home
Formation Workshops

Guiding children in the ways of the faith, leading them into a relationship of love with the Blessed Trinity is a ministry to which many of us are called in various capacities — as parents, godparents, catechists, youth ministers, Catholic school teachers, pastors, and so on. For all of us with children in our care, the question arises: How do we reach each individual child with the truth, and lead him or her in a way that will help inspire a lifelong relationship with Jesus? This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to consider your own relationship with God — since we cannot effectively hand on a relationship with our heavenly Father to others if we, ourselves, are not grounded in such a relationship — and provide you with ways of getting to know the children in your care more deeply, so that you might better understand how God can work through you to form their minds, hearts, and souls into those of saintsThis workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. . . . In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1655, 1656). Jesus’ entrance into a family places a particular emphasis on family life. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and Christian families are primary centers of "radiant faith." The Christian family is the domestic church, because it is in the family that parents and children pray, sacrifice, worship, live charity, and offer the witness of holy lives. This workshop teaches what the domestic church is and how God saves us in and through the family and the community that God has given to us.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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 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.

 

Help for Parish Leaders Seeking to Support Families
Formation Workshops

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, CT, 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. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

“Parents are the primary educators [of their children] in the faith” (General Directory for Catechesis 255). Therefore, “[f]amily catechesis . . . precedes, accompanies and enriches all other forms of catechesis” (St. John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation "On Catechesis in Our Time," Catechesi tradendae 68). Since the family is essential in the work of catechesis, this workshop discusses how to center a parish’s ministry around family catechesis, which allows the parish to aid the family by providing the education, encouragement, and accompaniment that families need. This workshop is primarily directed toward those who work at a parish that has decided to incorporate a more family-centered model of formation. It can also be helpful for parents, catechists, and so on, who wish to understand some of the key principles for implementing family catechesis within a parish, or who simply desire to grow in their spiritual lives in such a way as to lead their own families closer to Christ. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Help for School Leaders Seeking to Support Families
Formation Workshop

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.

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, 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, CCC, 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 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC, 1099).  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, down 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. It is the place in which “Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings” (Catechesi Tradendae, CT, 23).  As catechists, we have a call: the privilege of ensuring 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 be transformed by the One 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.

Jesus instituted the sacraments during His earthly ministry, and He entrusted them to the Church, so that the Church could continue His work of salvation and redemption. Regarding the sacraments, the Church teaches us that, “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it . . .” (Second Vatican Council's Constitution “On the Sacred Liturgy,” Sacrosanctum concilium, SC, 59). Through the sacraments, God pours His divine life into our souls, transforms us to be more like Him, and strengthens us in faith, hope, and charity, so that we can be united with Him and remain faithful to the work entrusted to us. In this workshop, we’ll learn more about the sacraments, deepen in our appreciation for the sacraments, and be better prepared to participate in the sacramental life of the Church. 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, CCC, 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. We will do this 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 pondering how we participate in 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. 

During the Last Supper, Jesus promised that He would send us the Holy Spirit. Jesus, in union with the Father, sent the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon the Church at Pentecost. Likewise, the Holy Spirit falls upon each of us at Confirmation. Mother Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Confirmation is necessary to complete the grace we have received at Baptism. She also tells us that “By the sacrament of Confirmation [we who have been baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are endowed with the special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence [we] are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread the faith by word and deed” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution “On the Church,” Lumen gentium 11). Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit to be authentic and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the faith by our words and deeds. In this workshop, we will learn more about the richness of the Sacrament of Confirmation through reflecting on the Scriptural roots, effects, and outward signs of it. This workshop can be beneficial for all — pastors, parents, parish catechetical leaders, catechists, youth ministers, teachers, and so on — who would like to learn more about the Sacrament of Confirmation. 

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 Catechism of the Catholic Church, we hear these beautiful words, “Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of ‘the wedding-feast of the Lamb.’ . . . The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. . . . Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man” (CCC 1602–1604). This workshop will reflect on the beautiful, wonderful, and powerful gift that the Sacrament of Marriage is and lead us to a deeper understanding of this sacrament. This workshop can be beneficial to all individuals from all walks of life because of the necessity of understanding the Sacrament of Marriage as God intended. 

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 them as a profound gift from holy Mother Church and an aid for participating in the Christian life. We will also 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, VS, 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 our living life in 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.

In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul provides a powerful teaching on hope. He says, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God . . . hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1–2, 5). Hope is a vital part of the Christian life because it keeps our eyes focused on Jesus, sustains us in times of doubt, keeps us from discouragement, and opens our hearts to eternal happiness. Christian hope is not wishful thinking or mere optimism; it is confidence in God, Who is always faithful. During the course of this workshop, we will learn about Jesus as our hope, the transforming power of hope, and how hope flows from faith into charity.

“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,” (St. 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. 

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” (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.

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.

The Lay Vocation
The Lay Vocation

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.

“‘And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, “You go into the vineyard too . . .” So they went’” (Matthew 20:3–4). We are invited by Jesus to participate in His work of redemption and sanctification; He calls us to come close to Him and sends us out to labor in His vineyard. As members of the laity, we labor in the vineyard in a unique way by being in the world and not of the world. St. John Paul II deepened the Church’s understanding of the role of the laity in the Church and in the world in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World,” Christifideles laici. This workshop unpacks the teaching of St. John Paul II in this document and describes the essential role of every lay person and how to apply it to the concrete circumstances of our own lives. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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.

When speaking to the crowds at World Youth Day in 2000, St. John Paul II said, “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness . . . It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives . . .” (Vigil of Prayer for the 15th World Youth Day, August 19, 2000). It is Jesus Who calls us to do something great with our lives by calling us to be His disciples. He invites us to follow Him, even though being a disciple can be challenging at times, and He provides the grace that we need in order to persevere and remain faithful. It is when we know Him as He truly is that we can become His disciples, invite others to discipleship, and live the unsurpassable joy of the Christian life. This workshop seeks to help us come to know the Person of Jesus as our one essential need, and thus, it will benefit everyone, no matter where we are at on our faith journey.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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.

“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 possesses 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 Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and others.

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, VS, 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).

“For [the Lord] will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday” (Psalm 91:3–6). In our daily lives — in our ministries, our families, our work, and so on — the spiritual battle is playing out, as we find ourselves tempted to distrust our Lord, or to turn from His ways, or to lose hope in His deep and personal love for us. Yet, we do not battle the temptations of the Evil One alone. Jesus has conquered the world, the flesh, and the devil for us, and He invites us to engage in spiritual combat with Him, in order to restore ourselves and all creation to the fullness God intends for us. This workshop will help us understand what spiritual combat is, within the context of Christ’s victory over the devil, and how to engage in it in our daily lives as members of the Body of Christ.

“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.

The Spousal Vocation
The Spousal Vocation

“We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World, Gaudete et exsultate 14). The Second Vatican Council reminds us that there is a universal call to holiness (see the Dogmatic Constitution "On the Church," Lumen gentium 39-44), which means that God calls every person to be in relationship with Him, and He calls each of us to be holy as He is holy (see Leviticus 11:45, 1 Peter 1:15–16). Holiness is to be lived out in one’s particular state in life, and thus for parents, it is to be attained in both their spousal and parental vocations, through the help of God’s grace. This workshop offers reflections on the lives of a few parent saints, whose witness and way of life inspire us to be holy parents, as we seek to do God’s will in the particular circumstances of our own family life. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“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,” (St. 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.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we hear these beautiful words, “Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of ‘the wedding-feast of the Lamb.’ . . . The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. . . . Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man” (CCC 1602–1604). This workshop will reflect on the beautiful, wonderful, and powerful gift that the Sacrament of Marriage is and lead us to a deeper understanding of this sacrament. This workshop can be beneficial to all individuals from all walks of life because of the necessity of understanding the Sacrament of Marriage as God intended. 

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 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.

 

Speaking of catechesis with adults, the Directory for Catechesis tells us: “The commitment to the maturation of baptismal faith is a personal responsibility that the adult above all must perceive as a priority on account of being involved in an ongoing process of the formation of his own personal identity. . . . [E]ven at this stage of life and with characteristic accentuations, accompaniment and growth in faith are necessary so that the adult may mature in that spiritual wisdom which illuminates and brings unity to the manifold experiences of his personal, family and social life” (259). In this workshop, we will explore a particular form of accompaniment by which one person — whether lay, consecrated religious, or ordained — journeys with another through spiritual, intellectual, human, and apostolic formation. Through spiritual accountability, an individual is held accountable to Jesus, to him or herself, and to the person accompanying him or her for the growth occurring in his or her life. Our aim with this form of accompaniment is to make missionary disciples of Jesus Christ — in other words, to accompany people in such a way so that they can then go share the Good News of the Gospel with others, and provide for others the spiritual, intellectual, human, and apostolic formation they, themselves, have received. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Speaking of faith formation within the family, the General Directory for Catechesis states: “It is, indeed, a Christian education more witnessed to than taught, more occasional than systematic, more ongoing and daily than structured into periods” (255). Our handing on of the faith to our children, and our helping them become the persons God created them to be, occurs not only through what we say to them or do, but also through how we live — how we, ourselves, witness to the virtues and values we try to instill in them, and how we communicate the love of God, their heavenly Father. This workshop speaks especially to parents and those who may one day live out the beautiful vocation to parenthood, as it explores what mentoring is, and how it is lived out in the daily lives of mothers and fathers, and even among siblings, within the context of the family. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

In his beautiful Apostolic Exhortation “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World,” Familiaris consortio (FC), St. John Paul II reminds us that “. . . far from being closed in on itself, the family is by nature and vocation open to other families and to society, and undertakes its social role” (42). In this workshop, we will explore how the family is called to mentor, or share its spiritual riches, with other families — both in active, intentional ways, and by its quiet witness to the truths of the faith and love of God. Although no family is perfect, each facing unique struggles and brokenness, every family is called by our Lord to share the gifts He has given it with others, in order to help lead others closer to His loving Heart. This workshop will help us understand how our family is called to grow in holiness and serve others, as well as providing numerous practical suggestions for mentoring other families. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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.

In the Directory for Catechesis we read that: “The sacraments, celebrated in the liturgy, are a special means that fully communicate him who is proclaimed by the Church” (81). In this workshop, we will explore the principle of sacramentality, which holds that the concrete realities we experience with our senses, like the beautiful things we experience in creation, speak to us about God. God uses the concrete things of our daily lives, the physical beauty of the world, and the things we encounter with our senses, to manifest Himself to us, reveal His love to us, and draw us closer to Himself. This workshop, in particular, will examine the elements we sense in the sacramental rites and how those elements speak to us about God. This workshop is geared in a special way toward catechists of children, whether they are parents, parish catechists, or Catholic school teachers, but the material presented will help formators of all kinds lead those they catechize into a deeper relationship with Christ through the principle of sacramentality.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we read, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ . . . In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: ‘Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking’” (1324, 1327). By growing in intimacy with our Eucharistic Lord Jesus and seeking to center our lives around this supreme gift, we learn how to live as grace-filled Christians. In this workshop, we will explore what it means to be a disciple of our Eucharistic Lord and learn how to do so in a way that “breathes with both lungs” — that is, through the traditions of both the Christian East and Christian West (see St. John Paul II's Encyclical Letter, "On Commitment to Ecumenism," Ut unum sint 54). This workshop is, thus, for all of us, whether we are parents, priests, religious, lay catechists, schoolteachers, and so on.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

The Parental Vocation
The Parental Vocation

Guiding children in the ways of the faith, leading them into a relationship of love with the Blessed Trinity is a ministry to which many of us are called in various capacities — as parents, godparents, catechists, youth ministers, Catholic school teachers, pastors, and so on. For all of us with children in our care, the question arises: How do we reach each individual child with the truth, and lead him or her in a way that will help inspire a lifelong relationship with Jesus? This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to consider your own relationship with God — since we cannot effectively hand on a relationship with our heavenly Father to others if we, ourselves, are not grounded in such a relationship — and provide you with ways of getting to know the children in your care more deeply, so that you might better understand how God can work through you to form their minds, hearts, and souls into those of saintsThis 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.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read, “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation” (2205). Thus, the family reveals to us something about Who God is and how we are called to live as His beloved sons and daughters. This is the theology of the family, which we will explore in this workshop. Through the human family, we have the beautiful and unique opportunity to bring into the world and raise images of God, for we are all created in our Lord’s image, to be formed into His likeness and destined for eternity with Him in Heaven. The theology of the family does indeed present us with a lofty ideal, especially given that every family, due to the effects of the Fall, is wounded and broken by sin in different ways. However, as we’ll see in this workshop, God’s vision of the family is indeed worth discovering and pursuing, and we can seek to live it out even in the smallest of tasks of our daily lives as well as sharing our beautiful call as families with everyone we encounter. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. . . . In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1655, 1656). Jesus’ entrance into a family places a particular emphasis on family life. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and Christian families are primary centers of "radiant faith." The Christian family is the domestic church, because it is in the family that parents and children pray, sacrifice, worship, live charity, and offer the witness of holy lives. This workshop teaches what the domestic church is and how God saves us in and through the family and the community that God has given to us.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

In his Apostolic Exhortation “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World,” Familiaris consortio (FC), St. John Paul II reminds us of the beautiful role of a mother and father: “When they become parents, spouses receive from God the gift of a new responsibility. Their parental love is called to become for the children the visible sign of the very love of God, ‘from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named’” (14). Parenting is not always easy — in fact, it is oftentimes quite difficult, exhausting, and chaotic. Yet, it is a beautiful vocation. When God calls us to it, He longs to equip us for it through our relationship with Him, and especially through our reception of His grace in the sacraments. In this workshop, we will focus, as parents, on the importance of growing in our relationship with God and our love for Him. When we have this loving relationship, we can more effectively raise our children lovingly and lead them into relationship with the One Who loves them most: our Lord Himself. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

The vocation to be a wife and a mother is profoundly beautiful, for not only is it through this vocation that God calls us to sanctity, but it is also through this vocation that we are called to help form others as saints, to lead our husband and children closer to Jesus. No family is perfect, each facing its own challenges and burdens, but every family is offered immense grace by our loving Father, Who desires that we find joy in family life. In this workshop, we hear some reflections from our presenter on living out the faith as a wife and mother and gain insights and practical tips for living out our own vocations with love, so that we can bring our families into greater union with God. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them . . . and [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. . . .’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them” (Mark 10:13–14, 16). Jesus desires that the little children come to Him. As parents, priests, catechists, and teachers, we can bring the children entrusted to our care to the Lord, so that He may bless them and fill them with His love. The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that we 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 workshop will reflect on key aspects of a child’s psyche from ages
3–6, and how we can build upon what is naturally occurring within children, in order to allow Jesus to draw them into the heart of the Father.

“And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them . . . and [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. . . .’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them” (Mark 10:13–14, 16). Jesus desires for children to come to Him. As parents, priests, catechists, and teachers, we can bring the children entrusted to our care to the Lord, so that He may bless them and fill them with His love. The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that we 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 workshop will reflect on key aspects of a child’s psyche from ages 6–12, and how we can build upon what is naturally occurring within children, in order to allow Jesus to draw them into the Heart of the Father.

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.

“[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.

“Formation in chastity and timely information regarding sexuality must be provided in the broadest context of education for love” (Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family, TMHS, 70). The gift of human sexuality and the virtue of chastity are meant to be taught in the context of love, because love empowers us to live chastely and recognize the gift of human sexuality. This workshop outlines the essential role of parents in forming their own children in a Christian vision of sexuality, guided by the resource As I Have Loved You by Dr. Gerard O'Shea. This workshop aids parents in their ability to detect signs that indicate when their children are ready to begin this formation, while offering strategies for approaching the topic clearly and delicately. It is especially meant for parents. However, this workshop is also beneficial for catechists, Catholic school teachers, parish catechetical leaders, youth ministers, and others who are in roles where they assist parents in how to teach their children about God’s plan for sexuality. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Foundational PCL Certification
Foundations

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.”

“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.

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.

"[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 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 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC, 1099).  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, down 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. It is the place in which “Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings” (Catechesi Tradendae, CT, 23).  As catechists, we have a call: the privilege of ensuring 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 be transformed by the One 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.

Leadership

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, CT, 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. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

 

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.

Ministries

In our calling to guide souls in their relationship with the Blessed Trinity  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 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 uses of textbooks within catechesis, and assists participants in developing criteria for textbook selection. It also examines various materials currently in use for schools and parish programs. Ways to include the parents or caregivers, who are the “primary educators” of children, will be explored (see General Directory for Catechesis, GDC, 226–227). 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.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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 PCL Certification, Part I
Foundations

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

 

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

 

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?”           

 

Leadership

“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.

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.

Ministries

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.

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.

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.

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.

Advanced PCL Certification, Part II
Foundations

“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 possesses 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 Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and others.

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.

Leadership

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.

 

“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. 

In his Apostolic Exhortation “On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World,” Evangelii gaudium (EG), 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.

Ministries

“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.

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.

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.

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.

Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Four Part Test and Test Preparation

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. 

Before beginning this workshop, please complete the workshop "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part 1".  The four part "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism" workshop series is designed to help prepare you to take the test.

Please know that the "Start this workshop" button below, will not automatically start the test. We have more information available to you before you begin, and you will have the option to stsrt the test when you are ready to do so.

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.

Before beginning this workshop, please complete the workshop "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part 2".  The four part "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism" workshop series is designed to help prepare you to take the test.

Please know that the "Start this workshop" button below, will not automatically start the test. We have more information available to you before you begin, and you will have the option to stsrt the test when you are ready to do so.

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.

Before beginning this workshop, please complete the workshop "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part 3".  The four part "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism" workshop series is designed to help prepare you to take the test.

Please know that the "Start this workshop" button below, will not automatically start the test. We have more information available to you before you begin, and you will have the option to stsrt the test when you are ready to do so.

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. 

Before beginning this workshop, please complete the workshop "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part 4".  The four part "Unlocking the Rich Treasure of the Catechism" workshop series is designed to help prepare you to take the test.

Please know that the "Start this workshop" button below, will not automatically start the test. We have more information available to you before you begin, and you will have the option to stsrt the test when you are ready to do so.

Foundations of Pastoral Accompaniment
Mentoring Focus

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. 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.

Spirituality Focus

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.

 

When speaking to the crowds at World Youth Day in 2000, St. John Paul II said, “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness . . . It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives . . .” (Vigil of Prayer for the 15th World Youth Day, August 19, 2000). It is Jesus Who calls us to do something great with our lives by calling us to be His disciples. He invites us to follow Him, even though being a disciple can be challenging at times, and He provides the grace that we need in order to persevere and remain faithful. It is when we know Him as He truly is that we can become His disciples, invite others to discipleship, and live the unsurpassable joy of the Christian life. This workshop seeks to help us come to know the Person of Jesus as our one essential need, and thus, it will benefit everyone, no matter where we are at on our faith journey.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

Counseling Focus

“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 possesses 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 Gospel and aids the process of continual conversion for ourselves and 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.

Mentoring Focus
Specific Skills and Needs

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.

 

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.

Mentoring Specific Groups

Speaking of faith formation within the family, the General Directory for Catechesis states: “It is, indeed, a Christian education more witnessed to than taught, more occasional than systematic, more ongoing and daily than structured into periods” (255). Our handing on of the faith to our children, and our helping them become the persons God created them to be, occurs not only through what we say to them or do, but also through how we live — how we, ourselves, witness to the virtues and values we try to instill in them, and how we communicate the love of God, their heavenly Father. This workshop speaks especially to parents and those who may one day live out the beautiful vocation to parenthood, as it explores what mentoring is, and how it is lived out in the daily lives of mothers and fathers, and even among siblings, within the context of the family. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

In his beautiful Apostolic Exhortation “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World,” Familiaris consortio (FC), St. John Paul II reminds us that “. . . far from being closed in on itself, the family is by nature and vocation open to other families and to society, and undertakes its social role” (42). In this workshop, we will explore how the family is called to mentor, or share its spiritual riches, with other families — both in active, intentional ways, and by its quiet witness to the truths of the faith and love of God. Although no family is perfect, each facing unique struggles and brokenness, every family is called by our Lord to share the gifts He has given it with others, in order to help lead others closer to His loving Heart. This workshop will help us understand how our family is called to grow in holiness and serve others, as well as providing numerous practical suggestions for mentoring other families. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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.

“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.

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.

In his Apostolic Exhortation “On Catechesis in Our Time,” Catechesi tradendae, St. John Paul II poses the important question: “. . . How are we to reveal Jesus Christ, God made man, to this multitude of children and young people, reveal Him not just in the fascination of a first fleeting encounter but through an acquaintance, growing deeper and clearer daily, with Him, His message, the plan of God that He has revealed, the call He addresses to each person, and the kingdom that He wishes to establish in this world with the ‘little flock’ . . . ?” (35). We as catechists — whether in the classroom or as parents — have the beautiful task of helping to reveal Jesus Christ to those in our care, and to help them answer the call to discipleship that Jesus poses to each individual. This workshop will help us gain a deeper understanding of the profound spiritual capacity children have and ways to assess where they are at in their relationship with Jesus, so that we can see how to more effectively minister to them and grow in our vocation as catechists.

In this Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul writes, “. . . the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (2:20). St. Paul knew that he was loved by God, that Jesus gave his life for St. Paul, and St. Paul’s life was changed. After encountering the risen Lord, St. Paul spent his life proclaiming the Gospel, evangelizing everyone he encountered and teaching the rich treasures of the faith. Do we want those entrusted to our care to hear and to know the deep and faithful love that our personal God has for them? Do we want those we teach to say with St. Paul, “. . . the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me?” In this workshop, we will come to a better understanding of the importance of including evangelization into children’s faith formation so that those we minister to will be brought into communion with Jesus, have sincere conversion of heart, and develop mature and lasting faith. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Spirituality Focus
Specific Skills and Needs

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, His work in personal conversion, and our accepting with joy the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Church.

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.

Speaking of catechesis with adults, the Directory for Catechesis tells us: “The commitment to the maturation of baptismal faith is a personal responsibility that the adult above all must perceive as a priority on account of being involved in an ongoing process of the formation of his own personal identity. . . . [E]ven at this stage of life and with characteristic accentuations, accompaniment and growth in faith are necessary so that the adult may mature in that spiritual wisdom which illuminates and brings unity to the manifold experiences of his personal, family and social life” (259). In this workshop, we will explore a particular form of accompaniment by which one person — whether lay, consecrated religious, or ordained — journeys with another through spiritual, intellectual, human, and apostolic formation. Through spiritual accountability, an individual is held accountable to Jesus, to him or herself, and to the person accompanying him or her for the growth occurring in his or her life. Our aim with this form of accompaniment is to make missionary disciples of Jesus Christ — in other words, to accompany people in such a way so that they can then go share the Good News of the Gospel with others, and provide for others the spiritual, intellectual, human, and apostolic formation they, themselves, have received. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

“For [the Lord] will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday” (Psalm 91:3–6). In our daily lives — in our ministries, our families, our work, and so on — the spiritual battle is playing out, as we find ourselves tempted to distrust our Lord, or to turn from His ways, or to lose hope in His deep and personal love for us. Yet, we do not battle the temptations of the Evil One alone. Jesus has conquered the world, the flesh, and the devil for us, and He invites us to engage in spiritual combat with Him, in order to restore ourselves and all creation to the fullness God intends for us. This workshop will help us understand what spiritual combat is, within the context of Christ’s victory over the devil, and how to engage in it in our daily lives as members of the Body of Christ.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we read, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ . . . In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: ‘Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking’” (1324, 1327). By growing in intimacy with our Eucharistic Lord Jesus and seeking to center our lives around this supreme gift, we learn how to live as grace-filled Christians. In this workshop, we will explore what it means to be a disciple of our Eucharistic Lord and learn how to do so in a way that “breathes with both lungs” — that is, through the traditions of both the Christian East and Christian West (see St. John Paul II's Encyclical Letter, "On Commitment to Ecumenism," Ut unum sint 54). This workshop is, thus, for all of us, whether we are parents, priests, religious, lay catechists, schoolteachers, and so on.  This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

Spiritual Work with Specific Groups

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.

The discernment of one’s vocation is an important process for any young adult. Whether it be a vocation to holy matrimony, a form of consecrated life, or single life, every vocation is directed toward bringing us closer to God so we may share in union with Him. This workshop outlines some basic guidelines for this time of discernment, emphasizing that both a vocation itself, as well as this time of discernment, are ordered toward fostering a deeper relationship with God.

Guiding children in the ways of the faith, leading them into a relationship of love with the Blessed Trinity is a ministry to which many of us are called in various capacities — as parents, godparents, catechists, youth ministers, Catholic school teachers, pastors, and so on. For all of us with children in our care, the question arises: How do we reach each individual child with the truth, and lead him or her in a way that will help inspire a lifelong relationship with Jesus? This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to consider your own relationship with God — since we cannot effectively hand on a relationship with our heavenly Father to others if we, ourselves, are not grounded in such a relationship — and provide you with ways of getting to know the children in your care more deeply, so that you might better understand how God can work through you to form their minds, hearts, and souls into those of saintsThis workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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.

“And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them . . . and [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. . . .’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them” (Mark 10:13–14, 16). Jesus desires for children to come to Him. As parents, priests, catechists, and teachers, we can bring the children entrusted to our care to the Lord, so that He may bless them and fill them with His love. The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that we 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 workshop will reflect on key aspects of a child’s psyche from ages 6–12, and how we can build upon what is naturally occurring within children, in order to allow Jesus to draw them into the Heart of the Father.

“And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them . . . and [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. . . .’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them” (Mark 10:13–14, 16). Jesus desires that the little children come to Him. As parents, priests, catechists, and teachers, we can bring the children entrusted to our care to the Lord, so that He may bless them and fill them with His love. The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that we 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 workshop will reflect on key aspects of a child’s psyche from ages
3–6, and how we can build upon what is naturally occurring within children, in order to allow Jesus to draw them into the heart of the Father.

Counseling Focus
Specific Skills and Needs

In all of our interactions with others, even amidst crises and conflicts, we are called to remember St. John’s words: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). Facing crises and conflicts is inevitable, and if we’re not equipped to approach them from a Christian perspective, we can easily forget that each person involved is a beloved child of God. This workshop explores how we and those we serve can approach conflicts and crises in a manner that emulates Jesus’ approach to conflict. Whether the conflict is occurring in a personal relationship, or a professional or ministerial setting, following a Christ-centered approach can help each individual see Christ in each other and can lead them to work toward producing a fruitful and positive outcome for all involved. Looking to Christ’s example as One Who calmly, yet assertively, faced various conflicts and crises in His earthly ministry, we can understand that the first step toward engaging with others in a conflict or crisis situation begins with letting Christ lead the way.

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

Giving Counsel with Specific Groups

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

“[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.

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.

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.

“Formation in chastity and timely information regarding sexuality must be provided in the broadest context of education for love” (Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family, TMHS, 70). The gift of human sexuality and the virtue of chastity are meant to be taught in the context of love, because love empowers us to live chastely and recognize the gift of human sexuality. This workshop outlines the essential role of parents in forming their own children in a Christian vision of sexuality, guided by the resource As I Have Loved You by Dr. Gerard O'Shea. This workshop aids parents in their ability to detect signs that indicate when their children are ready to begin this formation, while offering strategies for approaching the topic clearly and delicately. It is especially meant for parents. However, this workshop is also beneficial for catechists, Catholic school teachers, parish catechetical leaders, youth ministers, and others who are in roles where they assist parents in how to teach their children about God’s plan for sexuality. This workshop's creation was made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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