Diocese of Duluth
Welcome to the Diocese of Duluth Home Page!
We hope that through your experience with these workshops, you would more deeply encounter the great love that Christ has for you and be filled with the courage and zeal needed to share Christ with those you meet!
From this landing page, you can create your account and get logged in. Upon logging in, you will see on your dashboard, that you have access to the workshops that have been developed by the Catechetical Institute.
There are different tracks to choose from, some of which have been organized below in Learning Tracks.
If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me. Thank you for the great work you are doing to build the Kingdom in our diocese!
This workshop explores the most critical element in the graced work of passing on the faith – you. Because the content of the faith is a Person – the Person of Christ – the person of the catechist is pivotal for success. The vocation of the catechist is to be a witness of Christ’s goodness, of His zeal, of His ways, of Him – to be like the Master. “Whatever be the level of his responsibility in the Church, every catechist must constantly endeavor to transmit by his teaching and behavior the teaching and life of Jesus” (CT 6). This calling is both joyfully thrilling, and jarringly daunting. It is a supernatural work, beyond our natural capacities. “Catechesis . . . is consequently a work of the Holy Spirit, a work that He alone can initiate and sustain in the Church” (CT 72). And sustain in you. This foundational workshop offers inspiration, insight, and guidance to encourage catechists as they strive to live out their privileged vocation.
Mother Church insists that catechesis that truly evangelizes hearts, and that meets souls in the place of greatest need, must be unshakably centered upon Him who is our beginning and our end – Jesus Christ. We teach Jesus, and everything we teach, we teach in reference to Him, thus teaching Christo-centrically. Come explore how to unfold the life-giving truths of our faith with Jesus placed clearly at the center of all things: our teaching content, our teaching methods, and our own personal witness to others whom God has called us to love.
Throughout the generations, the Word of God has been handed on as a precious jewel. The Church has guarded this Deposit of Faith so that the saving message of hope might shine out for all to see. Now it is up to us. It is our turn to hand on this jewel, unscathed. It is up to us to catechize, continuing the unbroken chain of passing on the faith throughout the ages. The term catechesis comes from two Greek words meaning, “to echo down,” reflecting the call to us to “echo down,” to hand on, the whole of the faith in its saving fullness. This Deposit of Faith is summed up for our times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will look at this important teaching tool for catechesis in this workshop, to discover how we, too, can effectively pass on the precious deposit of Christian teaching. And in learning how to do this, we are able to insert our own name into St. Paul’s exhortation, “O catechist, guard what has been entrusted to you.”
This workshop will explore the necessary connection of catechesis to the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church in our work as catechists. The liturgy comes from the “living memory” of the Church, that is, the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit working in the liturgy, the truths of the faith are passed on, like a special family memory, from generation to generation, to the present day. Each time we participate in the liturgy we receive the treasure of the Deposit of Faith. But the liturgy is more than a family heirloom – it is reality, the place in which “Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings” (CT 23). As catechists, we have a call, the privilege of assuring that those we catechize understand and grow in appreciation for this encounter with God. We bring others into God’s saving work in the liturgy so they too can become transformed by He who loves us fully. We teach about the liturgy to pass on the magnificent inheritance of faith to the next generation, echoing the action of catechists from the centuries before us.
Knowing and understanding Scripture is essential in the life of a catechist. This workshop will explore how God’s Word, transmitted in Sacred Scripture, grounds and deepens our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. In Scripture, we see the sweeping Plan of God, the history of salvation unfolded. We hear His stunning and steadfast invitation to communion with Him. Sacred Scripture ought to permeate all forms of catechesis, as well as our personal lives as catechists. Through creating lesson plans saturated with the Scriptures, we foster a profound encounter with the Divine – love and challenge, wisdom and hope, forgiveness and mercy, and the means to know God and to know ourselves. By breaking open the Scriptures in each catechetical session, we unlock the mystery of Christ, revealing to those we teach the One they desire to know, fostering life-changing intimacy with God.
This workshop will introduce participants to biblical catechesis through an ancient catechetical technique: the use of the Story of the Bible. The most important historical events of the Bible can be briefly described in one Story, connected by one common theme: union with God. The Story of the Bible portrays the drama of God’s love for every soul and the whole human race: how God created us to be united with Him in a relationship of love; how we lost union with God through the original sin; how Jesus re-united us with God in a relationship of love through His passion, death and Resurrection; and how the Holy Spirit fosters a continuing unfolding of those saving events in the life of Church, as the Lord’s Bride. Often in a catechetical setting we fall into the habit of teaching individual topics without reference to the greater context of salvation history. In order to draw others into the life of God and the Church we have to help them make this Story of the Bible their own. Everything that the Church teaches, her doctrines, disciplines, worship, and morality makes sense when delivered within the context of the Story of the Bible. The Story of the Bible tells us of our spiritual roots, our dignity, our destiny, and daily vocation to follow Jesus Christ, providing peace and authentic hope to those we seek to teach and evangelize.
“The content of catechesis cannot be indifferently subjected to any method” (General Directory for Catechesis 149). Every good catechist seeks in some organized fashion to give growth to the seed of faith, to nourish hope, and to develop a deeper desire to love God and neighbor. In this workshop, we will explore a method that is highly suited to the goals of catechesis, and flows from a study of how the Church’s many catechetical saints sought to pass on the beauty, truth, and goodness of Christ’s saving revelation.
The goal of catechesis is participation in God’s life. It is critical that catechists learn how to effectively engage the young mind and heart of each child, encourage each child to respect and love the things of the faith, and help each child discover the wonderful love of a gentle Father. This very basic workshop focuses on the most fundamental catechetical methodologies that will enable the catechist of children to facilitate intimacy with God and fidelity to the Church. Methods and techniques will be demonstrated that encourage children to grow in wonder and awe, as they deepen their love for God and His truths.
The General Directory of Catechesis says that, “Catechesis for adults, since it deals with persons who are capable of an adherence that is fully responsible, must be considered the chief form of catechesis” (GDC 59). Is this what most adult Catholics understand? Do most parishes orient sufficient resources to this endeavor? Do the methods employed in parishes reflect the best possible principles for adult learning, which differ from methodology employed for children and adolescents? This workshop will explore techniques to evangelize, catechize, and form faith in adults most effectively, given that the principle places of adult formation are in the family and in the parish.
This workshop sharpens a few of your philosophical tools for teaching the faith. Philosophy, far from putting our lessons out of reach of our audience, actually appeals to the reason of those we teach; it helps us explain doctrine so that it “makes sense,” rather than just falling back on, “because I said so.” This workshop will provide examples of philosophically approaching the faith by exploring both a Catholic and a secular worldview, as well as what these two approaches mean for the human person, ultimately helping us prepare our learners to answer Jesus’ crucial question to His apostles and to each one of us, “Who do you say that I am?”
In order to pass on the truths of Faith in season and out, the catechist must be securely grounded in Christ. This workshop will consider the richness of the Catholic spiritual life as it pertains specifically to the life of the catechist. Prayer is not the “last ditch effort” of defense for us as catechists, but our first line of defense - the wings on which every effort should soar. Our society often has trouble recognizing that the invisible spiritual realities are in fact “more real,” and certainly more lasting, than the physical realities we touch, see, hear, and experience daily. A review of the spiritual tools of the trade is thus appropriate to help us as catechists joyfully incorporate prayer as our first, middle, and last act of the day, and of the teaching session, creating an environment for catechesis that is permeated by prayer.
The 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.
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.
What is good youth ministry in today’s Church? Every ministry to young people needs to have a clear mission and purpose, rooted in the larger mission of the Church, and needs to be able to identify clear values in the way that ministry is carried out. In this workshop, we look specifically at the essential components to a vibrant, effective approach to parish ministry for young people.
“Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us” (CCC 2560). Jesus not only desires to have a relationship with youth, but with youth ministers as well. In fact, God cares more about doing ministry to people than he cares about people doing ministry for others. This workshop focuses on God’s intense love for us, and places that personal relationship as the center for all our ministry.
“So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils.” (Mark 3: 13-14) The theme of discipleship is strong in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' document called Renewing the Vision. This workshop looks at what discipleship entails and what it means to help teens be not just a follower of Christ, but a disciple of Christ. And through helping teens become disciples of Christ, we help them along this path of companionship with Christ both now and to eternity.
Faith seeks understanding. Yet, understanding the social teachings of the Catholic Church is not enough. Teens need to be drawn into the apostolic life and mission of the Church, and be given tangible opportunities to experience that life at work. This workshop addresses the critical nature of outreach and service, and offers excellent resources for mobilizing teens for service and leadership. It also addresses the apostolic nature of the Church, and the great gift of priestly and religious vocations, helping youth ministers to understand how to draw young people into a greater awareness of that gift.
The responsibility of passing on the faith to a young person begins first and foremost with his or her family, particularly the parents. St. John Paul II wrote that catechesis within the family has “a special character, which is in a sense irreplaceable” (Familiaris Consortio 68). Though the teenage years are often characterized as a time of rebellion from the family, the ‘National Study of Youth and Religion’ found that a young person is more likely than not to reflect the religiosity of his or her parents. Parents are the hinge-point of successfully and consistently reaching most teens. It is therefore essential that those in youth ministry understand their role is to provide support, empower, and partner with families.
What does it mean to serve in a diverse parish? Cultural diversity has always been at the heart of the Church: “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). This workshop explores how to navigate the intercultural reality that many parish programs experience, so that we can effectively bring the love of Christ to each person and help all within the community feel a part of the Body of Christ. In doing so, fostering a respect for the dignity of each person, honoring the pivotal importance of family culture, and making the effort to grow in intercultural competence become key highlights in any successful ministry approach.
“At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2). When the Second Person of the Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us, everything changed. He used to speak through others, now He comes to us personally. This model of “incarnational ministry” should be at the foundation of our efforts to reach teens. For ministry to be effective, it has to be intentionally and consistently relational. As St. John Bosco once wrote that it was important “not only that the (youth) be loved, but that they know they are loved.” We explore how to do that safely and effectively in the current culture.
“The most effective catechetical programs for adolescents are integrated into a comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth…” (NDC p. 201). The craft of passing on the faith is never a generic work. It is specifically attuned to those being drawn towards the Lord’s goodness. This workshop looks at the distinct features of adolescent catechesis as discussed by the National Catechetical Directory, with practical examples of how to utilize them in a youth ministry setting.
Understanding universal catechetical principles, such as the primacy of relational ministry, are important for every type of formation and outreach, yet these principles come to life in the context of each ministry’s unique demands. For youth ministry, though many elements of methodology are discussed in our other workshops, this workshop provides an opportunity to have specific questions answered about the ecclesial method applied to adolescents, retreat and semester planning, and effective ways to speak to groups of teens.
How do we keep our focus on serving the Holy Spirit’s plan and empowerment, and not our own ways and human strength? Pope Paul VI wrote, “techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit” (Evangelii Nuntandi 75). No one responds to the gospel without first being drawn by the Holy Spirit, and no one can live the high calling of the Christian life without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. When we forget that outreach is a work of God, we burn-out. This workshop explores who the Holy Spirit is and His work in personal conversion and our accepting with joy the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Church.
In his introduction to the Youcat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), Pope Benedict XVI challenges young people: “You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith . . . so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination.” This exhortation holds true not only for young people, but also for us, those who minister to them. If we are to effectively hand on the truths of the Catholic faith and the beauty of holy Mother Church to the young, we must, ourselves, be immersed in our Lord’s teachings and continually seeking to know Him more. This workshop has a special focus on the formation of the youth minister and helps us understand the immense importance of making our study of Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, salvation history, and so on, an indispensable aspect of our lives and our work.
“[Adolescence] is characterized by the drive for independence, and at the same time by the fear of beginning to separate from the family context; this creates a continual to and fro between bursts of enthusiasm and setbacks. . . . It is therefore to be the concern of the community and the catechist to make room within themselves for grasping and accepting without judgment and with sincere educational passion this adolescent search for freedom, starting to channel it toward an open and daring life plan” (Directory for Catechesis 248). Adolescence can be a trying time, because it is a period involving monumental changes for a young person. It is beneficial to develop a holistic view of adolescence and what occurs during adolescent development, in order to speak to the heart of a young person and lead him or her closer to the Lord. Young people have the desire to do something daring and purposeful with their lives. We can help fulfill this desire by inviting them to follow Jesus. The goal of this workshop is to help youth ministers, parents, teachers, and those who minister to teens understand the development of teenagers — biological, cognitive, and social-emotional — in order to effectively minister to them.
In the Directory for Catechesis we read: “The Church today looks with greater attentiveness at the passage from the age of youth to that of adulthood. . . . New approaches to pastoral and catechetical action must therefore be conceived that would help the Christian community to interact with young adults, supporting them in their journey” (256). In order to effectively minister to adolescents and young adults, it is critical that we understand some of the facets of youth culture and how to enter into it, so that we might shed light on what is good, and call young people into relationship with Jesus Christ. This workshop will provide guidance for all who work with young people as to how to better understand the culture in which they’re growing up, relate to them through their culture, share the Gospel message with them effectively, and accompany them on their journey of faith.
“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out . . . And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons” (Mark 1:35, 39). In the course of Jesus’ ministry, He took a step beyond by entering into our humanity and taking on a human nature. He also took a step beyond the comforts and familiarities of His home, in order to build relationships with individuals and draw them into the Heart of the Father. In our ministry to young people, we are called to do the same — to step beyond our comfort zones, beyond the boundaries of our parish, in order to help the young people in our care be drawn deeper into the Heart of our loving Father, experience the beauty of the Church, and see Christ and love Him in others. In this workshop, we will look at the benefits and practical considerations of incorporating events (especially those outside of our parish) into our ministry with young people, specifically through relational events, spiritual events, and service-focused events.
“Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 357). The dignity of the human person dwells in relationship. It resides first and foremost in our relationship with God, Who created us in His image and calls us always to Himself. It resides, as well, in our relationships with others, who share in our humanity. Each of our ministries within the Church includes a call to relationship, and always a call to foster healthy and healing relationships. As we will learn in this workshop, certain communication skills underlie all healthy, healing relationships. Parish ministers are not therapists, but practicing these healthy ways of communicating encourages healthy relationships and can even foster healing amidst those they serve. Let us approach this workshop, then, ever mindful of the precious dignity of those our heavenly Father places in our path, and of the beautiful way in which each person we encounter holds within him or herself the astounding identity of being a child of God.
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. . . . . Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27). Here St. Paul teaches us that we are members of Christ’s Body, and as we see throughout 1 Corinthians 12, each member of the Body of Christ is vital and serves a specific purpose. In youth ministry, there are various individuals that aid in evangelizing and catechizing young people, so that they might fall deeper in love with our Lord and His Body, the Church. As the Body of Christ, interdependency is fundamental for our fidelity to God and success in serving others. This workshop will explore the broader picture of youth ministry — that is, how we work with our bishop and diocese, our pastor, other members of the parish staff, and adult volunteers — in order to better understand and appreciate the various members of the Body of Christ, and work together as one Body in the service of young people.
This workshop outlines the Church’s purpose and understanding of sacred liturgy in light of God’s wonderful plan of salvation. It helps youth ministers develop a Catholic identity with their teens through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, offering pragmatic and well-tested ways to help teens participate in the liturgy, as well as strategies to help teens see the Eucharist as the ‘source and summit’ of their lives.
This workshop offers a summary outline of the basic principles of Catholic morality and how our moral life is rooted not merely in a code of ethics or a set of rules, but profoundly in the Person of Jesus. It discusses some of the major moral issues we face in our society today, and equips all who teach the faith — whether youth ministers, catechists, Catholic school teachers, and so on — with the tools to establish a sure foundation for right moral thinking, both in themselves and in those to whom they minister.
This workshop gives an overview of St. John Paul II’s magnificent “Theology of the Body” as a foundational Christian anthropology, while also showing its implications for sexuality, morality, and youth ministry. It explores excellent activities, assignments, and resources to use in the ministry situations. Participants in this workshop will ultimately learn ways of using the Theology of the Body to address some of the greatest concerns of today’s teenagers.