語言

Franciscan at Home

Forming those who form others

Diocese of London, Ontario

Welcome to the Diocese of London home page. We are happy to partner with Franciscan at Home to provide many formation and learning opportunities for priests, deacons, LEMS, volunteers and parishioners in the Diocese of London.  You are welcome to use any of the workshops that this platform offers for your own personal learning or as part of your ministry with small groups, RCIA or sacramental prep.

We also offer the Certificate in Youth Ministry in-person / online program in partnership with the Catechetical Institute, partnering with them to help them in their quest of “Forming those who form others.” They have created several workshops that do just that, and we are excited to share them with our Diocese.

Certificate in Youth Ministry (CYM)

Expectations

  • Register with Christine Coyle at [email protected], to arrange billing for the program and she will send you more information. 
  • Complete 19 track workshops and 5 electives over a 2 year period (24 courses in total).
  • Moving forward we will be completing the main workshops in person 4 times a year, on a Saturday, locations will be determine. You will complete at least 3 workshops per Saturday session. Christine will send you more information on these sessions.
  • An assignment will be given to you to complete at the end of each in-person workshop day. Assignment due dates will be determined.
  • Complete Orientation - TBA- depending on when you sign up.
  • Electives can be completed on-line at your own pace within the two year period. We just ask that you check with with Christine and let her know which electives you will be studying.

If you do not require certification, we welcome you to participate in any workshops, please just let Christine Coyle know.

 

Learning Tracks

Foundations of Catechesis
Required Workshops

“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.

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.

“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.

“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 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 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.

“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.

Adult Catechesis and RCIA
Required Workshops

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.

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.

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.

 

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

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

In regard to the catechumenate, Mother Church teaches us that an individual’s motives for joining the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) “. . . should be examined, and if necessary, purified” (Ad gentes, “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity” 13). This examination and purification requires mutual discernment between the individual and the Church to ensure that a person is freely choosing to become Catholic, ready to pass through the liturgical rites that occur in the RCIA process, and that he or she is authentically becoming Christ’s disciple. This workshop gives an overview of why discerning readiness for the rites is a critical aspect in the RCIA process, why it is important to conform our minds and hearts to the intentions of the Church in this regard, and it demonstrates ways for the RCIA participants and team members to mutually discern an individual’s readiness.

First Communion and First Reconciliation
Required Workshops

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

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

“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.

“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.

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

As teachers — whether in a school, a parish setting, or in the home — it is our deep desire that those we teach truly learn and desire to keep learning. Mother Church “exhorts the faithful to assist to their utmost in finding suitable methods of education and programs of study and in forming teachers who can give youth a true education” (Second Vatican Council’s “Declaration on Christian Education,” Gravissimum educationis 6). With so many different teaching styles and educational philosophies being practiced, and our own experiences of having been taught in different contexts, it can be difficult to sort through what bears the most fruit in the lives of those we serve and what might be hindering their ability to learn and love learning. In this workshop, we will explore a number of teaching principles that are research-based, tried and true, from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori and that of Dr. John Hattie. As our presenter will say, the principles in this workshop are the best of contemporary teaching strategies, meaning these strategies have been shown to be highly effective — and therefore are of great interest to all of us teachers! This workshop is, in a special way, geared toward those who teach children. However, the principles discussed can be adapted and applied to anyone, and thus this workshop will benefit teachers in all situations.

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.

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.

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

Confirmation
Required Workshops

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

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

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.

“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.

As teachers — whether in a school, a parish setting, or in the home — it is our deep desire that those we teach truly learn and desire to keep learning. Mother Church “exhorts the faithful to assist to their utmost in finding suitable methods of education and programs of study and in forming teachers who can give youth a true education” (Second Vatican Council’s “Declaration on Christian Education,” Gravissimum educationis 6). With so many different teaching styles and educational philosophies being practiced, and our own experiences of having been taught in different contexts, it can be difficult to sort through what bears the most fruit in the lives of those we serve and what might be hindering their ability to learn and love learning. In this workshop, we will explore a number of teaching principles that are research-based, tried and true, from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori and that of Dr. John Hattie. As our presenter will say, the principles in this workshop are the best of contemporary teaching strategies, meaning these strategies have been shown to be highly effective — and therefore are of great interest to all of us teachers! This workshop is, in a special way, geared toward those who teach children. However, the principles discussed can be adapted and applied to anyone, and thus this workshop will benefit teachers in all situations.

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 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.

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

“[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.

Pastoral Accompaniment
Required Workshops

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

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.

 

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.

“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.

“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.

Ministry to the Family
Required Workshops

“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 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.

“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.

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.

“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.

“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.

First Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

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

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

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

Culture and Context of Youth Ministry

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

The responsibility of passing on the faith to a young person begins first and foremost with his or her family, particularly the parents. St. John Paul II wrote that catechesis within the family has “a special character, which is in a sense irreplaceable” (Catechesi tradendae, CT, 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 that their role is to provide support for families, empower them, and partner with them.

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

Catechetical Formation of Adolescents

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

“The most effective catechetical programs for adolescents are integrated into a comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth…” (National Directory for Catechesis, 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 Directory for Catechesis, 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. Though many elements of methodology are discussed in our other workshops, this workshop provides answers for specific questions concerning youth ministry, such as the Ecclesial Method applied to adolescents, retreat and semester planning, and effective ways to speak to groups of teens.

Second Year Youth Ministry
Foundations

How do we keep our focus on serving the Holy Spirit’s plan and empowerment, and not our own ways and human strength?  Pope Paul VI wrote, “techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit” (Evangelii Nuntandi 75).  No one responds to the Gospel without first being drawn by the Holy Spirit and no one can live the high calling of the Christian life without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. When we forget that outreach is a work of God, we burn out. This workshop explores Who the Holy Spirit is, 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 our formation as youth ministers and helps us understand the immense importance of making our study of Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, salvation history, and so on, an indispensable aspect of our lives and our work.

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

Culture and Context of Youth Ministry

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

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

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

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

Catechetical Formation of Adolescents

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

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

“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it,” (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.

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