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Q U A R T E R LY J O U R N A L O F T H E O F F I C E F O R C A T E C H E S I S The Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James I S S U E 1 0 - M AY 2 0 1 2

Mission We believe that through our ministry we continue the mission of Jesus Christ by enabling the people of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois to develop the gifts given them by the Spirit. In carrying out this mission, we strive to provide resources, service and leadership to all who are part of the educational mission of the Church: religious education, early childhood, elementary and secondary schools, and adult education. We do this in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Staff Jonathan F. Sullivan Director for Catechetical Ministries Chris Malmevik Associate Director of Catechesis Cynthia Callan Executive Secretary Jean Johnson Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marilyn Missel Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools Barbara Burris Associate Director of School Planning Kyle Holtgrave Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries Beth Schmidt Secretary for School Personnel, Youth and Young Adult Ministries


ast week my family and I took a short vacation to Green Bay. We enjoyed the usual sites, including a visit to the National Railroad Museum (for the kids) and a tour of Lambeau Field (for my wife and me). But the highlight of the trip was on the second day when we drove 20 minutes to Champion, Wisconsin, to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. This shrine is located at the spot of the only Church-approved Marian apparition in the United States. In 1859 Adele Brise, a youth Belgian immigrant, saw a woman in white standing between two trees. She was frightened by the vision, which reappeared a second time the following Sunday as she was walking to Mass. She asked a priest for advice and he told her she should ask it, “In the Name of God, who are you and what do you wish of me?” On her way home the lady appeared again and Adele did as she had been instructed. The lady replied, “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.” Adele was also told to “gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.” Adele dedicated the rest of her life to catechizing the children of rural Wisconsin, walking from community to community and later founding a school at the spot of the apparition. (It was closed in the 1920s and is now a sandwich shop, but some of the original blackboards are still hanging up!) Adele Brise is a wonderful example of the humility and perseverance needed for catechists today. The Blessed Mother’s call to “teach them what they should know for salvation” remains our calling whether as parents, catechists, Catholic school teachers, youth ministers, RCIA team members, or any number of other roles we play in our lives. I pray that, during this month of Mary, the Queen of Heaven will pray for you and all the catechists of our diocese so that we may fulfill her son’s will to make disciples in his Church.

In this issue . . . Book Reviews . . . 2 Diocesan Social Media Policy . . . 3 Choosing Catechists . . . 4 Techno Life Skills . . . 6 Around the Web . . . 7 DAEC . . . 8 Calendar of Events . . . 9

Book Review:

The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living Reviewed by Jonathan F. Sullivan


here’s a certain genre of Catholic writing that’s never particularly appealed to me. I’m not sure what to call it, but it encompasses parenting books and marriage advice, Catholic living and holiness “how-to”s. The defining characteristic of these books tends to be a hoitytoity know-it-all attitude that exalts one way of parenting or spirituality as “the way” above all others, without regard to the rich diversity of the Church’s history and practice. The Catholics Next Door is not that type of book. In fact Greg and Jennifer Willits go out of their way to assure readers that they don’t have all the answers, that they are just like the rest of us poor schlubs trying to honor God while making a living, raising a family, and attending to the rest of life’s demands. But, as they point out, there is holiness in that imperfection. Call it a “spirituality of the screwups”: In a way it helps to know we’re not the only screwups in this world. I suspect that many of the seemingly perfect parents sitting in the pew ahead of us at church, the ones with the angelic children, are screwups as well. I don’t know why that helps me, but it does. It’s good to remind ourselves, especially when we’re ready to throttle a kid who just spray-painted a brand new set of golf clubs, that you were a screwup before your kid was. And you still are. But you’re getting better, with the help of God. The Willits cover a wide range of topics in the book, from living with our neighbors to natural family planning, using technology for evangelization to the Eucharist. The connecting thread is a relentless focus on Christian living in the messiness and uncertainties of modern life. Jennifer and Greg take turns offering their own perspectives in short 2-3 page sections. This “he said, she said” style could have felt forced or trite, but the sections transition smoothly into each other and never feel jarring or forced. This is a testament both to their writing and to each author’s unique and engaging voice. I especially appreciated their encouragement and advice on family prayer. They recount their own travails in praying with their five children (leading to the chapter’s title: “Family-Rosary Wrestling”) and, as with the rest of the book, assure parents that being a “work in progress” is nothing to be ashamed of: “There will be victories and head-smacking embarrassments. But as long as we maintain our focus on Christ, stay close to him in the sacraments, and remain loyal to the teachings of our faith to the best of our abilities, we will be equipped to handle any challenge Gods wants to put before us.” The Catholics Next Door is a funny, inspiring, and down-to-earth book on Christian living. I recommend it to imperfect Christians everywhere.


New Diocesan Social Media Policy Promulgated Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has signed a new diocesan social media policy which goes into effect on July 1. The complete policy is available to read on the diocesan web site. The policy applies to “all priests and deacons incardinated in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois… members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life (religious) and lay persons who are employed full-time or part-time in the parishes, schools, agencies and other institutions of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and all volunteers associated with the diocese.” The intent of the policy is to encourage the use of social media and other communications technologies in appropriate and constructive ways on behalf of the Church’s mission. Training sessions on the new policy and on the use of social media in general are scheduled around the diocese in June: June 4, 6p-8p – Catholic Pastoral Center (Springfield) June 5, 6p-8p – St. Anthony (Effingham) June 7, 10a and 7p – Webinars June 12, 6p-8p – St. Ambrose (Godfrey) June 14, 6p-8p – St. Peter (Quincy) June 21, 6p-8p – Immaculate Conception (Mattoon) More information on trainings will be sent to parishes and schools next week.


Choosing Caechists for Next Year: More Than Just Filling Empty Slots on the Roster By Joyce Donahue


the catechetical year winds down, catechetical leaders may find they have a few openings for catechists for next year when some who have been helping step away from the ministry. What is good to keep in mind at this time is that this is much more than just finding “warm bodies” - or even the most will-

Unlike the message suggested in the poster to the left, maybe the “selling point” is that when a person becomes a catechist he or she has an opportunity to use his/her talents to be part of something really big and important - the effort to further the apostolic mission of the Church. It is NOT, however, primarily a matter of the personal satisfaction of the catechist. It is, in fact, the result of a specific charism. It is a ministry of service that should only be performed by those who are qualified by a genuine call and the gifts to carry it out.. Satisfaction may be, in fact, a nice side-effect of service, but it is not the reason to serve. In fact, the vocation of catechist is a holy and important one, which arises from one’s baptismal call to evangelize. The Guide for Catechists (Vatican, Office of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, 1993) has this to say about choosing catechists:

ing volunteers -to fill the empty places on the roster. Rather, quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to choosing and recruiting catechists. Being choosy will definitely pay off when you find the person who is willing to make the commitment and who has real ability to spread the Gospel well.


Absolute precedence must be given to quality. A common problem is certainly the scarcity of properly trained candidates. The character of the catechist is of prime importance, and this must influence the criteria for selection and the program for training and guidance. The words of the Holy Father [John Paul II] are illuminating: “For such a fundamental evangelical service a great number of workers are necessary. But, while striving for numbers, we must aim above all today at securing the quality of the catechist”. (5)

This short document contains much useful in their piety and daily life; love for the wisdom for the parish leader regarding the Church and communion with its Pastors; choice and training of catechists. It names as apostolic spirit and missionary zeal; love key qualities of the spirituality of a catechist: for their brothers and sisters and a willingness to give generous service; sufficient openness to God, openness to the Church and missionary openness to the world”, “cohereducation; the respect of the community; ence and authenticity of life, the human, moral and techas well as devotion to Mary, nical qualities necessary for “look for the who is “living catechism” the work of a catechist, such “living “mother and model of catas dynamism, good relawitnesses” echists”. Also named are tions with others, etc. (18) in your attitudes, such as service, community attentiveness to the poor and So, who do you look for? people with the aged, ability to play an Don’t just take the person active role in inculturating the who volunteers for everya faith story to faith for those they teach and thing. Don’t “guilt” someone share” “a spirit of ecumenism.” into doing it. Don’t strongarm parents into teaching In Part II, Choice and Formation of Catso they can “follow their kids” through the echists, the document goes further: program. Parents, in fact, may or may not be the most suitable catechists. Instead, look Importance of a proper choice. It is diffor the “living witnesses” in your community ficult to lay down rules as to the level of - people with a faith story to share - who are faith and the strength of motivation that a adept at telling that story. Look for those who candidate should have in order to be achave authentic lives, who live the teachings of cepted for training as a catechist. Among the Church, who have that sense of “apostolic the reasons for this are: the varying levels zeal” the Guide refers to. These are your true of religious maturity in the different ecclecatechists. sial communities, the scarcity of suitable and available personnel, socio-political The Guide for Catechists is a hidden gem, well conditions, poor educational standards worth the time spent studying it - it explains and financial difficulties. But one should selection, formation, and standards for catechists, including a key point: “authenticity of not give in to the difficulties and lower one’s standards. (17) life” - the requirement that the catechist does not live one kind of life for church and ministry and another, for their personal fulfillment. The Guide also says this: It has much wisdom and perspective to offer. Some criteria concern the catechist’s perIf you are in catechetical ministry, put it on son. A basic rule is that no one should be your summer reading list. accepted as a candidate unless he or she is positively motivated and is not seeking the Joyce Donahue is a Catechetical Associate for the post simply because another suitable job is Diocese of Joliet. This article was originally posted not available. Positive qualities in candion her blog: liturgycatechesisshallkiss.blogspot. dates should be: faith that manifests itself com. Reprinted with permission.


e f i Techno L Skills By Kevin Kelly (

If you are in school today the technologies you will use as an adult tomorrow have not been invented yet. Therefore, the life skill you need most is not the mastery of specific technologies, but mastery of the technium as a whole -- how technology in general works. I like to think of this ability to deal with any type of new technology as techno-literacy. To be at ease with the flux of technology in modern-day life you’ll need to speak the language of the technium, and to master the following principles: Anything you buy, you must maintain. Each tool you use requires time to learn how to use, to install, to upgrade, or to fix. A purchase is just the beginning. You can expect to devote as much energy/money/time in maintaining a technology as you did in acquiring it.

habits of email don’t work in twitter. The habits of twitter won’t work in what is next. Take sabbaticals. Once a week let go of your tools. Once a year leave it behind. Once in your life step back completely. You’ll return with renewed enthusiasm and perspective. How easy to switch? You will leave the tool you are using today at some time in the near future. How easy will it be to leave? If leaving forces you to leave all your data behind, or to learn a new way of typing, or to surrender four other technologies you were still using, then maybe this is not the best one to start. Quality is not always related to price. Sometimes expensive gear is better, sometimes the least expensive is best for you. Evaluating specs and reviews should be the norm.

Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything until 5 minutes before you need it. Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. Therefore acquire at the last possible moment. You will be newbie forever. Get good at the beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliticting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself). Often learning a new tool requires unlearning the old one. The habits of using a land line phone don’t work in email or cell phone. The


For every expert opinion you find online seek an equal but opposite expert opinion somewhere else. Your decisions must be made with the full set of opinions. Understanding how a technology works is not necessary to use it well. We don’t understand how biology works, but we still use wood well. Tools are metaphors that shape how you think. What embedded assumptions does the new tool make? Does it assume right-handedness,

or literacy, or a password, or a place to throw it away? Where the defaults are set can reflect a tool’s bias.

Be suspicious of any technology that requires walls to prevent access. If you can fix it, modify it or hack it yourself, that is a good sign.

What do you give up? This one has taken me a long time to learn. The only way to take up a new technology is to reduce an old one in my life already. Twitter must come at the expense of something else I was doing -- even if it just daydreaming.

The proper response to a stupid technology is to make a better one yourself, just as the proper response to a stupid idea is not to outlaw it but to replace it with a better idea.

Every new technology will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs. The risks of a new technology must be compared to the risks of the old technology, or no technology. The risks of a new dental MRI must be compared to the risks of an x-ray, and the risks of dental x-rays must be compared to the risks of no x-ray and cavities.

Nobody has any idea of what a new invention will really be good for. To evaluate don’t think, try. The second order effects of technology usually only arrive when everyone has one, or it is present everywhere. The older the technology, the more likely it will continue to be useful. Find the minimum amount of technology that will maximize your options.

This article was originally posted at under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.


round the web

Prayer Table Ideas for Religious Educators This is a great list of ideas for setting up and incorporating a prayer table compiled by Jared Dees! Games for a Change - This 10-minute video shows how games can be used to teach about values, culture, and history. How to REALLY Use Social Media for Ministry This video from Peter and Paul Ministries in Chicago offers great suggestions for incorporating social media in your ministry. A More Worshipful Catechesis Joe Paprocki offers his thoughts about situating catechesis in a robust environment of prayer. Working with Volunteers John Rinaldo of the Diocese of San Jose has been writing an excellent series on his blog about recruiting, training, and sustaining volunteer ministers.


D ioce san A d ul t Enri ch me nt C onferen ce

NOVEMBER 4-5, 2012 Decatur Conference Center & Hotel Decatur, Illinois

Keynote Speaker

R e v e r e n dwo rd Roon f ibre .eo rrg t B a r r o n Sunday Evening Concert

Contact Information

John Burland

Office for Catechesis 217-698-8500, ext. 178

Closing Address

Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki

Conference Fee

Bishop, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois

Both Days: $50.00 One Day: $40.00

Daily Prayer and Sunday Eucharist

Special Room Rates at

Decatur Conference Center and Hotel

Breakout Sessions and Specialty Workshops

ALL Adult Catholics, Catechists, Clergy, Educators, DREs, Liturgists, Musicians, RCIA Teams, Teachers and Youth Ministers

Registration Brochures available after August 1, 2012

Art: Anna Sophia Keller Sacred Heart, Effingham, Illinois

Sponsored by the Office for Catechesis and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Made possible in part by the Annual Catholic Services Appeal

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National Conference of Catechetical Leadership Convention – “Embrace Grace” May 7-10, 2012 San Diego, California Diocesan Social Media Training Various dates and locations; see page 3 National Black Catholic Congress XI July 19-22, 2012 Indianapolis, Indiana Wading Deeper August 3-4, 2012 Holy Family Litchfield, Illinois Catechetical Sunday September 16, 2012 Year of Faith October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013 Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference November 4-5, 2012 Pre-Conference November 3, 2012 Decatur Conference Center & Hotel Decatur, Illinois CORE Retreat March 5-6, 2013

“Catholicism is not first and foremost about sexual ethics, or abortion, or liturgy, or justice and peace, or environmental stewardship. Rather it is about coming to know, to love and to serve God. Perhaps the rest follows, but it follows and does not lead, and nor is it an acceptable substitute for faith.” – John Haldane, speech at Catholic University of America (April 2012)

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

COREnotes May 2012 - Issue 10

The Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James

Office for Catechesis 1615 W. Washington • P.O. Box 3187• Springfield, IL 62708-3187 217.698.8500 ph • 217.698.8620 fax •

COREnotes Issue 10  

Ss. Philip and James

COREnotes Issue 10  

Ss. Philip and James