Volume 27, Issue 1 Spring 2010
THE NORTH AMERICAN FORUM ON THE CATECHUMENATE
To Hold in Trust…Challenges and Invitations By Linda Krehmeier, Chair, Board of Directors This year, as we prepared for and then celebrated the Rite of Election here in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for some 250 catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion for another 250 candidates, I found myself reflecting once again on the journey by which these men and women came to be in our midst, professing their faith and seeking to live as followers of Jesus Christ. Working with these liturgies each year always draws me back to the heart of Lent. Once again I find myself reflecting on my own journey of conversion, a journey undertaken but not yet completed. Linda Krehmeier Working in initiation ministry on the diocesan level means that I do not have the privilege of sharing the faith journey of our elect in the same way that their parish leaders do. Yet, I have the privilege of sharing the journey of these parish leaders, their struggles and conversion experiences as we work together to deepen our understanding of and implementation of the process of initiation. This work is not done in a vacuum and it is not just education. I truly realized “Working in initiation ministry on the diocethis about 18 years ago san level means that I do not have the priviwhen asked to teach the Catechetics/RCIA course lege of sharing the faith journey of our elect at Oblate School of in the same way that their parish leaders do. Theology in San Antonio. Yet, I have the privilege of sharing the jourIt is one thing to tell others about the process, it is ney of these parish leaders, their struggles quite another to become a and conversion experiences as we work part of it – to allow oneself together to deepen our understanding of and to be formed and called to conversion as we work implementation of the process of initiation.” within the community of faith to help form and to Continued on page 6
The Mission of The North American Forum on the Catechumenate is the full implementation in all parishes ofthe Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and its implications for reconciliation.
Table of Contents Forum’s Newest Institute: Evangelizing Parish...................2 Generous Supporters: Matching Gifts Campaign........4 Forum's Easter Appeal.............5 Join Work of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change ..................5 Resource Reviews .....................7
A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation The Creed: Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology When They Come Home: Ways to Welcome Returning Catholics Words of Faith: Our Prayers 2010 Calendar.........................15
FORUM’S NEWEST INSTITUTE
Evangelizing Parish: Vision, Passion, Practice By Jim Schellman, Executive Director The Evangelizing Parish Institute is Forum’s newest formation offering. Dioceses are increasingly asking about it and offering to cosponsor it. In fact, this year one diocese is offering it as the continuing education experience for its clergy. The following summary description of the institute is Jim Schellman intended to whet parish leaders’ spiritual appetites for this powerful formation experience. It is a 2-day event that immerses participants in the Church’s vision of evangelization, develops deep enthusiasm for and attachment to this vision, and grounds this enthusiasm in some practical applications in the life of their parishes. Participants in the institute include all parish leaders: ordained, lay, paid, volunteer, all ministry coordinators (e.g., liturgical ministries, education, catechetics, social outreach), etc. As Pope Paul VI declared: “The Church exists to evangelize.” Overall Goal of Institute The institute’s overall goal is to present the Church’s vision of evangelization in such a way that participants feel compelled to reflect it in their own lives and to help their parishes become evangelizing communities. This provides the ground for the Church’s ministry of initiation. To achieve this, the Evangelizing Parish Institute has several specific objectives: • To provide a process in which the participants experi-
ence the scriptural and liturgical bases for the vision of evangelization • To invite participants to deepen their own commit-
ment to evangelization
• To challenge participants to explore the connections
between this vision and their parish’s way of life, with Sunday Eucharist at the heart • To provide working sessions in which parish leaders
craft some ways their parishes can take up the task of being an evangelizing parish • To connect evangelization with the ministries of initi-
ation and social justice Institute Dynamics The institute begins with the scripture of Genesis, the story of the garden, as the foundational image of a world in which God’s people are in right relationship with God, one another, and the world as a whole. The restoration of this garden of right relationship in Christ is the goal of evangelization, God’s very own transforming, redemptive work in which we are privileged to take part. The Acts of the Apostles from the Easter season lectionary then provides the basis for deepening this vision and the participants’ enthusiasm for how the faith of Christians is intended to change the world. The institute then moves to the Gospel of Matthew on the day of Pentecost for the full image of an evangelized and evangelizing people. It asks the question how this image can take concrete flesh in the parishes represented among the participants—how might we change the world, one step at a time. The event concludes with the celebration of the Sunday Vigil Mass and breaks open the image of the Sunday Eucharist as a primary form of evangelization. Come and See Check the Forum calendar for an Evangelizing Parish Institute near you. Go to www.naforum.org and click on Calendar. Come and see how this incomparable formation experience can help evangelize your parish leaders and people!
SPRING 2010 The North American Forum on the Catechumenate 125 Michigan Ave., NE Washington, DC 20017-1004 (202) 884-9758 Fax (202) 884-9747 www.naforum.org
Mission The North American Forum on the Catechumenate (Forum) is an international network of pastoral ministers, liturgists, catechists, and theologians united to share the vision and practice of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Mission Statement The mission of The North American Forum on the Catechumenate is the full implementation in all parishes of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and its implications for reconciliation. Theological Foundation The Mission of Forum is grounded in a theology based on the experience of ✦ God’s gracious initiative ✦ the paschal mystery of death and resurrection in Jesus Christ ✦ the prophetic power of word and sacrament ✦ the shared life and wisdom of the people of God , graced and sinful ✦ listening to the voice of the poor and oppressed ✦ conversion to the freedom of disciples ✦ working for justice and peace for the world Formational Principles To remain faithful to the vision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Forum adheres to these principles: ✦ Initiation begins with evangelization leading to conversion. ✦ Catechesis, community, liturgy, and mission are formative. ✦ All cultural gifts are honored and celebrated. ✦ The methods of theological reflection are pastoral.
✦ The processes of adult learning are normative. Organizational Traits Forum’s operations, behaviors, attitudes, and actions exhibit these traits: ✦ Excellence: The highest level of competence, creativity, and professionalism are strived for at all times. ✦ Stewardship: Human, material, environmental, and financial resources are administered with responsibility and accountability. ✦ Respect: The precepts that all life is sacred, that each human being is unique, and that all deserve to be treated with dignity are affirmed in speech and action. ✦ Collaboration: Cooperation, consultation, communication, and networking are normative for all Forum projects. ✦ Inclusivity: Forum relies on the diversity of gifts among its members and proactively seeks a full range of diversity in all areas of its ministry. ✦ Integrity: Honesty, justice, and ethical behavior are hallmarks of Forum’s work.
The FORUM Newsletter is published three times a year by The North American Forum on the Catechumenate and is available, free of charge, to all interested persons or institutions. Please address all correspondence to the address listed above. Permission is granted to all subscribers of the FORUM Newsletter to reprint any articles or news items in the newsletter (permission not granted for graphics and copyrighted text). Include the following notation with the reprint: "Reprinted from the FORUM Newsletter, (Date). No further reproduction permitted without permission. For more information contact The North American Forum on the Catechumenate, 125 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20017-1004- Send a copy of the reprint to Forum for our records. Copyright © 2010, The North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
Founder Rev. James B. Dunning (1937-1995)
Board . of Directors
Rev. William Burke Ottawa, Ontario
Sr. Miriam Malone, SNJM Los Gatos, California
Mr. James M. Schellman Executive Director, ext. 4
Mr. Steve Janco Forest Park, Illinois
Mr. Michelle Miller Ottawa, Ontario
Ms. Linda Krehmeier,
Rev. Richard Vega Chicago, Illinois
Ms. Aleli Belonia Institute Manager, ext. 3 Business Support, ext. 2
Albuquerque, New Mexico Sr. Priscilla Lemire, RJM Manchester, New Hampshire
Generous Supporters of Forum’s 6th Annual Matching Gifts Campaign Forum’s Sixth Annual Matching Gifts Campaign was launched in November 2009 and concluded at the end of the year. Over the years, this Campaign has become an essential means of support for Forum’s mission in the year following. We thank the many Forum members and friends who took part. Special thanks go to the large donors who provided the challenge grant to kick off the Campaign—
Rob Doerschner Steve & Kathleen Hopkins
John Page Thomas Weis
Those who generously gave $200 or more to help match the challenge grant were— Mike Bassett
Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Mike and Kathy Bates
Scott & Kathleen Brown
James and Andrea Schellman
Diocese of Lafayette (Louisiana)
Diocese of Springfield in Illinois
William & Helen Lyons Jennifer Manier
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Victoria Tufano
Forum’s Easter Appeal— for Cheerful Givers
Dear Member and Friend of Forum, This Easter Season we rejoice anew in the great gift of Baptism. In communities of faith throughout the world, the Lord has brought to birth thousands of new disciples fired by the Holy Spirit for the Lord’s own dear mission in our neighborhoods, nation, and world. These newly minted disciples of Christ have joined a great work, the Church’s work of helping to transform the world as we know it into the world God intends. The economic realities in our families and communities tell the story yet again of a world still tone-deaf in so many ways to the Lord’s generous, lifegiving mission. Together with us, our neophytes have so much work to do, the hard work both of charity and of justice. Help Forum continue to foster this central, disciple-making work of our community of faith. Forum’s incomparable ministry formation events are raising up a new generation of pastoral leaders who share your passion for evangelization leading to initiation and full discipleship for the sake of Christ’s mission. Please consider redirecting some of your giving this year to Forum’s ministry. We must raise 15 % of our operating needs through your generosity. No gift is too small. Those who can contribute $200 or more will be honored by name in the Forum Newsletter. Please make your donation online at www.naforum.org or mail it to: The North American Forum on the Catechumenate P.O. Box 79459, Baltimore, MD 21279-0459 USA In Christ, risen and gloriously among us in these holy 50 Days! James M. Schellman, Executive Director The North American Forum on the Catechumenate is a not-for-profit organization in the U.S. with a 501 (c) 3 IRS ruling. Contributions to Forum are 100% tax deductible under current U.S. law.
Join the Work of the Catholic Coalition By signing up at www.catholicsandclimatechange.org you will be kept upto-date on how you can put your faithful stewardship into action. You will receive regular email and action alerts reflecting the U.S. Bishops’ public policy priorities as well as news on efforts to care for creation from the Vatican, the U.S. Bishops, state Catholic conferences, dioceses, and parishes. Links for further information:
www.catholicclimatecovenant.org www.jubileeusa.org/climate www.unfccc.int.
Continued from page 1
journey with our elect and candidates. Paragraph 75 of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults outlines for us the focus of the catechumenate – each time I work with parish leaders and we spend time on this paragraph I find myself asking the same questions – Do I live this? Do we live this? As a member of the Board of Forum over the last year and now as I begin a two-year term as chair, I realize even more clearly that this formation, this conversion is the work of Forum under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit. For years Forum’s Institutes have provided countless parish and diocesan leaders the opportunity to immerse themselves in formational experiences designed to call all participants to live their baptismal commitment in the context of a community of faith and to deepen the initiation experiences of those to whom they minster.
In today’s world, Forum is being called to explore new ways of sharing its vision and resources. Our institutes will always be the heart of Forum. In the spirit of the early voices of Forum, we are committed to the realization of a fully implemented Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults resulting from evangelization and conversion through catechesis, liturgy, discipleship, and mission. We are challenged to discover the approaches and processes that will be most effective in our incredibly multicultural Church in the United States and Canada. I invite you to join other Forum members in support and prayer as the Board explores the possibilities that faith, creativity, cultural sensitivity, and technology place before us – challenges and invitations in the journey of conversion leading to initiation and full discipleship. Challenges and invitations also for the future of Forum.
RESOURCE REVIEW A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation By Neil A. Parent Published by Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (U.S.), 174 pages Reviewed by Marguerite Main
My first reaction upon reading Neil Parent’s new book, A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation, was “where was this book when I first began ministry in Adult Faith Formation 30+ years ago?” Though church documents since the early 1970’s have given voice to the concept of adult education as the “chief form of catechesis” (General Catechetical Directory, #20 ), no resource that I had seen then, nor since, gives such a complete overview of the approaches to adult learning and an understanding of the varying needs of adults as this guide. In this latest book in the Concise Guide Series, Neil Parent draws upon his vast experience in adult faith formation and addresses the impact of today’s culture upon the ability of adults to understand and live our faith. He challenges parishes to “bridge the gap between religion and life.” A parish that recognizes that it exists to bring
about the reign of God and that is actively involved through word and action in bringing that Good News to others is a parish that understands the connection between mission and adult faith formation. Those of us who minister to adults in the Rite of Christian Initiation recognize as a “given” that Christian faith is not a set of doctrines but a way of being in the world inspired by those doctrines. It is a faith that must make its way to the heart, not just be implanted in the head. It is a continuous, lifelong process. In an easy to read format, interspersed with personal stories from his own parish and adult faith formation experiences, Parent presents an historical overview of church documents relating to adult faith formation, the key dynamics relating to adult learning, suggested approaches to learning needs analysis, as well as program planning guidance and checklist. Each chapter includes reflection questions which would facilitate study and discussion by a parish faith formation team. There are also sections on the purposes of an adult faith formation team, its composition, and techniques for recruitment and support and training.
All of us who have been part of adult faith formation ministry know the frustrations we face, one of the most universal being low attendance or lack of motivation for people to attend programs we put on. Parent provides a variety of strategies and techniques to motivate adults, recognizing that there is no one factor to influence adults to attend. He presents ways to respond to the different type of learners and the importance of recognizing an adult’s experience in their learning process. He also stresses the importance of parish life, as he notes that one primary way a parish teaches is the way it mediates Catholic life through its liturgies, rituals, structures, services, and commissions. This challenges us to look at our parish through the eyes of a visitor or newcomer and ask what the parish is communicating through its lived experience. He states that “taking time to think through the lived messages of a parish will greatly help an adult education committee offer learning experiences that bear good potential for success” (Guide, pp. 111-112). A valuable addition to this book is the appendix. Included in this appendix are excerpts from relevant church documents, including the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and what it has to say about the formation process that serves as a model for catechesis (see RCIA #75). Also presented for reflection and study are questions for evaluating how our parish is communicating about Catholic life through its activities and its structures, ways to provide effective promotional material, and an extensive program planning guide. There are also resources for intergenerational learning, which is gaining popularity in more and more parishes. In addition to being a valuable guide for anyone involved in adult faith forma-
tion, A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation can be an effective tool for parish staffs and leaders. Parent has helpful suggestions for assisting parishes in assessing how the lived experience of the parish reflects or does not reflect the stated mission of the parish. I would strongly recommend this resource for all adult formation directors and others involved in parish adult leadership roles. Marguerite Main is currently a Forum Team member and consultant to the Seattle Archdiocesan RCIA Committee. She has thirty- five years experience in adult faith formation and RCIA, including six years on the Board of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
The Creed: Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology By Berard L. Marthaler, OFM Published by Twenty-Third Publications, Paper, $34.95 (U.S.) Reviewed by Mary Birmingham
Berard L. Marthaler’s revised and expanded The Creed belongs not only on the shelf of every catechist who ministers to adults, but is unequivocally an essential resource for those who minister to cate-
chumens. Once “elected” to the sacraments of initiation at the beginning of Lent, these newcomers to the faith stand before God and the Christian community to profess their belief in all that the Catholic Church teaches that God has revealed—all truths inherent in the Nicene Creed. It is one thing to profess such truth with conviction, it is quite another to delve deeply into what is meant by each phrase uttered. The formation of catechumens must include the latter. It is not a blind faith to which we give assent; it is an informed faith. The Church exists to witness to the majesty of God, to give God due praise and worship and to generate itself. One way the Church accomplishes this is by spreading the Christian kerygma—apostolic faith in Christ and the Christ event. Marthaler asserts that apostolic faith can be reduced to general creedal statements such as Jesus descended from David; he was Messiah and Son of God; he suffered, died, rose again; he sits at the Father’s right hand; all who repent and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, etc. While many different Christian creedal formulas were in circulation in antiquity, they all included the articles of faith just enumerated. They all wit-
while limited, is nonetheless their legacy to us today. nessed not simply to articles of belief, but to profound Through it we share their experience and are one with transformation of body, soul, and spirit by those who our ancestors in faith. Such finite language, whether professed them. Can the same be said today of those ancient or contemporary, is faith seeking expression. who similarly profess adherence to such creeds? Such is There is, however, a risk of such language finding its way Marthaler’s concern and reason for writing this worthy to dusty shelves where stale propositions and formulas catechetical resource. The author’s intention in revising his first seminal edi- languish in perpetuity. It is the Church’s job to keep such languishing from taking place, to assist each generation of The Creed is to aid in the effort of contemporary tion in expressing a relevant faith for today. Marthaler’s theologians to “restore meaning and relevance to the book is a great companion to the catechisms of our traclassic creeds” (Creed, p. 13) so that they not diminish dition that articulate our into obsolescence but instead faith and formulate our provide the same opportunity creed. Catechisms tell us for metanoia that was affordwhat we believe; Marthaler ed to the first communities “…in his effort to provide a well-baltells us why we believe it. who bravely staked their lives anced, broad-spectrum exegesis of the It is incidentally noteworon their profession of them. thy to draw attention to the He provides a thorough Creed we profess, Marthaler goes beyond first chapter and its exegesis review of the development, mere doctrinal exegesis and supplements of the ancient presentation purpose, function, and differof the creed to catechumens ences between various creeds it with biblical, theological, liturgical, (see p.6). He provides throughout the ages. and historical insights and contexts.” insightful explanatory mateMarthaler insists that rial of the ancient rite that is resources that center solely on still celebrated in today’s doctrinal issues, to the neglect of cultural and social factors and liturgical contexts, pro- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The genius of Marthaler’s resource is that in very readable fashion it vide a very limited perspective of the doctrine that is provides the historical and theological synthesis of every explicated. Thus, in his effort to provide a well-balarticle of faith to which catechumens give assent. Truly anced, broad-spectrum exegesis of the Creed we profess, this should be in every initiation minister’s arsenal of Marthaler goes beyond mere doctrinal exegesis and supresource material. plements it with biblical, theological, liturgical, and historical insights and contexts. Scattered throughout the Mary Birmingham is the director of liturgy, music, and Christian inibook are interesting historical vignettes and anecdotal tiation and is vision director for Whole Community Catechesis at material that situate the theology within real-life comAscension Parish in Melbourne, Florida. She has her MA in Liturgy munities—a lived faith. and Theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. A Team He reminds his readers that humans must express their deepest beliefs in verbal formulations. Such “formu- member of Forum, Mary has worked on the international, national, and diocesan levels in the area of initiation and sacramental and liturlations are at best feeble attempts to capture transcengical catechesis. She is the author of the 3-volume Word and dent mystery in finite language” (p. 103). The first comWorship Workbook, Years A, B, C (Paulist Press) and Year Round munities professed and celebrated that transcendent mys- Catechumenate (Liturgy Training Publications). tery with passion. The language we inherited from them,
When They Come Home: Ways to Welcome Returning Catholics By Melanie Rigney and Anna M. Lanave Published by Twenty-Third Publications, $9.95 (U.S.), 86 pgs. Reviewed by Clare Colella
It was delightful to enter the story of these two authors who themselves have experienced the process about which they write. Their book has the straightforward simplicity of their wisdom and insights. The introductory chapters establish a perspective
and offer statistics that are helpful. The first time I read it through I learned about the experiences of the authors and how that influenced how they continue to facilitate the program in their parish and ministries. They have certainly been “set on fire” and are glad to share their insights with others through this little volume. I found that their urban/suburban Virginia location differs from many other parish population profiles and some insights resonated, while some comments about other programs and the characteristics of returnees seemed too narrow, and somewhat judgmental. The flow of the short book included background on their paths back to active participation in the Catholic Church, as well as insightful recommendations about attitudes of parish leaders and team members, parish life and readiness to welcome those seeking to return to the Church, and assessing ways to reach out to invite inactive Catholics back to the parish. The later chapters focus on suggestions for gathering and discerning parish team leaders and members, for the initial meeting with each returnee, structuring the sessions, and their suggestions for a sequence of topics to be covered in the series of eight or so sessions, with a final chapter on “What next?” considerations. The section on Jesus in the chapter “Feeding the Flock” suggests a subtopic of “How is being Catholic different from being Christian” which is a strange title, but probably is
resources for team members. There is an assumed expecdesigned to speak the language of those who have been tation that team members are well versed in adult learninfluenced by evangelical Christian terminology. ing styles and have the skills of adult faith formation. Catholics ARE Christians. Simply having been through the journey back to the The format of the chapters is helpful in that each Church is not enough to includes bullet points or sidequalify someone to be a bars that are practical and team leader or team memreadily adaptable to others’ ber in this sensitive and needs. Several of the sidebars “This volume will be helpful especially sacred process. It may be a continued the story of good beginning, but there returnees and give insights when it is used along with other program are a lot of aspects in this from the authors. ministry that I had to fill in The Appendix includes a and formation resources, as recommended from my own experience of brief descriptive listing of thirty-some years of parish some formal programs, trainin the Appendix, and a variety of ministry. I would have ing and resources for minliked to have some of the istries with returning resources to use in the process with parprinciples of the baptismal Catholics. Some of these are catechumenate illustrated also helpful for a wider range ticipants who are seeking a return home as “the inspiration for cateof ministries as well. I apprechesis in the Church” ciated the listings, but found it to the Church.” (GDC # 90-91) a good beginning, rather than This volume will be comprehensive. helpful especially when it is The second time I read the book I was looking for helps in discerning the needs and used along with other program and formation resources, readiness of persons who are seeking a possible path back as recommended in the Appendix, and a variety of resources to use in the process with participants who are to the Church. I didn’t find helpful points for that or seeking a return home to the Church. Throughout this for asking and responding to the immediate as well as deeper questions of returnees. I found little grounding in book, the good work of the authors in taking the journey home to the Church themselves and continuing to spirituality in the book and few references about the life share the faith journey of others is evident. of discipleship, or relationship with God and Jesus Christ lived out in the context of prayer and an active Clare Colella is the director of Adult Initiation and Adult Confirmation life in the Church. I found precious little about the Formation for Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, San Bernardino, Scriptures or deeper appreciation of the liturgical and California, where she also serves as facilities manager. She is a consultant sacramental life of the Church in the “Feeding the for the San Bernardino diocesan Office of Worship and serves as an adult Flock” or “content” section of the book. Christian initiation resource for the Diocese. Clare is a long-time The issues of returnees run a huge gamut today, but Forum Team member and former member of Forum’s Board of Directors. the authors offer a set sequence of topics without highShe has authored several articles and contributed to books on adult initialighting the need for flexibility, pastoral care, “take tion ministry and parish ministry, and has recently co-authored a resource home” resources for participants or even training or on reconciliation for Small Faith Communities.
Bulletin Inserts on the history, doctrine, and spiritual traditions of twelve of our most ancient and beloved prayers
Prayers, published by Ave Maria Press, a ministry of the Indiana province of Holy Cross Congregation. Words of Faith: Our Prayers is a series of twelve well-designed pages that could be used as bulletin inserts for the entire parish community or as handouts for any type of faith formation gatherings, be they catechetical sessions for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), religious education classes, or small-group discussions. Each insert focuses on one particular prayer, offering information on the history of the text, the doctrine behind it, and the spiritual tradition it supports. As an educational tool, this information is both instructive and enlightening. As a source of prayer itself, each page’s layout is attractive and presents these “most ancient and beloved texts” in an elegant manner. The twelve prayers presented are the Angelus; Benedictus; Act of Contrition; Lord’s Prayer; Gloria; Magnificat; Come, Holy Spirit; Canticle of Simeon; Salve Regina; the Sign of the Cross; the Rosary; and Eternal Rest. Twelve different authors, ranging from clergy to professors to directors of diocesan offices and spiritual directors present the information following the same format for each insert: We Pray presents the text of the prayer, with instructions on how that prayer is traditionally prayed, e.g. the Angelus and its call and response arrangement. We Practice
Words of Faith: Our Prayers
Edited by Keith J. Egan Published by Ave Maria Press, $8.95 (U.S.) for pack of 50, subscription discounts, 12 pages, 24 sides Reviewed by Edward Koharchik, CSP
In the Mission Direction Statement of my religious community, the Paulist Fathers, it is stated that, “Attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst, and faithful to the example of St. Paul, we recommit ourselves to evangelization in all its forms as our central mission.” Indeed, evangelization – proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ – is the essential mission of the Church. However, along with this proclamation is the responsibility to nurture within those who hear this good news a strong foundation in prayer, the lifting up of their hearts and minds to God. In particular, this foundation will be enhanced a great deal by introducing them to those prayerful texts that have endured throughout the ages, and which have become sources of endearment for many. For this reason, any parish faith community would do well in using Words of Faith: Our
teaches when and how the prayer is used in the tradition of the Church, along with background information on the prayer’s development. We Believe looks at the theology of the prayer, the meaning of the words prayed, and how this meaning influences Catholic identity. Finally, We Live offers suggestions on how the prayer can be used in daily life and what impact it has in living out our Catholic faith. Besides these four presentations, several of the inserts include sections called “Did You Know?” and “A Bit of History.” These are particularly interesting as they give added information on the background and development of the text. Suggestions also are given on how to present these prayers to children, and how these children can benefit from learning the prayers and making them a part of their own growth in faith. Depending on how a parish would like to utilize these handouts, Words of Faith is available on a subscription basis, or can be purchased as individual monthly issues. The price of $8.95 for a pack of fifty is quite reasonable for the quality of each presentation. Included on each handout is a quote by Keith J. Egan, PhD, the series editor of the publication: “Deep in every human heart is a desire for the living God that expresses itself in prayer. In the Catholic tradition, some prayers have become classic expressions of what the human heart seeks. Words of Faith: Our Prayers explores prayers that for centuries have revealed a faith that fosters a deep, personal, growing, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ. These prayers teach us much about who we are and about the God to whom we belong.”
Words of Faith: Our Prayers is a wonderful resource for catechizing and enabling parishioners, catechumens, children, and all seekers to grow deeper in their prayer life and in their relationship with the God who seeks them out first. Highly recommended. Paulist Father Ed Koharchik is the pastor of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs, Texas, and a Team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. He also leads parish missions, workshops, and days of reflection on the RCIA and issues in liturgy and liturgical music.
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate’s Pastoral Training Institutes provide ministers—volunteer and paid, full and part-time, lay and clergy - with deeper understanding of the vision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the fundamental and advanced skills to implement all aspects of the Rite and its implications for reconciliation. Institute leaders are among North America’s most experienced pastoral ministers, liturgists, catechists, and theologians.
2010 CALENDAR ■ THE INITIATION
conversion and reconciliation ❧ explores an understanding of a reconciling community rooted in EXPERIENCE INSTITUTES initiation ❧ examines present processes and future present the compelling vision and pastoral skills to CHILDREN AND CHRISTIAN INITIATION implement the initiation process and emphasize the July 30-31, 2010, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (TX) possibilities for reconciling ministry in the parish May 20-22, 2010, Archdiocese of Louisville (KY) relationship of good liturgy to good catechesis. August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of Des Moines (IA) August 13-14, 2010, Dioceses of BEGINNINGS & BEYOND INSTITUTE ■ THE VISION OF INITIATION San Jose & Monterey (CA) MINISTRY CONFERENCES BEGINNINGS “PLUS” INSTITUTE August 27-28, 2010, Blessed Sacrament Parish, (Diocesan Events) June 23-26, 2010, Diocese of Camden (NJ) - Bilingual North Aurora, Illinois introduce the vision and practice of initiation in a June 24-27, 2010, Archdiocese of Montreal November 5-6, 2010, Archdiocese of Cincinnati (OH) two-day format for individual dioceses, formation (Quebec)—with focus on adults and children institutions, and religious communities. For clergy June 29-July 2, 2010, Diocese of Amarillo (TX)— CONCERNING THE BAPTIZED and other pastoral ministers, together or in separate with focus on adults and children April 30-May 1, 2010, Diocese of Erie (PA) conferences. July 28-31, 2010, Cathedral of Imm. Conception, May 7-8, 2010, Archdiocese of Ottawa (Ontario) Fort Wayne, Indiana May 14-15, 2010, Archdiocese of Baltimore (MD) ■ THE VISION OF INITIATION August 12-15, 2010, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston June 11-12, 2010, Diocese of Little Rock (AR) MINISTRY CONFERENCES (WV) – with focus on adults and children June 18-19, 2010, Diocese of Lafayette (IN) (Diocesan Events) August 19-22, 2010, Diocese of Victoria (TX)— July 9-10, 2010, Archdiocese of Dubuque (IA) introduce the vision and practice of initiation in a with focus on adults and children July 16-17, 2010, Diocese of Knoxville (TN) two-day format for individual dioceses, formation July 23-24, 2010, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City (OK) institutions, and religious communities. For clergy BEGINNINGS INSTITUTE August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of New Ulm (MN) April 29-May 1, 2010, Diocese of Boise (ID)— and other pastoral ministers, together or in separate August 27-28, 2010, Diocese of Las Vegas (NV) with afternoon dialogue sessions in Spanish conferences. July 23-25, 2010, Diocese of Arlington (VA)—Spanish October 22-23, 2010, St. Joseph Parish, ■ THE EVANGELIZING PARISH: St. John, New Brunswick August 13-15, 2010, Diocese of San Diego (CA)— VISION, PASSION, PRACTICE Spanish THE INITIATING develops the vision and practice of evangelization ■ September 30-October 2, 2010, Diocese of Reno (NV) and how this creates parishes of mission COMMUNITY INSTITUTES October 15-17, 2010, Archdiocese of New Orleans (LA) explore advanced issues of implementation for expe- Evangelizing Parish Institutes November 4-6, 2010, Archdiocese of rienced ministers as they broaden the initiation expe- June 11-12, 2010, Washington Theological Union (WDC) St. Paul & Minneapolis (MN) rience to include the entire community. Small September 17-18, 2010, Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie groups discuss, share, and critique models. (Ontario) ■ INITIATION IN RURAL September 24-25, 2010, Archdiocese of Omaha (NE) AND SMALL PARISHES DEVELOPING THE MINISTRIES (Diocesan Events) October 22-23, 2010, Diocese of Manchester (NH) March 20, 2010, Mystagogy, Diocese of Charlotte (NC) FURTHERING THE October 29-30, 2010, Diocese of Sacramento (CA) INITIATION EXPERIENCE November 12-13, 2010, Diocese of Memphis (TN) ■ THE FOCUS ON PRAYING THE RITES December 3-4, 2010, (bilingual) Diocese of INITIATION INSTITUTES October 7-9, 2010, Diocese of Lafayette (LA) Palm Beach (FL) concentrate on specific aspects of initiation using Evangelizing Parish Conferences ECHOING GOD’S WORD presentations, celebrations of the rites, and small May 28-29, 2010, Western Conference for the June 25-26, 2010, Diocese of Shreveport (LA) group discussions. It is preferable that they follow Catechumenate, Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) the Initiation Experience Institutes. IMAGING THE INITIATION PROCESS June 15-16, 2010, Clergy of the Diocese of Nelson (BC) IN SMALL CHURCH COMMUNITIES CATECHUMENATE August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of Stockton (CA) ■ TO BE DETERMINED ■ AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST: August 20-21, 2010, Archdiocese of Los Angeles (CA) BUILDING RECONCILING Diocese of Charlotte (NC) COMMUNITIES PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT August 19-20, 2010, Diocese of Gaylord (MI) explores the ministry of reconciliation ❧ invites October 22-23, 2010, Diocese of Rockville Centre (NY) participants to reflect on the vision and process of MYSTAGOGY August 24-25, 2010, Diocese of Green Bay (WI)
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