Recruiting Responders for Adult Faith Presentations and Parish Missions

If you’ve been following Catechist’s Journey for a while, no doubt you’ve read my lament that one of the mistakes we make in adult faith formation is that we assign participants a passive role: we bring in a speaker to do a presentation, perhaps open it up for some Q & A, and call it a night. One way to ensure that there are more voices being heard than the guest speaker is to recruit several […]

Service Within the Context of Faith and Discipleship

More and more, I am finding that many parishes have numerous adults involved—under the radar, in many respects—in giving service to others. On a weekly basis, folks are visiting/staffing food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and so on. They are preparing sandwiches, folding clothing donations, and delivering meals to people. All of this is wonderful. However, we are not doing enough to help people see their efforts through the lens of faith. There are numerous […]

Going Mobile for Adult Faith Formation

When I talk about adult faith formation going “mobile,” I’m not talking about anything involving mobile phones! Rather, I’m talking about getting adult faith formation “off campus,” so to speak, and taking it on the road, namely to people’s homes. Pope Francis is encouraging us as a Church to “go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 20) I suggest […]

Using Discernment in Planning the Faith Formation Year

At some point during the summer months, we all start to wonder what our formation programs will look like in the fall. Whether we have a lot of ideas or just a few suggestions from others, the struggle is trying to select what ought to be done out of the range of possibilities. Thankfully we are not left alone in our discernment. As James assures us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask […]

Finding Middle Ground Between “Churchy” and “Secular” Events

Most adult faith formation activities seem to fall into two disparate categories. On the one hand, we find activities that are unabashedly spiritual in nature. Here are examples from various parish bulletins: First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Rosary Group St. Peregrine Novena Baptismal Preparation Divine Mercy Chaplet Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Christ’s Passion …and so on. These activities are all fine and good, and the contrast I’m about to set up is not between good and […]

Start-of-the-Year Parent Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As you plan for the new catechetical year, schedule a start-of-the-year parent gathering. This is a great opportunity to meet parents and encourage them in their role as their children’s first catechist. To help you, I’m offering a free PowerPoint presentation, complete with suggested script, for hosting a parent gathering. The message it conveys is that faith formation isn’t just another activity; it’s a way of life. Support the domestic church with this encouraging presentation […]

Looking for Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Service Projects

I’m looking for ideas for “do-it-yourself” service projects—things that can be done on site at the parish with 20 or 30 adult volunteers in a couple of hours. One such idea, albeit quite ambitious, is the Helping Hands project from Catholic Relief Services. This requires 40 volunteers and a minimum of two hours to package 10,000 meals! For the upcoming Year of Mercy, I hope to work with a local parish to organize opportunities for […]

Through the Year with the DRE

Back in the day, when I was a “baby” DRE (Director of Religious Education), I turned to a nifty book for help: Through the Year with the DRE: A Seasonal Guide for Christian Educators (Gail McKenna, Paulist Press). The book is long out of print, but the idea stayed with me and inspired me to create a chart outlining the “typical” responsibilities that a catechetical leader/DRE is faced with over the course of a year. I […]

Planning Your Adult Faith Formation Calendar

With all of the traveling that I do, sometimes my calendar can get a little crazy. I’ve gotten better at it, but I can remember some times when I asked myself, “What was I thinking when I said yes to this?” In parish life, we do this all the time. Even when we have calendaring meetings that should remove such conflicts, we still sometimes find ourselves overbooked and unable to devote time and energy to […]

Three Promises for Vacation Bible School Week

This is the last article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. Vacation Bible School is up and running, and my head is about to explode with all the details! Even with decorations finished and an excellent volunteer staff, I still feel like I have a dozen spinning plates to maintain. How will I get through the week and still hold on to my faith and […]

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