I spent this past Saturday morning with about 100 catechists in the Diocese of Joliet (south and west of the Archdiocese of Chicago) focusing on the topic of catechists and the Bible. I was honored to “share the bill” with Bishop Peter Sartain and to meet and speak with so many catechists from so many parishes.
After a beautiful morning prayer, I was introduced and spoke about 5 ways to “dramatically increase your students’ Bible IQ.” In particular, I focused on the following 5 points:
- providing students with Bibles and using them frequently
- teaching them how to “decipher” biblical citation (i.e. 1Pt 2:2-5 = First Letter of Peter, chapter two, verses two through five)
- providing them with a timeline and a chronology of salvation history
- dividing the Bible into smaller pieces (using the bookmarks from my book, God’s Library: A Catholic Introduction to the World’s Greatest Book) to increase familiarity with the location of passages
- understanding the role of figurative language in the Bible
After a break, Bishop Sartain then gave a very inspirational talk on how catechists can make “scripture practical in our daily lives.” He focused on three main ideas:
- resources available to help us gain better access to the Word of God (daily devotionals, Bible commentaries, etc.)
- the use of sacred art in meditating on Scripture stories
- Lectio Divina as a way to pray with the Word of God
I’d like to send a great big shout out to all of the many fine catechists I met at St. Martin of Tours parish in Kankakee, IL in the Joliet Diocese on Saturday and I wish them continued blessings and success in increasing their students’ Bible IQ and in making Scripture more practical in their daily lives and in the lives of those they teach.