One of the patterns that we need to break in order for ongoing Adult Faith Formation to take root and grow is the bad habit of lecturing to adults for 45 minutes or an hour and calling that adult catechesis. In many parishes, adult faith formation takes the shape of a staff member (pastor, associate pastor, deacon, pastoral associate, DRE) deciding that he or she will offer a series of classes for 6 to 8 weeks. People show up (hopefully), they are talked at, maybe they get to ask questions, and they go home. After a year or 2, the staff member moves on and the adult faith formation “program” grinds to a halt.
I’ve told both of the parishes that I’m assisting this year in adult catechesis that I do not intend to do any presentations myself in their parishes but rather will work to establish formats that enable adults to engage in faith sharing, not attend lectures. This will involve recruiting and training parishioners to act as facilitators for adult faith formation events.
One such opportunity is shaping up at St. Cajetan Parish for October 14. While the children are in Religious Education class (6:00 – 7:30 pm), parents of the children and other parishioners are invited to a session on Learning How to Pray the Rosary.
- The evening will begin at 6 pm with gathering and refreshments followed by a short prayer experience.
- Then, from 6:15-7:15 pm, they will participate in a session on learning to pray the Rosary, utilizing my Rosary Powerpoint and highlighting a panel discussion featuring 4 or 5 parishioners who will share their thoughts, insights, and experiences of praying the Rosary. I call this the “talk show” format and it is very effective because attendees end up hearing from fellow parishioners who are sharing their faith instead of having an “expert” come in to tell them how it’s done. A facilitator acts like a “talk-show host” and keeps the conversation going by asking questions which the panel members have seen ahead of time (see below)
- We will end by praying a decade of the Rosary and then have some time to socialize (with refreshments) until 7:30 pm when the children are ready to leave class
The following Tuesday, parents are invited to join the children in Church to pray the Rosary so the goal is to provide them with an opportunity to feel more at home with this form of prayer.
Here are the sample questions for the panel:
- When did you learn the Rosary and who taught you to pray it?
- When do you pray the Rosary?
- What benefits do you gain from praying the Rosary?
- How does the Rosary bring you closer to Mary? To Jesus?
- What advice would you give to someone who is just learning about the Rosary?
- What are common misconceptions that some people have about praying the Rosary?
- Are there any challenges to learning to pray the Rosary?
- What do we mean by the Mysteries of the Rosary? Do you have a favorite set of Mysteries? Why or why not?
- How can praying the Rosary bring us peace of mind?