I Need Your Input

"Your input needed" written on note card

In my work in adult catechesis this year, I am assisting the pastoral staff of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago with articulating a vision for adult faith formation for the parish. We are using the Six Tasks of Catechesis to guide our efforts and we are presently working on the first task, which is Knowledge of the Faith. Here is where I could use your help:

Please describe one initiative in your parish that is effectively helping a significant (i.e. more than a dozen) number of adults in the parish to grow in their Knowledge of the Catholic Faith (Scripture, Tradition, Creed).

Just type your description below in the Speak Your Mind box. Thanks!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. We have a ladies’ faith sharing group that meets the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tuesday evenings of the month to discuss a scripture related book and how it applies to our own lives. It averages 13-18 women depending on topic and season.

  2. Our parish (Archdiocese of Philadelphia) has been conducting scripture study for several years now as one of their many ministries. One thing that is different about this bible study from other parishes is that our moderator (both past ones and present) holds advanced degrees in Theology and catechesis. So it is theological in nature and not just a sharing of one’s life experiences or opinions of how scripture passage applies to their lives. We discuss the theology, history and meaning both from the intent of the author at that time it was written (for whom; what was going on at that point in Israel’s history, etc..) and how it may speak to us today.
    Also, during Lent, we hold evening discussions (Emmaus Journey) with the pastor as moderator topics such as why we do what we do at mass, certain encycicals and other material that deepen their understanding of the faith and Sacred Traditions. Our pastor is very knowledgeable as he taught at the seminary for some years.

  3. The one thing that has brought adults together to share their faith is through weekly bible studies on the Sunday scriptures and our pastor conducting bible studies on a book in the bible.

  4. We are in the process of rolling out a new on-line learning initiative offered through a comprehensive program called Symbolon developed by the St. Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. The program uses traditional written text, video, DVDs, internet and social media to engage adults in their pursuit of their life long faith journey. Opportunities are available for individual, adult, and family-based faith learning both in the parish and/or at home or anywhere digital access is present. We are currently using it in our RCIA program and the feedback has been extremely positive.

  5. We have been running a series called “Faith Embodied” where we invite a local artist or artisan to come in and teach families (adults and youth not younger children) a traditional Christian art form. I provide a catechetical lesson prior to the art lesson and then while we work on our art we share our faith on the meaning of what we do. In the past we have learned about: Incarnation and Inculturation while making kiln fired pottery Nativity Sets; Prayer and Forms of Prayer while making Pysanky Eggs and Rosaries ; Hope and the Christian Understanding of Suffering while painting Salvadoran style Crosses.

  6. Our parish recently purchased the Symbolon DVD series. In addition to using it for RCIA sessions, we are also utilizing snipits from the DVDs for intergenerational faith formation events on various faith topics. Our autumn event was “Fall into Your Father’s Arms,” and was about the sacraments of healing.

  7. Hi Joe,
    We have ongoing (weekly) bible study averaging 20-25 people a week. I offer it on Wednesdays, both a morning session and an evening session. We have people who have been attending for years, and every year we add on 1-2 more people. We have used programs from Loyola Press, Little Rock, and Ascension Press. Hands down, people favor a dynamic teacher/speaker in a DVD series, along with discussion and prayer.

  8. For the past 7 years, we have used the Theology portion of Echoes of Faith DVD’s (in English and in Spanish) for the parents of children receiving sacraments. Topics are “I Believe, We Believe” (Creed); Sacraments and Liturgy; Prayer; Catholic Morality. These are part of a series for CCE teachers however, these theology portion gets the discussion going. We’re not using this program this year per our pastor. I found these very effective.

  9. As a follow up to a course on Prayer we started Lectio Divina on the 4th Wednesday of each month. We are usually a group of 12-14 adults and we listen to and pray on the following Sunday’s gospel applying it to our lives. ‘Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ’ (Rom 10, 17)

  10. On Wednesday evenings, there are parents who come together with their children for dinner before the children head off to their religious education class and their parents attend class with our pastor.

  11. In the last year over 150 of our parishioners and seekers participated in the Alpha program. Over the 10 sessions plus Spirit Day, they were welcomed, hosted to a meal, participated in small group communities, watched the night’s video and shared their responses to it. After the program participants became involved in other ministries and learning opportunities. We also have had some of the seekers join the RCIA. I believe the success of this opportunity was because we created an atmosphere of welcome and openness to questions and to people’s struggles.

  12. in my parish we share on Monday the bible study and lettio divino
    and after we have the charismatic group once month cathechist get together now our parish priest teaching us the new evangelization plus .we have are group name evangelizing men. get up!get going! .

  13. We do not have a large turnout at Adult Faith Formation on Sundays. Last Spring, a parishioner donated us the program “Scripture from Scratch”, which was published by what is now Franciscan Media. There are four-page handouts for each Sunday of the liturgical year which are geared to the Readings for that week. Franciscan Media graciously gave me permission to copy these handouts (the program is no longer in print). I put them at the entrances to the church next to the weekly bulletins so that parishioners can pick them up on their way in or out. Slowly but surely, I have noticed that the number of “leftovers” has decreased. Many parishioners have commented on how useful and educational they find these take-home catechetical sessions!

  14. We have the Chris Renews His Parish program/ministry. We have had 20 men/women renewals within the last 1 2 years. We have bonded, connected and supported one another through this ministry. With that bond and connection, our faith community has grown and we venture out into the community and shine Christ’s light.

  15. Thanks to so many of you for sharing your experiences and ideas…these are wonderful and very helpful. I need to do some research on a few of the resources mentioned. If any of you have more experiences to share, keep ’em coming! Thanks!

  16. Our parish DRE introduced The Great Adventure Bible Timeline series (Ascension Press) to our religious education program. Sixth grade students participated in the 8-wk DVD course geared to middle schoolers. Currently, adult Bible Timeline small group studies are being conducted, too. This approach to understanding essential books in the Old and New Testaments has been favorably received.

    • Thanks for this Terri. I’m familiar with the Great Adventure Bible Timeline but was not aware that it could be successfully adapted to grade 6. Thanks for sharing.

  17. We have Adult Bible classes and we have used mostly Jeff Cavins. We have also used Rdward Sri’s Program. Both by DVD. Both are well worth looking into.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.