Today, more than ever, faith formation needs to be more evangelizing—not only informing, but also transforming hearts and minds. In her book, Start with Jesus, author, speaker, and evangelist Julianne Stanz states that “too often our approach to our faith lacks the fire or energy that it deserves,” and she issues a call for us to “reclaim the fire.” With that in mind, I have identified six keys to reclaiming this fire so that our faith formation will be more evangelizing. Equipped with these six keys, catechetical ministers can, in the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, “go forth and set the world on fire!”
Six Keys to a More Evangelizing Faith Formation
- Storytelling—We need to engage those we teach with the rich stories of rescue, restoration, and reassurance found in Scripture, the lives of the saints, and the personal experience of catechists.
- Sacramentality—We need to integrate a language of mystery (sign, symbol, ritual, music, silence, movement, gesture, and sacred art) that profoundly invokes and reinforces the narrative of rescue, restoration, and reassurance.
- Spirituality and Prayer—We need to facilitate meaningful encounters with the Risen Christ who is present and active in our lives and can be found in all things.
- Tradition—We need to offer a robust presentation of our heritage of revealed truths and doctrines that are faithfully transmitted, much as a family recipe is faithfully handed down from generation to generation.
- Experiences of Sharing God’s Mercy—We need to apprentice young disciples in corporal and spiritual works of mercy and Catholic social action, which are the backbone of missionary discipleship.
- Entering Through Their Door—We need to utilize 21st-century approaches and methodologies that meet participants and their parents/families where they are.
How Finding God 2021 Makes This Possible
With these six keys in mind, I am proud to announce a resource that will help you to achieve a more evangelizing faith formation experience for young people: Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts 2021! Here’s how this new edition of the popular Finding God series equips you to accomplish each of the six keys above.
- Storytelling—Each chapter of Finding God 2021 begins with a Scripture story that enables young people to consider prayerfully the essential connections between God’s Word and their own lives. Likewise, each unit begins with an inspiring story of a saint.
- Sacramentality—The pedagogy of Finding God 2021 encourages the use of a language of mystery characterized by the inclusion of sacred space, music and singing, sacred art, sign and symbol, ritual, silence, storytelling, movement and gesture, and more.
- Spirituality and Prayer—Finding God 2021 is imbued with Ignatian spirituality—the notion of finding God in all things—and equips catechists to lead young people in thoughtful and meaningful experiences of reflective prayer and other prayers from our Catholic Tradition.
- Tradition—Finding God 2021 has been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which means that its presentation of the Catholic faith is robust, faithful, and complete, as well as age-appropriate.
- Experiences of Sharing God’s Mercy—Each chapter of Finding God 2021 includes suggestions for ways of putting our faith into practice through service experiences inspired by the Works of Mercy.
- Entering Through Their Door—Finding God 2021 reinforces the program’s robust Catholic faith content through the use of dynamic multimedia experiences that enable children, catechists, and parents to engage with videos, audio, and interactive experiences through the use of QR codes.
There is not enough space here to go into the exciting details of this wonderful new edition of Finding God! With that in mind, I leave you with two suggestions: