How to Use Mentoring as a Tool for Adult Faith Formation

When the topic of adult faith formation comes up, we Catholics have a tendency to immediately shift to a default mode which is the classroom model: there must be a topic, a presenter, and “students.” The topic is usually doctrinal, the presenter is typically the only one who speaks, and the students are passive receptors of the speaker’s wisdom. More and more parishes are recognizing the reality that adult faith formation must come in many […]

Adult Faith: Moving to a Needs-Based Approach

One of the problems with adult faith formation, as I see it, is our “packaging.” We want our adults to have a good grasp of Church doctrine but the problem is that we present it as…drumroll please…CHURCH DOCTRINE! In other words, our adult faith offerings are most often too “churchy-sounding” to attract a wide or new audience. Most folks are simply not going to be swayed by topics such as the following: Understanding the Mass […]

Adult Faith Formation: Creating a “Greenhouse Effect” in the Diocese of Joliet

Recently, I had the privilege of spending a day with a 50–60 catechetical leaders in the Diocese of Joliet, IL, exploring adult faith formation. Here is the title and description of my topic: A Change of Climate: How to Create a Parish “Greenhouse Effect” that Fosters the Growth of Adult Faith Formation Adult faith formation is not accomplished via a program or an event or even a series of events. Rather, it is stimulated by […]

Reaching Parents on the Margins of Parish Life

A catechist friend of mine recently commented that there was a general attitude among parents. She called it the “drag-drive-drop” mentality: parents dragged their children into the car, drove them to the faith formation center, and dropped them off at class! While not true in every parish, the question of how we reach parents who are disengaged or disinterested in their children’s faith formation is becoming an increasingly difficult task for us all. There are […]

We’re Doing This Apprenticeship Thing All Wrong!

One of the most exciting and challenging ideas that the General Directory for Catechesis brought us is the concept of apprenticeship. This comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life. (67) The whole idea, of course, is that those seeking to enter more fully into discipleship are to be mentored into the Christian way of life. This is the basis of our Catholic practice of providing sponsors for […]

A Different Kind of “Me Time”

The next initiative that I’m undertaking in the area of adult faith formation at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago is an experience titled, A Different Kind of “Me Time.” This is another opportunity designed to reach primarily the parents of the children in the religious education program, and it will take place in tandem with the children’s weekly Tuesday evening session. Once per month, catechists are invited to take their classes to the church for adoration […]

What Parishes Are Doing to Equip People with Knowledge of the Faith

Thanks to so many of you for responding to my request to send in descriptions of what your parish is doing to help people grow in the first of the Six Tasks of Catechesis: Knowledge of the Faith. Here is a brief summary of what some folks are doing: Ladies’ faith-sharing group (meets three times monthly to discuss Scripture) Weekly Scripture study (some on the Sunday Scripture readings; some on books of the Bible; some Lectio […]

Local Pilgrimage as a Form of Adult Faith Formation

All too often, adult faith formation is approached as “CCD for Grownups” with settings that are little or no different than academic classroom settings for children. In reality, adult faith formation can and should take many forms. One opportunity that is often overlooked is that of the local pilgrimage. As Catholics, we learn not only from Scripture but also from our Tradition. One of the great ways of learning from our Catholic Tradition is to visit […]

Hosting Small Faith Groups: A Summary of Links

Over the past six weeks, I’ve shared a series of posts on how to host small faith groups in the parish, with an eye toward Lent. Special thanks once again to St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago for sharing the inner workings of their successful experience, Companions on the Journey, for our benefit. Here, in one convenient space, is everything you need to implement small faith groups in your parish! How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups […]

Hosting Parish Small Faith Groups—Free Discussion Materials for Lent

Jesus was often surrounded by large crowds, clamoring to hear the Teacher speak. But Jesus first was only known to a small group, the Apostles. After the Resurrection, the Disciples continued spreading Jesus’ message to other small groups—the Philippians, the Ephesians, the Corinthians—and the tradition of small groups of devoted followers continues to this day. That’s what we’ve been focusing on with the series on how to host parish small faith groups. The series strengthens […]

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