A Different Kind of Small Faith Group

Last summer, I posted about some ideas for adult faith formation that were less “churchy” sounding but still unabashedly spiritual. I’m working from the premise that we too often approach adult faith formation as attempting to get adults to come to our turf (the parish grounds) to join groups we are forming to study some aspect of the Catholic faith. Instead, I’m proposing that we identify where and around what activities adults are congregating and invite […]

Ending the Year on a Good Note

When we approach the end of faith formation classes for the year, we can be overwhelmed by a flurry of activity. During this period, our highest priorities are the celebration of the sacraments, planning for the final classes, end-of-year meetings, and looking forward to the next year. Amidst all these priorities—as well as tying up any loose ends—we can easily forget to take a step back and reflect on some of the gifts that are […]

Would It Hurt to Put Up a Sign and a Balloon?

As I drive through various neighborhoods, I typically see no small number of lawn signs announcing yard sales, garage sales, or real estate open houses. Often, attached to the signs are a few balloons. The message is clear: this is where the action is! Contrast that with an experience I had recently (and all too often) when I visited a parish to participate in an adult faith activity that sounded very engaging. There were no […]

Recruiting Responders for Adult Faith Presentations and Parish Missions

If you’ve been following Catechist’s Journey for a while, no doubt you’ve read my lament that one of the mistakes we make in adult faith formation is that we assign participants a passive role: we bring in a speaker to do a presentation, perhaps open it up for some Q & A, and call it a night. One way to ensure that there are more voices being heard than the guest speaker is to recruit several […]

Service Within the Context of Faith and Discipleship

More and more, I am finding that many parishes have numerous adults involved—under the radar, in many respects—in giving service to others. On a weekly basis, folks are visiting/staffing food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and so on. They are preparing sandwiches, folding clothing donations, and delivering meals to people. All of this is wonderful. However, we are not doing enough to help people see their efforts through the lens of faith. There are numerous […]

Going Mobile for Adult Faith Formation

When I talk about adult faith formation going “mobile,” I’m not talking about anything involving mobile phones! Rather, I’m talking about getting adult faith formation “off campus,” so to speak, and taking it on the road, namely to people’s homes. Pope Francis is encouraging us as a Church to “go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 20) I suggest […]

Using Discernment in Planning the Faith Formation Year

At some point during the summer months, we all start to wonder what our formation programs will look like in the fall. Whether we have a lot of ideas or just a few suggestions from others, the struggle is trying to select what ought to be done out of the range of possibilities. Thankfully we are not left alone in our discernment. As James assures us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask […]

Finding Middle Ground Between “Churchy” and “Secular” Events

Most adult faith formation activities seem to fall into two disparate categories. On the one hand, we find activities that are unabashedly spiritual in nature. Here are examples from various parish bulletins: First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Rosary Group St. Peregrine Novena Baptismal Preparation Divine Mercy Chaplet Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Christ’s Passion …and so on. These activities are all fine and good, and the contrast I’m about to set up is not between good and […]

Start-of-the-Year Parent Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As you plan for the new catechetical year, schedule a start-of-the-year parent gathering. This is a great opportunity to meet parents and encourage them in their role as their children’s first catechist. To help you, I’m offering a free PowerPoint presentation, complete with suggested script, for hosting a parent gathering. The message it conveys is that faith formation isn’t just another activity; it’s a way of life. Support the domestic church with this encouraging presentation […]

Looking for Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Service Projects

I’m looking for ideas for “do-it-yourself” service projects—things that can be done on site at the parish with 20 or 30 adult volunteers in a couple of hours. One such idea, albeit quite ambitious, is the Helping Hands project from Catholic Relief Services. This requires 40 volunteers and a minimum of two hours to package 10,000 meals! For the upcoming Year of Mercy, I hope to work with a local parish to organize opportunities for […]

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