Confirmation Apprenticeship at St. Sylvester Parish in Chicago

The General Directory for Catechesis states clearly that faith formation is to be an “apprenticeship” in the Catholic way of life (#67). This means, of course, that faith formation cannot be limited to the transmission of information but must invite one into a way of living that is transformational—one that changes our minds and hearts. For Catholics, part of our way of living involves practicing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, since we believe that […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #9: Mentor Apprentices

I often tell my audiences about the book Creating Customer Evangelists by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell, not because I think they should read it, but because, as Catholics, we should be aware of the fact that a book that has nothing to do with faith, religion, or spirituality is using the word evangelists! The premise of the book is that customers should be so enamored with your product or service that they will become “outspoken […]

What Exactly Is Apprenticeship in Faith Formation?

Years ago, it was common for a young person to learn a trade by being apprenticed by someone who was a “master” in that trade. Twenty years ago, the General Directory for Catechesis (#67) created some excitement by declaring that faith formation was to be an apprenticeship. So just what does it mean to apprentice someone into the Catholic faith? To answer that, let’s look at the essentials of an apprenticeship: The goal of an […]

Apprenticeship: Giving Young People Adult Responsibilities

Anyone from a large family knows that the only way parents “survive” having so many kids is by pressing the older siblings into service to care for the younger ones! As the seventh of nine children, I recall my older sister Ramona taking care of us younger ones on many occasions when Mom and Dad were tending to other responsibilities and running errands. We need to employ this same approach in faith formation as part […]

Three Lessons Catechists Can Learn from St. Joseph

St. Francis of Assisi is often attributed as saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” This quote is very fitting for the life of another saint whose actions spoke louder than his words: St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. In fact, St. Joseph does not say one word in the Gospels. Yet he speaks volumes. What can catechists learn from the life of this holy man? 1. Silence We tend to […]

Bringing Confirmandi and Sponsors Together for Meaningful Conversation

Too often, the role of the sponsor at Confirmation is treated as though it’s akin to being a bridesmaid or a groomsman at a wedding: just stand there and look good. And, oh yes, be sure to put your hand on your confirmandi’s shoulder. In short, it is a missed opportunity for quality adult faith formation. At St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, the Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, takes the role of the sponsor […]

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 […]

Apprenticeships Instead of Service Projects

I recently received this comment from Jared Anderson about something creative and outstanding he is doing with his Confirmation program: The way that we incorporate Mission into our Confirmation program is that I require the candidates to do 4 month long Apprenticeships in an already existing Parish Ministry. There are 12 ministries (including myself as Director of Confirmation and Youth Ministries) that provide an adult mentor to provide ministry-specific formation and opportunities to get their […]

Quote of the Week

Once a week, I plan to post a particularly significant quote from a particularly significant catechetical document, for inspiration and edification. I hope you enjoy this new feature! Catechesis acquires certain characteristics in virtue of being an “essential moment” in the process of evangelization, in the service of Christian initiation. It is [a] comprehensive and systematic formation in the faith. [T]his comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian […]

Confirmation Learning Stations

One of the pitfalls that I often succumb to when planning a lesson is focusing on what I am going to do without regard for what the kids are going to do (other than soak up my pearls of wisdom, of course). In the end, I find that I am putting a lot of pressure on myself as the catechist to “perform.” If Christian Initiation IS an apprenticeship (and I believe it is) then we must consider what […]