How to Include Parents in Faith Formation Through Community-Building Family Nights

How do we involve parents in faith formation? This age-old question seems to be getting harder and harder to answer. We seem to live in a “drag, drive, and drop off” culture when it comes to parental involvement in our faith formation programs. We use phrases like “create a culture of expectation,” “invite, welcome, and include,” and “mandate, require, and coerce” when talking about our efforts to include busy parents. But how do we effectively […]

Advent: Of Elves or Angels?

Advent is a time of expectation and excitement as we prepare for the birth of Christ. Within Advent is the unfolding of beautiful readings that build from one week to another, along with complimentary music, colors, and the rituals surrounding this liminal time. The opening of Advent calendars or the many other creative ways of counting sacred time is amongst my favorite childhood traditions. Keeping pace with sacred time is becoming more and more difficult […]

Busy Families and Faith Formation

I have a confession to make. I am a soccer mom. This week we will have soccer matches every night for four nights in a row. I am also a DRE and a Ministry Consultant, treasurer for the soccer organization and Saturday concession coordinator, and mother and general problem-solver for five children ranging from middle school to post-college struggling adult. I wear many hats, often simultaneously. I find life out of balance on many occasions […]

Four Ideas for Celebrating Pentecost

Pentecost has long been one of my favorite feasts in the liturgical year. Who doesn’t love a story with fire, wind, speaking in tongues, and a bold proclamation of the Gospel? Unfortunately, though, by the time Pentecost rolls around in the calendar, many of our religious education programs have ended and our creative energy switches off into summer mode. Why not instead use this exciting feast as a way to end the faith formation year […]

Forging Pathways to Christ: The New Evangelization and Families

Talk of the New Evangelization is sweeping parishes and dioceses around the globe. We know it is necessary, but we can be confused about what it actually is, what it is not, and how to do it. There is often some confusion between evangelization and catechesis. Most people seem to respond to the “how” of evangelization by providing information about the faith and/or increasing opportunities to teach the faith. These are good practices, but they […]

Final Installment of Families Living Faith at St. Jude, New Lenox

Last month, I posted on two occasions about a unique approach to faith formation at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL, which honors the role of parents as their children’s primary catechists. In short, the parents and kids gather once per month at the parish at which time the kids are taught a lesson by catechists while parents engage in a session of adult faith formation and are equipped with resources to go home and to […]

More About Families Living Faith at St. Jude, New Lenox

Last week, I told you about the innovative faith formation program, Families Living Faith, at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL. Today, I’d like to provide a few more details, background, and observations about this unique approach that takes seriously the role of parents as their child’s first catechist. “Getting there” was not easy and required a great deal of planning. listening, and trial and error over a number of years. The parish first attempted to move […]

Parents Come First at St. Jude in New Lenox, IL

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the faith formation staff at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL, to get some insights into their Families Living Faith program: an approach to faith formation that takes seriously the Church’s call to make adult catechesis primary. The St. Jude faith formation program has about 1200 children. In their Families Living Faith program, children in grades 1–6 and their families come together for an […]

Where Have You Been, Lord? Praying the Examen with Your Families

I always found our opening prayers for Confirmation and First Eucharist meetings to be challenging. Normally these involved something written down, something we would all read together, or maybe a pertinent piece of Scripture, or maybe both. It often felt dry and mechanical. What I wanted to do was engage our families, invite them to get to know the Jesus I knew—a Jesus who was active, interesting, and intensely interested in their lives. The question […]

Keeping Advent from Getting Lost in the Holiday Shuffle

The parish is abuzz with questions already: “Have you started your baking, shopping, planning, list-making, wrapping…?” No sooner has Halloween moved on than we find Christmas bursting onto the scene in every grocery store, department store, catalog, and flyer. It is a cycle that encourages us to be always thinking of and preparing for “the next thing,” rather than taking time to stop and become aware of the blessings and graces our God is trying […]

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