Leadership: A Jewel of Asian and Pacific Island Cultures

This is the third of four articles that explore Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters (ECH:API), which was approved by the USCCB on June 14, 2018. Encountering Christ in Harmony describes some of the unique aspects of Asian and Pacific Island (API) Catholics and recommends pastoral responses based upon four central concerns: Identity, Generations, Leadership, and Culture of Encounter and Dialogue. API Catholics in the […]

A Comprehensive Approach to Catechesis

I have previously discussed the “grave responsibility” a pastor has in ensuring that the catechetical ministry of the parish is well-resourced and comprehensive in its approach. This responsibility requires a consideration of those who are served by our catechetical efforts. We must also remember that our actions teach as much, if not more, about what we believe as our words do. Make no mistake about it—everything we do and don’t do in our parish says […]

The Commitment to Catechesis

The overarching goal of catechesis is to “encourage a living, explicit and fruitful faith.” (General Directory of Catechesis #66) We strive to achieve this goal through instruction and experience. In my experience, most of our efforts in parish catechetical work tend to focus on doctrinal instruction. I can still hear my grandmother’s voice in my head, saying, “if only they knew their commandments.” She was convinced that “doctrinal instruction” alone could resolve all our difficulties […]

The Pastor and Catechesis

“It is a proper and grave duty,” reads the Code of Canon Law, “especially of pastors of souls to take care of the catechesis of the Christian people so that the living faith of the faithful becomes manifest and active through doctrinal instruction and the experience of Christian life.” (#773) I may not remember much of my canon law from seminary, but whenever I see the word grave I know it refers to something that […]

A Different Kind of Leadership

Following is an excerpt from Catechetical Leadership by Adrián Alberto Herrera. As you peruse a bookstore or browse books online, you will find no shortage of titles on leadership. The books you find, however, will tend to be confined to three areas: business, sports, and politics. If you are looking to run a corporation, coach a championship team, or rule the world, you’ll be in luck! Unfortunately, those books don’t translate well to the world […]

Managing and Leading Catechists

When it comes to supervising catechists, it helps to make a clear distinction between managing them and leading them. Managing what your catechists do and how they perform their duties is important. To help them flourish, an effective catechetical leader helps them understand why they serve as catechists: to help bring about the Kingdom of God. To be honest, learning to balance management and leadership took years for me to figure out. But I am […]

New DRE FAQ

Navigating your first year as a catechetical leader can be exciting and daunting. I remember facing many hard questions during my first year as a DRE; I’m sure that many new DREs have faced similar ones. Some of the questions I frequently asked myself have helped me grow as a DRE. What am I doing here? I remember thinking that I had gotten in way over my head. Who was I to think that I […]

Now Here: The Effective Catechetical Leader Series

Just about 20 years ago, I was minding my own business at the Office for Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Chicago when Loyola Press approached me and asked me to contribute to a new series they were working on in collaboration with NCCL called The Effective DRE Skills Development Series. Not only did the series go on to touch the lives of numerous catechetical leaders, the contact with Loyola Press eventually led to an invitation to […]

Building a Productive Faith Leadership Team

How do we build a productive faith leadership team? Here’s my story. For most of my career as a DRE, I was blessed to work with a great pastor who was also my friend. I had known him before I took the job, and when the day came when he asked me to take on the leadership role in faith formation, I felt very comfortable with the decision. I haven’t regretted a minute of it. […]

From Fulfilling Obligations to Living Heroically

Fear can be a great motivator. When I was growing up, religion classes at St. Casimir School regularly included filmstrips (the great cutting-edge technology of the 1960s) from the St. John’s University Sound Filmstrip Catechism that always seemed to include a depiction of God speaking in an angry voice and/or people burning in hell. For most of us growing up at that time, the primary reason for going to church was to avoid the fires […]

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