The Place of the Textbook in Faith Formation

Years ago, a very wise person—Sr. Marlene Halpin, O.P.—explained that the reason young people walk away from the Catholic faith after Confirmation is because they never developed an affective relationship with Jesus Christ. As a result, they are walking away from a “subject”—religion—in the same way they walk away from other subjects they learn in school but are not particularly interested in. Today, as we continue to see the “hemorrhaging” of young Catholics from the […]

The Pros and Cons of Do-it-Yourself Catechesis

I recently received an e-mail from a veteran diocesan catechetical director who is concerned that, at a growing number of parishes in her diocese, the catechetical leader has chosen to write his or her own materials for faith formation rather than using materials produced by a Catholic publisher. Here are some of the thoughts this diocesan director shared: As I visit parishes, I see more and more people “writing their own stuff.” What they really want […]

Long-Range Planning: Looking at Things from 30,000 Feet

In my work, I do a lot of traveling—most of it in the air—and as anyone who flies knows, viewing the world from 30,000 feet provides one with a different perspective! One of the responsibilities of catechetical leaders is to call people to step “back from the specific issues that need attention (‘Should we add an additional hall monitor?’ or ‘Do we want to explore a different text series for junior high next year?’), and […]

Ignatius Loyola’s Management Style Might Work for You

The “director” part of a DRE’s job description is a taxing challenge. “Director” means “manager,” and managing people and programs is never easy. It means achieving lofty goals with limited resources. It means dealing with people who often don’t behave the way you want them to behave. It means compromise, tough decisions, and juggling conflicting interests. Managing means meetings. Lots of meetings. To complicate matters, most DREs are teachers at heart who love students much more than budgets and […]