1) If you haven’t done so already, meet with your parish catechetical leader and get a copy of the Catechist Manual for the grade or subject area that you will be teaching in the coming year. Read all the material for the catechist. This includes how the lessons are organized, background material for the content, and ideas for effective presentation of lessons.
2) Download the Catechist’s Learning Page from the eCatechist website. This has been designed as a tool for a catechist to record all their learning experiences including, workshops, classes, books and articles, videos, etc. Many dioceses award catechist certification credit for these learning activities.
4) Reach out and Touch. Yes, August is a busy time for parents and families, preparing for back to school and completing summer activities and fun. Call a catechist and schedule a time to meet for coffee, tea or juice after the children have returned to school. During the meeting share your goals, fears, excitement and ideas. Close your time together by praying for one another and all catechists. Prayer by Gloria Durka. http://www.ecatechist.com/2014/05/a-prayer-for-catechists-by-gloria-durka-phd.html
Catholic Theological Union Chicago offers the series of presentations on The Joy of the Gospel: Reflections on Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium.
A variety of presenters offer a 5 – 7 minute video reflection on dynamic passages from “The Joy of the Gospel.”
CTU's Joy of the Gospel series gives insight into Evangelii Gaudium through select passages, which illuminate the vision of Pope Francis for the Church. This series is for Catholics and those from other faith traditions who want to learn more about this powerful document in a format that is both substantive and accessible.
The series consists of 10 segments plus an introduction and study guide.
This is an ideal resource diocesan catechist certification.
Editor's Note: As we begin a new catechetical year, let's take time to reflect and explore with one another the many dimensions of creating an environment in which each of us can experience "the best of being Catholic."
What does it mean to be Catholic? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are Catholics. My own fascination with the identity question began, like most fascinations, in autobiography. I was educated by French nuns in a private girls’ school. Academics were rigorous and there wasn’t much free time in the daily routine.
Except for one miraculous loophole that had escaped the sharp gaze of Reverend Mother: the chapel visit. During the last study hall of the day, we could visit the chapel. That meant waving a small square of black lace veil at the presiding sister, getting her nod, then escaping, unsupervised and independent, for the long walk down a hall filled with swooshing ferns and lined with huge windows. The gleaming wood floors made a fitting approach to the transcendent. There, a thoughtful person could transition from academic drudgery to sacred space.
This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 21, 2014, and will focus on the theme "Teaching About God's Gift of Forgiveness." Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
We at eCatechist and faithAlivebooks are excited to offer catechetical leaders, catechists, and all adults interested in “thoughtful books for thoughtful readers” a collection of reasonably price eBooks.
All books can be ordered directly from eCatechist.
You can read the books in one of three ways:
1) Download and read on your computer
2) Print and read the hard copyin PDF
3) Download and read on your iPad and other tablets
Prayer is a Hunger by Rev. Edward J. Farrell
What We Believe: Praying and Living the Apostles' Creed - by Sr. Janet Schaeffler
Getting Started in Adult Faith Formation - 40 Tips by Sr. Janet Schaeffler
The Mass by Steve Mueller
Working Smarter, Not Harder: A Catechist's Survival Guide by Tom and Rita Walters
Many dioceses will recognize the reading of each of these books for 4 clock hours of catechist certification credit. To receive credit, complete the Catechist’s Learning Page and present to you parish catechetical leader.
In our fourth grade faith formation class we presented each of our 16 children with a copy of the New Testament in the New Common English Translation.
On the inside front cover we wrote a personal note to each:
This New Testament is our gift to you.
May the Word of God enter your heart, form your faith, be a beacon for you to follow, and enliven your life.
Mr. and Mrs. Pierson
To create a special and personal experience we called each child to the front of the room, read our note, and then presented the Bible to them.
Instead of reading the passages from Bible when they are presented in the child's book, we will use their Bibles. Each child will highlight the title or the first lines of the selection. In this way the children will have a collection/index of the Bible stories that we are covering throughout the year. A great summary. Children will be given their Bibles at the last class to take home with a recommended list of 10 -12 Bible stories to guide them in their summer reading (one a week).
Our goal is to teach Biblical literacy. This is a very important skill that is certainly achieavable by the end of fourth grade, if not earlier.
Learning Outcome: By the end of fourth grade each child will understand the content of the New Testament and locate passages by book, chapter and verse.
What We Believe contains nine articles with information, resources, commentaries, prayers, reflections and materials for presentation and use in small groups with information, resources, commentaries, prayers, reflections and materials for presentation and use in small groups.
-What a fantastic resource! This mini-course in Catholicism engages the imagination and the heart. The reflection questions sink deep and make readers feel like they are having a retreat in slow motion.
Dr. Cris V. Villapando, Diocesan Director of Faith Formation Programs, Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina
-This book is an Adult Faith Formation Director’s dream! Janet Schaeffler, OP has managed to engage the whole person – head, heart and hands – with this book. I found the content informative, reflective, poetic, and filled with wisdom. I will pray and teach the Creed with new sights.
Elaine Young, Pastoral Associate, St. Therese of Lisieux, Shelby Township, Michigan
Janet Schaeffler, OP, a leading adult faith formation minister, has gathered together in one volume some essential insights and practices that will help parishes begin and/or deepen the magnitude of adult faith formation ministry. Practical, simple and easy to use. Reflection/discussion questions personalize each tip: how can we, how will we accomplish this? Read more about Janet Schaeffler, OP.
In Getting Started in Adult Faith Formation - 40 Tips,Janet Schaeffler O.P. pulls together her considerable experience and wisdom as an adult faith formation leader to create a resource that is both highly readable and immensely practical. She adeptly contextualizes adult faith formation within both the full range of parish life and the daily experiences of believers. And she correctly emphasizes mission as the ministry's central driving force. Along with this solid theoretical framework is an extensive list of practical suggestions, which, of itself, makesGetting Started in Adult Faith Formation an invaluable guide for anyone ministering to adult believers.
As coordinator of religious education, I am always on the lookout for materials that will help my volunteer catechists be more comfortable and confident in their ability to effectively teach religious education to elementary students. Working Smarter, Not Harder: A Catechist’s Survival Guide is a new weapon I can add to my arsenal.
Working Harder, Not Smarter is written in an interactive, self-evaluative, workbook-like format. It provides practical advice covering everything from setting up a classroom to managing a disruptive student. The tips offered are tried and true tips from people who have been-there and done-that.
As with any how-to guide, there are elements of the book that will be more relevant than others to each individual, but certainly anyone who will be stepping into a classroom for the first time will feel entirely confident after working his or her way through this book. Catechists will know from day one how to set the stage for a successful year for both themselves and their students.
Steve Mueller, Ph.D., author of The Seeker’s Guide to Reading the Bible: A Catholic View (Loyola Press, 1999) and The Seeker’s Guide to Jesus in the Gospels (Loyola Press: 2001), has taught scripture, theology and philosophy to college students and helped develop and teach in the renowned Denver Catholic Biblical School program for adult laity.
He is the editor of Words of Grace, a new quarterly booklet of Daily Reflections and Prayers for Catholics that connects the daily Scripture readings from the Mass with the treasury of wisdom found in the Church’s rich spiritual tradition. Words of Grace is published by All Saints Press.
He has also written many articles for Catholic publications and is a popular speaker on biblical theology and spirituality
When Jorge Mario Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 21, he dreamed of serving as a missionary in Japan. As it turned out, health worries kept him home in Argentina. Though he eventually became the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the commitment to mission never left him.
At the conclave where he was elected pope last year, Cardinal Bergoglio delivered brief remarks outlining his vision for the Church. Evangelization, he proclaimed, is the Church's reason for being. But to realize this purpose, the Church must "come out of herself" and "go to the peripheries, not only in the geographic sense but also the existential peripheries." His remarks struck an enthusiastic chord with the assembled cardinals, contributing to his election as pope.
Since then, as Pope Francis, he has captured the hearts of many others, both within and beyond the Church, through his humility, his embrace of poverty and his evident love for all humanity. In all this, he has fulfilled the promise implied in his choice of name. It was St. Francis of Assisi, after all, who renewed and reformed the Church of his time by recalling the memory of Jesus in his poverty and compassion for the sick and marginalized.
But behind all the pope's words and gestures there is the deeper challenge he poses to all of us who constitute the Church: to recover our true purpose as a "community of missionary disciples," a phrase borrowed from the final statement of the Aparecida document, which Cardinal Bergoglio drafted for the Latin American bishops in 2007.