Family Bible Challenge
The Leadership Institute of the Diocese of Bridgeport is pleased to present the Family Bible Challenge. Now in its fifth season, the Family Bible Challenge continues to expand. We welcome the faithful of the Diocese of Dallas to our adventure and hope you enjoy the weekly reflections and quizzes.
ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE!
CPM courses are offered in English and Spanish in different locations around the Diocese.
The Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (CPM) Program, a collaborative venture of University of Dallas and the Diocese of Dallas, is designed to meet the educational and formational needs of adults who serve their parishes, schools or other Catholic organizations on a volunteer basis. Click here for
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Let us accompany you in your ministry!
The NDC says (on p. 251) that one of the roles of the Diocesan Catechetical office is to “develop processes for the recruitment, approval, orientation, placement, ongoing formation, evaluation, and retention of parish catechetical leaders.” It is our fervent hope that we can provide you, the catechetical leader with: an orientation to the diocese, ongoing formation through workshops, in-services, and meetings; and mentorship so as to retain you in this beautiful ministry of ours for years to come. Our office will connect with you through email campaigns, phone calls, and site visits. We welcome contact that you initiate at any time. We are here to be of service to you!
"Catechesis is the centerpiece of a diocese’s evangelizing activities and is closely linked with all other forms of education in the faith." (NDC, 2005, p. 253) Catechesis is NOT simply gaining knowledge of our Catholic faith. To be catechized is to know and love the Jesus of the Gospels and to profess Him as Christ our Lord. A well-catechized catholic will act authentically as a witness of the grace and mercy of God and bring others into a deeper relationship with the Lord. It is our desire to accompany catechetical leaders in this most essential task of our collaborative ministry.
The formation of catechetical leaders and parish catechists is a priority for our office. We have worked with the University of Dallas “to establish theologically and academically sound programs of preparation for parish catechetical leaders” and parish catechists. (NDC, 2005, p.251) The Certificate for Pastoral Ministry includes core courses in theology and scripture and ministry specific courses in catechesis for catechists and catechetical leaders. Everyone in ministry is urged to pursue this certificate. Our office can provide you with information or you can contact the Neuhoff School of Ministry at the University of Dallas.
We understand how busy you are in the parish. All of us have worked in parishes too. Sometimes it feels like you can barely maintain the existing parish ministries. It is our responsibility to “keep catechetical personnel informed concerning important church documents and recommendations that pertain to catechesis.” (NDC, 2005, p.252) We have a robust website, filled with best practices and current trends in catechetical formation. We can be a resource if you are interested in innovating any part of your parish catechetical ministry.
"Pastors have specific responsibilities that derive from their particular catechetical role. All believers have a right to catechesis; all pastors have the duty to provide it." (NDC, 2005, p. 220) Pastors have the enormous task in providing for the faith formation of parishioners. We joyfully join you in your ministry as chief catechist. Our staff can support your parish staff in preparing the faithful to receive the sacraments of Infant Baptism, First Reconciliation, and First Eucharist. We also have resources in children’s ministry and adult ministry, as well as initiatives for the new evangelization. Our office offers a comprehensive catechist certification process and one designed for the catechetical leader.
"May the church be the place of God’s mercy and love, where everyone can feel themselves welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live according to the good life of the Gospel. And in order to make others feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged, the church must have open doors so that all might enter. And we must go out of those doors and proclaim the Gospel.” — Pope Francis continuing a series of meditations on the church. (June 12, 2013) This quote from Pope Francis is our guide regarding welcome, hospitality, and evangelization. Catechetical Services has a deeply rooted commitment to radical hospitality so all might feel welcome in our Church. This includes those who come to our doors and those whom the Lord calls us to go out and seek. If you are interested in reinventing how you envision hospitality, we are here to join you in that initiative.
"Those involved in organization for catechesis should develop a clear statement to explain the principles and goals of catechesis, the measure of accountability and the provision for the communication of information." (NDC, 2005, p. 246) A parish catechetical plan involves more than selecting an approved curriculum series! Our staff would welcome the opportunity to accompany your staff in creating a catechetical plan that encompasses the whole faith community. The centrality of a catechetical plan is on adults, young and old, and in the context of the nuclear family. The plan requires a measurable set of outcomes and a process for communicating the plan to the parish community.
"The single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical leader." (NDC, 2005, p. 224) The Department of Catechetical Services can support pastors in the recruitment and hiring of catechetical leaders as requested. The staff is prepared to assist pastors in initial and ongoing formation of leaders for ministry. We offer a variety of workshops, in-services, and certification courses to provide catechetical leaders with theological and practical skills that witness the ideal of lifelong faith formation for themselves and those whom they serve.
At Mary Immaculate we launched family catechesis as an option for the 2019-2020 school year. I chose Family of Faith curriculum from Sophia Institute, but branded it for my parish and called it Community of Faith. I met with a market research group of parents in order to successfully launch the branding. Here is our website for more info: www.maryimmaculatechurch.org/communityoffaith
Out of the 500 families registered in total for religious education we had 80 families sign up for Spanish sessions and 25 signed up in English sessions. I actually capped registration for the Spanish session and turned away at least 25 families because we wouldn’t fit in our parish hall. Next year I am planning to open a Saturday session as well in Spanish.
We have an extensive check-in system when the families arrive which is run by our hospitality committee group. Hospitality is comprised of master Catechists, parents, and teen volunteers. The families pick up their name tags, check attendance and the volunteers check if they did their homework.
The English session begins at 9am and concludes with 10:45 Mass. The Spanish Mass begins at 9am and then the families head to session. In English I’ve booked guest speakers to lead the catechetical session at each meeting. In Spanish, Omar Aguilar leads the catechetical session and we invite Catechists to come and lead the Family Activities.
One of the moms came up to me crying on the first day and she said that this is a great ministry and she’s so grateful for all that went into the preparation. I’ve conducted a survey on their experience and they have no complaints, which is incredible because it requires significantly more parent commitment!
The nature walk was one of the initial sessions we had, and we held it at a nearby garden and concluded with s’mores. It was incredible to see how many families attended and really enjoyed the family moment!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. If you’d like to come and see what it’s like our next date is March 15.