Check out this guide to help you reopen safely!
TOPIC ONE: How do we deliver meaningful faith formation in the 2020-
2021 catechetical year? Onsite? Offsite? Hybrid?
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Join Us Wednesday August 5 at 10:00am!
Cheryl Whapham will discuss the upcoming events hosted by Catechetical and Family Life and introduce a new Thursday morning cohort of leaders who will be participating in the Certificate of Pastoral Ministry. Michele Meny, Director of Continuing Education at UD, will be present to answer questions regarding the CPM and discuss the benefits of going through the program with a group of peers.
All are welcome!
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Plan ahead to attend these virtual gatherings sure to assist you in your ministry during this challenging time!
Learn more about our new Webinar Wednesday, Teachable Tuesday and much more coming this August!
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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.
They say if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well, thank you global pandemic! But, I quickly became tired of squeezing lemons, so I decided to take “these challenging times” and turn them into “times of opportunity!” “Challenging times” always seems to involve going to the grocery store. Since our families here at Holy Spirit are spread out over 12 cities, many who drive over 30 minutes just to attend Mass and Faith Formation, I needed to find ways to offer them a variety of fun, hands-on activities that would enhance their faith experiences while staying safe at home. That took a lot of outside-the-box thinking and a whole lot of Pinteresting!
Since COVID cancelled our Mother & Daughter Tea, an annual favorite, we started with a drive thru Mother’s Day Tea Party Packet distribution to all our moms so they could still enjoy their special day. We then offered parents Family Faith Summer Buckets available at registration, in the front office or special “delivery” (me of course), which were full of super fun, engaging ways to continue to practice their faith during the summer. One item was Flat Jesus (like Flat Stanley) who has since developed into our “Where’s Flat Jesus?” slideshow game. Flat Jesus and I drove around the D/FW area and visited points of interest that families might know (especially in their specific cities) and they are now able to guess where we are for a prize! We are also doing a coloring book distribution Sunday (in recognition of National Coloring Book Day) to welcome families back to Mass and are starting a weekly evening story time, Dozin’ Off with Ms. Deborah, to give children a positive message, learn bedtime prayers and teach parents about blessing their children. And every Friday, I update our Children’s webpage with a variety of both on-line and downloadable family-friendly activities that correlate to the Sunday Gospel, liturgical events or just provide some much needed spiritual support for parents.
I also continued to deliver birthday treats to catechists celebrating summer birthdays, honored our graduating senior teen aides and catechists considered front-line/essential workers with designating yard signs and had a BLAST with Ding Dong Dash, a way to surprise catechists with little pick-me-up treat baskets. Who said the church needed to reopen? I don’t believe we were ever closed! And now, more than ever, we need to find creative ways to keep families connected to their parish and the people they’re used to seeing on Sunday even if we are on-line and in Minion PJ’s.
Deborah Pearson, Coordinator, Children’s Faith Formation, Holy Spirit Catholic Parish
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