The catechetical leader plays a significant role in sacramental preparation—but not alone. No one person should be solely responsible for preparing the liturgy and catechizing children and families for First Penance and First Communion. Join Donna Eschenauer, Ph.D., to discover how collaboration can elevate and propel your catechetical program to new heights.
Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead is the story of a 76-year-old Iowa pastor who is reflecting on his life and writing a long letter to his young son, born to him in his old age. At one point in the novel, the pastor recalls a moment from his own childhood when he watched the community come together to help take down a church that had been struck by lightning. They have one day to do this before harvest, and that day happens to bring pouring rain.
The narrator describes taking shelter from the rain under a wagon with the other young children, while the grownups worked. Then he writes:
The ashes turned liquid in the rain and the men who were working in the ruins got entirely black and filthy, till you would hardly know one from another. My father brought me some biscuit that had soot on it from his hands. “Never mind,” he said, “there’s nothing cleaner than ash.” But it affected the taste of that biscuit, which I thought might have tasted like the bread of affliction….
5 February is the 25th anniversary of the death of Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, a much-loved General of the Society of Jesus and founder of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Michael Campbell-Johnston SJ, who worked closely with Fr Arrupe, offers a personal reflection on ‘the founder of the modern Society."
As a child, I was somewhat confused about death. I blame Star Wars.
The original Star Wars movie came out when I was three; seeing it with my family remains one of my earliest memories. My meditation on the movie continued over a comic-book adaptation of the story that I read over and over until it finally fell apart from over-reading a couple of years later. My first conscious experience of “death” was Obi Wan Kenobi cut down by Darth Vader in a dramatic lightsaber duel—and his subsequent disappearance.
Thus, I thought that’s what everybody did when they died: their body just vanished like Ben Kenobi’s.
Jesus told his disciples to go out and spread the word of God. We are all disciples of God, and as such, we should be spreading the word of God as well. How would you suggest a normal, everyday person go about sharing our faith with others?
Pope Paul VI and the United States Catholic Bishops addressed this very question in some of their writings. They suggest a three-fold process.
As you can see, this process of reading, understanding and application is simple and low tech. It can be used individually or is easily facilitated in small and large groups. Furthermore, eCatechist.com will recommend additional titles specifically selected for the education and formation of catechists in coming months.
This process of reading, studying, and using the “Catechist Learning Page” will be used with additional titles specifically selected for education and formation of catechists.
Please contact Dan Pierson with questions or for ideas about implementation in your diocese or parish. firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.956.5044
This site offers resources for Christian formation for children, youth, and adults. Articles, advice, reviews, catechetical ideas and guides for preparation of the season, curriculum and sacraments are available. Its focus is mainly on family faith formation.
By Father Mark R. Francis, C.S.V., who is currently President and Professor of Liturgy at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His most recent book, Local Worship, Global Church, Popular Religion and the Liturgy was published by Liturgical Press in 2013.
It’s time to stop celebrating confirmation as the sacrament of departure. There’s an old joke about two pastors discussing their mutual problem with bats in the attics of their respective churches. “I’ve tried everything,” Father Brown complains to Father Smith, “exterminators, electric wires, traps, poison—everything…but I just can’t seem to get rid of them.” Father Smith smiles and says “Don’t worry. I have found the perfect solution…. I had the bishop come to confirm the bats … and they never returned!”
Awhile back “Time” Magazine published some fascinating articles on the “biology of belief”: how faith can heal us. Folks who attend church services on Sunday have a lower risk of dying in any one year than the guys who sleep in, read the paper, and skip all holy activities. “Spirituality predicts for better disease control,” says Dr. Gail Ironson, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Miami who studies HIV and religious belief.
Okay. So how? What exactly happens in a brain when a person sings “Alleluia!” that makes her more resilient to illness than the nonbeliever? Here are 8 ways faith can heal.
Elizabeth Reardon of Theology is a Verb and An Engaging Faith is a lay minister, catechist, presenter and facilitator for the Catholic Church. With a heart for connecting the faith to the work of justice and reconciliation in our communities, her hope is for people to become captivated with the “more” that our faith offers. Her writing, often Ignatian in practice, is an invitation to seek and create space for God in the midst of the busyness of everyday life. She can be heard live stream daily at 4 pm ET on An Engaging Faith radio show on Breadbox Media.com which looks at the discovery of God in our everyday while also seeking to engage the social realities in the world around us.
There are many different ways to view church. Scripture, tradition and developing theology all contribute to the many images held up for our vision of church.
Church as the People of God
The word “church” derives from two words: qahal in Hebrew and ekklesia in Greek. Together these words translate as "a gathering of people." Repeatedly, we read in scripture that God wills to save people and to make them into a people who acknowledge and serve God and one another. First and foremost, the church is the people of God, as it says in 2 Corinthians 6:16, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.”
Church as Sacrament
A sacrament is defined as an outward sign of an inward reality. Thus, the Church is seen as a sacrament because it is a noticeable indicator that the unseen God is at work in the community. And because of God’s presumed presence, it is a means by which God communicates with humanity and helps bring about God’s kingdom. The Holy Spirit moves through the community breathing God’s inspiration among the people. The greatest sign to the world of our connection to God is how loving we are as a church.