Regional Gatherings, May, 2013
Now that we will have administered the ACRE assessment for the first time, how do we analyze the reports, interpret the results, and make a resolution or two for improvement? Secondly, how do we properly and most effectively conduct an RCIA or Adult Faith Formation program? What is the mind of the Church with regard to preparing a child over the age of reason for the sacraments of initiation? For more information and to register for the May, 2013 Regional Gatherings, CLICK HERE.
NCEA ACRE 2013
Bishop Morlino has requested that all parish catechetical programs join our Catholic schools in annually administering the ACRE assessment to all 5th grade, 8th grade and students in their high school Confirmation year. These assessments may be taken in February or March of 2013. For more information PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program
The Archdiocese of Kansas City is joining forces with the Apostles of the Interior Life (www.apostlesofil.org) and the School of Faith (www.schooloffaith.com) to offer a program of formation for spiritual mentors. You may recall that the consecrated women of the Apostles of the Interior Life served with distinction for a number of years at St. Paul University Catholic Center at the University of Wisconsin. This two-year course of study of four components combines eight distance-learning courses with four, one-week intensive in-residence sessions at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. It is designed for Catholics who have a desire to develop a deep prayer and sacramental life, a desire to increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, a desire to grow in the virtues and a desire to help others do the same. The program’s intent is to develop spiritual mentors who will be trained to help guide and assist others in the spiritual life. With the shortage of qualified spiritual directors in our diocese and elsewhere, this program fills an important need. For more information, click here.
Hispanic Ministries Survey
As you are intimately aware, many of our parishes struggle to effectively minister to the growing number of parishioners who need to communicate in Spanish. Several of you have indicated that it could be helpful to know what Spanish-speaking resources and programs are available at your neighboring parishes. Please have one person from each parish complete this brief survey (even if you have no such resources).
Revisions to Confirmation guidelines - Oct. 3, 2010
Ongoing experiences with regional celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation have led to tweaking of the guidelines directing the logistics of these celebrations. Stay abreast of these changes on these web pages. Particularly, all those involved in organizing an upcoming celebration should check these pages for the most current policies and guidelines. That document can be found here.
Bishops warn about flawed theology
"The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology
The USCCB's Committee on Doctrine recently released a statement regarding the book, "The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology." The U.S. bishops are cautioning about this book that claims to teach "Catholic anthropology" but in fact goes against Church teachings on human sexuality. The committee wishes to make it clear that neither the methodology of 'The Sexual Person' nor the conclusions that depart from authoritative Church teaching constitute authentic expressions of Catholic theology." The book's authors are Creighton University professors Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler. The committee's statement can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/_cs_upload/8085_1.pdf
Harcourt's "Growing in Love" series
Some points regarding text selection
A recent discussion regarding Harcourt's "Growing in Love" series brings up several points which are generally applicable to the selection of texts for use in parish or school religious education programs...
Harcourt’s “Growing in Love” series series is not on the USCCB’s “conformity listing” (available here) for use as a text series for parish or school RE programs, meaning it would not be approved for that use in the Diocese of Madison. The “Growing in Love” series was created as “a supplement to any basal religion series”, especially Harcourt’s “Walking by Faith” series. (The student text is on the USCCB conformity listing as a “supplemental material,” but the teacher’s manuals don’t even earn this approval.)
If a parish or school were to use the “Growing in Love” series across all K-8 grade levels, students would receive a predominantly “sexuality” themed curriculum, and would miss much of what the U.S. bishops have determined as essential to a complete foundation in the faith (described in their “protocol for assessing conformity” (available here). If a year of "Growing in Love" were to be used along with texts from another series for the other grades, one would need to examine what the students may be missing, as the USCCB approves the “completeness” of an entire series rather than a single grade level.
Further, a review the materials lends credence to many of the criticisms leveled in some online articles such as: http://catholicparents.org/religiouseducation/GrowingInLove.html In a nutshell, the series does not adequately reflect the most pertinent Church documents for a series on sexuality: “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” and “Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living”
While the materials have an imprimatur, this only says a book is “free of doctrinal or moral error.” This is immediately followed by “No implication is contained herein that those who have granted the nihil obstat or imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.” Thus, while the content of a text might all be true, they might not be appropriate for the targeted age level or even for a parish RE course.
If a program specifically intends to present a course on sexuality to middle school students, one might investigate the “Family Honor” programs which focus on assisting parents in this formation. Another possibility is the “Love and Life” program, which although solid, will still have many of the caveats involved with presenting sexuality in a program setting.
At the tenth grade level or beyond, many parishes are having great success with “Theology of the Body for Teens.”
Resources on the new Missal translation
The diocesan Office of Worship is presenting workshops on the new translation.
Click here for more.
The USCCB has built a website to help us prepare for the new transition of the Roman Missal. The site includes helpful resources for the faithful, for the clergy, and for parish and diocesan leaders, so that all of us will be ready to implement the new text late next year (2011). Click here.
Tuition in parish RE programs
Earlier this year, Stephanie Beaver, DRE at St. Jerome Parish in Columbus undertook a survey of what parishes in the diocese were asking families to contribute in support of their parish RE programs. She shares her findings with us via this spreadsheet. Note that this data is not exhaustive and may have changed since it was gathered, but it still might serve useful as others wrestle with this issue in their own parishes. (Obviously, we don't sell the Good News, but the money to pay for programs has to come from somewhere. Every parishioner is responsible for the evangelization and catechesis of the youth in the parish.)
Recent comments from Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI recently addressed the bishops of England and Wales, gathered for their ad Limina visit. Bishop Morlino found the Holy Father’s remarks to be of particular interest and asked that all those who assist in the catechetical work of the diocese read them. They are quite brief but thought-provoking.
Click here to read the Pope's comments.
“In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.” Benedict XVI
Spend time reflecting on the BIG picture: use this pastoral letter as a starting point, or if possible read "The Craft of Catechesis," which can be found here.