Forum - the spring 2010 newsletter of the North American Forum on



Forum - the spring 2010 newsletter of the North American Forum on
F rum
Volume 27, Issue 1
Spring 2010
To Hold in Trust…Challenges and Invitations
By Linda Krehmeier, Chair, Board of Directors
This year, as we prepared for and then celebrated the Rite
of Election here in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for some 250
catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion for
another 250 candidates, I found myself reflecting once again
on the journey by which these men and women came to be
in our midst, professing their faith and seeking to live as followers of Jesus Christ. Working with these liturgies each year
always draws me back to the heart of Lent. Once again I
find myself reflecting on my own journey of conversion, a
journey undertaken but not yet completed.
Linda Krehmeier
Working in initiation ministry on the diocesan level means
that I do not have the privilege of sharing the faith journey of
our elect in the same way that their parish leaders do. Yet, I have the privilege of
sharing the journey of these parish leaders, their struggles and conversion experiences
as we work together to deepen our understanding of and implementation of the
process of initiation. This
work is not done in a vacuum and it is not just
education. I truly realized
“Working in initiation ministry on the diocethis about 18 years ago
san level means that I do not have the priviwhen asked to teach the
Catechetics/RCIA course
lege of sharing the faith journey of our elect
at Oblate School of
in the same way that their parish leaders do.
Theology in San Antonio.
Yet, I have the privilege of sharing the jourIt is one thing to tell others about the process, it is
ney of these parish leaders, their struggles
quite another to become a
and conversion experiences as we work
part of it – to allow oneself
together to deepen our understanding of and
to be formed and called to
conversion as we work
implementation of the process of initiation.”
within the community of
faith to help form and to
Continued on page 6
The Mission of The North American
Forum on the Catechumenate is the
full implementation in all parishes
ofthe Rite of Christian Initiation
of Adults and its implications for
Table of Contents
Forum’s Newest Institute:
Evangelizing Parish...................2
Generous Supporters:
Matching Gifts Campaign........4
Forum's Easter Appeal.............5
Join Work of the
Catholic Coalition
on Climate Change ..................5
Resource Reviews .....................7
A Concise Guide
to Adult Faith Formation
The Creed: Apostolic
Faith in Contemporary
When They Come Home:
Ways to Welcome
Returning Catholics
Words of Faith:
Our Prayers
2010 Calendar.........................15
Evangelizing Parish: Vision, Passion, Practice
By Jim Schellman, Executive Director
The Evangelizing Parish
Institute is Forum’s newest
formation offering. Dioceses
are increasingly asking about
it and offering to cosponsor
it. In fact, this year one diocese is offering it as the continuing education experience
for its clergy.
The following summary
description of the institute is
Jim Schellman
intended to whet parish
leaders’ spiritual appetites
for this powerful formation
experience. It is a 2-day event that immerses participants in the Church’s vision of evangelization, develops
deep enthusiasm for and attachment to this vision, and
grounds this enthusiasm in some practical applications
in the life of their parishes. Participants in the institute
include all parish leaders: ordained, lay, paid, volunteer,
all ministry coordinators (e.g., liturgical ministries, education, catechetics, social outreach), etc. As Pope Paul
VI declared: “The Church exists to evangelize.”
Overall Goal of Institute
The institute’s overall goal is to present the
Church’s vision of evangelization in such a way that
participants feel compelled to reflect it in their own
lives and to help their parishes become evangelizing
communities. This provides the ground for the
Church’s ministry of initiation.
To achieve this, the Evangelizing Parish Institute has
several specific objectives:
• To provide a process in which the participants experi-
ence the scriptural and liturgical bases for the vision
of evangelization
• To invite participants to deepen their own commit-
ment to evangelization
• To challenge participants to explore the connections
between this vision and their parish’s way of life, with
Sunday Eucharist at the heart
• To provide working sessions in which parish leaders
craft some ways their parishes can take up the task of
being an evangelizing parish
• To connect evangelization with the ministries of initi-
ation and social justice
Institute Dynamics
The institute begins with the scripture of Genesis,
the story of the garden, as the foundational image of a
world in which God’s people are in right relationship
with God, one another, and the world as a whole. The
restoration of this garden of right relationship in Christ
is the goal of evangelization, God’s very own transforming, redemptive work in which we are privileged to take
part. The Acts of the Apostles from the Easter season
lectionary then provides the basis for deepening this
vision and the participants’ enthusiasm for how the
faith of Christians is intended to change the world.
The institute then moves to the Gospel of Matthew
on the day of Pentecost for the full image of an evangelized and evangelizing people. It asks the question
how this image can take concrete flesh in the parishes
represented among the participants—how might we
change the world, one step at a time. The event concludes with the celebration of the Sunday Vigil Mass
and breaks open the image of the Sunday Eucharist as a
primary form of evangelization.
Come and See
Check the Forum calendar for an Evangelizing Parish
Institute near you. Go to and click
on Calendar. Come and see how this incomparable formation experience can help evangelize your parish leaders and people!
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate
125 Michigan Ave., NE Washington, DC 20017-1004
(202) 884-9758 Fax (202) 884-9747
[email protected]
Mission The North American Forum on the Catechumenate (Forum) is an
international network of pastoral ministers, liturgists, catechists, and theologians
united to share the vision and practice of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Mission Statement The mission of The North American Forum on the Catechumenate is the full implementation in all parishes of the Rite
of Christian Initiation of Adults and its implications for reconciliation.
Theological Foundation The Mission of Forum is grounded in a
theology based on the experience of
✦ God’s gracious initiative
✦ the paschal mystery of death and resurrection in
Jesus Christ
✦ the prophetic power of word and sacrament
✦ the shared life and wisdom of the people of God ,
graced and sinful
✦ listening to the voice of the poor and oppressed
✦ conversion to the freedom of disciples
✦ working for justice and peace for the world
Formational Principles To remain faithful to the vision of
the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Forum adheres to
these principles:
✦ Initiation begins with evangelization leading
to conversion.
✦ Catechesis, community, liturgy, and mission
are formative.
✦ All cultural gifts are honored and celebrated.
✦ The methods of theological reflection are pastoral.
✦ The processes of adult learning are normative.
Organizational Traits Forum’s operations, behaviors, attitudes,
and actions exhibit these traits:
✦ Excellence: The highest level of competence, creativity, and
professionalism are strived for at all times.
✦ Stewardship: Human, material, environmental, and
financial resources are administered with responsibility and accountability.
✦ Respect: The precepts that all life is sacred, that each
human being is unique, and that all deserve to be
treated with dignity are affirmed in speech and action.
✦ Collaboration: Cooperation, consultation,
communication, and networking are normative for
all Forum projects.
✦ Inclusivity: Forum relies on the diversity of gifts
among its members and proactively seeks a full range
of diversity in all areas of its ministry.
✦ Integrity: Honesty, justice, and ethical behavior are
hallmarks of Forum’s work.
The FORUM Newsletter is published three times a year by The North American Forum on the Catechumenate and is available, free of
charge, to all interested persons or institutions. Please address all correspondence to the address listed above.
Permission is granted to all subscribers of the FORUM Newsletter to reprint any articles or news items in the newsletter (permission
not granted for graphics and copyrighted text). Include the following notation with the reprint:
"Reprinted from the FORUM Newsletter, (Date). No further reproduction permitted without permission. For more information contact The North American Forum on the Catechumenate, 125 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20017-1004- Send a copy of the
reprint to Forum for our records. Copyright © 2010, The North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
Rev. James B. Dunning (1937-1995)
of Directors
Rev. William Burke
Ottawa, Ontario
Sr. Miriam Malone, SNJM
Los Gatos, California
Mr. James M. Schellman
Executive Director, ext. 4
Mr. Steve Janco
Forest Park, Illinois
Mr. Michelle Miller
Ottawa, Ontario
Ms. Linda Krehmeier,
Rev. Richard Vega
Chicago, Illinois
Ms. Aleli Belonia
Institute Manager, ext. 3
Business Support, ext. 2
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sr. Priscilla Lemire, RJM
Manchester, New Hampshire
Generous Supporters of
Forum’s 6th Annual Matching Gifts Campaign
Forum’s Sixth Annual Matching Gifts Campaign was launched in November 2009 and concluded at
the end of the year. Over the years, this Campaign has become an essential means of support for Forum’s
mission in the year following. We thank the many Forum members and friends who took part. Special
thanks go to the large donors who provided the challenge grant to kick off the Campaign—
Rob Doerschner
Steve & Kathleen Hopkins
John Page
Thomas Weis
Those who generously gave $200 or more to help match the challenge grant were—
Mike Bassett
James Challancin
Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Mike and Kathy Bates
John Durbin
Scott & Kathleen Brown
James Field
James and Andrea
Diocese of Lafayette
Linda Krehmeier
Diocese of Springfield
in Illinois
William & Helen Lyons
Jennifer Manier
Sisters of the Holy Names
of Jesus and Mary
Victoria Tufano
Forum’s Easter Appeal—
for Cheerful Givers
Easter 2010
Dear Member and Friend of Forum,
This Easter Season we rejoice anew in the great gift of Baptism. In communities of faith throughout the world, the Lord has brought to birth thousands of
new disciples fired by the Holy Spirit for the Lord’s own dear mission in our
neighborhoods, nation, and world.
These newly minted disciples of Christ have joined a great work, the Church’s
work of helping to transform the world as we know it into the world God
intends. The economic realities in our families and communities tell the story
yet again of a world still tone-deaf in so many ways to the Lord’s generous, lifegiving mission. Together with us, our neophytes have so much work to do, the
hard work both of charity and of justice.
Help Forum continue to foster this central, disciple-making work of our community of faith. Forum’s incomparable ministry formation events are raising up a new generation of pastoral leaders who share your passion
for evangelization leading to initiation and full discipleship for the sake of Christ’s mission.
Please consider redirecting some of your giving this year to Forum’s ministry. We must raise 15 % of our
operating needs through your generosity. No gift is too small. Those who can contribute $200 or more
will be honored by name in the Forum Newsletter.
Please make your donation online at or mail it to:
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate
P.O. Box 79459, Baltimore, MD 21279-0459 USA
In Christ, risen and gloriously among us in these holy 50 Days!
James M. Schellman, Executive Director
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate is a not-for-profit organization in the U.S. with a 501 (c) 3 IRS ruling.
Contributions to Forum are 100% tax deductible under current U.S. law.
Join the Work of the Catholic Coalition
By signing up at you will be kept upto-date on how you can put your faithful stewardship into action. You will
receive regular email and action alerts reflecting the U.S. Bishops’ public
policy priorities as well as news on efforts to care for creation from the
Vatican, the U.S. Bishops, state Catholic conferences, dioceses, and parishes.
Links for further information:
Continued from page 1
journey with our elect and candidates. Paragraph 75 of
the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults outlines for us the
focus of the catechumenate – each time I work with
parish leaders and we spend time on this paragraph I find
myself asking the same questions – Do I live this? Do we
live this?
As a member of the Board of Forum over the last year
and now as I begin a two-year term as chair, I realize
even more clearly that this formation, this conversion is
the work of Forum under the inspiration of God’s Holy
Spirit. For years Forum’s Institutes have provided countless parish and diocesan leaders the opportunity to
immerse themselves in formational experiences designed
to call all participants to live their baptismal commitment
in the context of a community of faith and to deepen the
initiation experiences of those to whom they minster.
In today’s world, Forum is being called to explore new
ways of sharing its vision and resources. Our institutes
will always be the heart of Forum. In the spirit of the
early voices of Forum, we are committed to the realization of a fully implemented Rite of Christian Initiation of
Adults resulting from evangelization and conversion
through catechesis, liturgy, discipleship, and mission.
We are challenged to discover the approaches and
processes that will be most effective in our incredibly
multicultural Church in the United States and Canada.
I invite you to join other Forum members in support
and prayer as the Board explores the possibilities that
faith, creativity, cultural sensitivity, and technology place
before us – challenges and invitations in the journey of
conversion leading to initiation and full discipleship.
Challenges and invitations also for the future of Forum.
A Concise Guide to Adult
Faith Formation
By Neil A. Parent
Published by Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (U.S.), 174 pages
Reviewed by Marguerite Main
My first reaction
upon reading Neil
Parent’s new book,
A Concise Guide to
Adult Faith
Formation, was
“where was this book
when I first began
ministry in Adult
Faith Formation 30+
years ago?” Though
church documents since
the early 1970’s have
given voice to the concept of adult education
as the “chief form of catechesis” (General
Catechetical Directory, #20
[1971]), no resource that I
had seen then, nor since,
gives such a complete
overview of the approaches
to adult learning and an
understanding of the varying
needs of adults as this guide.
In this latest book in the
Concise Guide Series, Neil
Parent draws upon his vast experience in adult faith formation and addresses the impact of today’s culture upon
the ability of adults to understand and live our faith. He
challenges parishes to “bridge the gap between religion
and life.” A parish that recognizes that it exists to bring
about the reign of God and that is actively
involved through word and action in bringing
that Good News to others is a parish that
understands the connection
between mission and adult
faith formation. Those of us
who minister to adults in the
Rite of Christian Initiation
recognize as a “given” that
Christian faith is not a set of
doctrines but a way of being
in the world inspired by
those doctrines. It is a
faith that must make its
way to the heart, not just
be implanted in the head.
It is a continuous, lifelong process.
In an easy to read
format, interspersed
with personal stories
from his own parish
and adult faith formation experiences,
Parent presents an
historical overview
of church documents relating to
adult faith formation, the key
dynamics relating
to adult learning,
suggested approaches to
learning needs analysis, as well as program planning
guidance and checklist. Each chapter includes reflection questions which would facilitate study and discussion by a parish faith formation team. There are also
sections on the purposes of an adult faith formation
team, its composition, and techniques for recruitment
and support and training.
All of us who have been part of adult faith formation
ministry know the frustrations we face, one of the most
universal being low attendance or lack of motivation for
people to attend programs we put on. Parent provides a
variety of strategies and techniques to motivate adults,
recognizing that there is no one factor to influence adults
to attend. He presents ways to respond to the different
type of learners and the importance of recognizing an
adult’s experience in their learning process. He also
stresses the importance of parish life, as he notes that one
primary way a parish teaches is the way it mediates
Catholic life through its liturgies, rituals, structures, services, and commissions. This challenges us to look at our
parish through the eyes of a visitor or newcomer and ask what the parish is communicating through its lived experience. He
states that “taking time to think through
the lived messages of a parish will greatly
help an adult education committee offer
learning experiences that bear good potential for success” (Guide, pp. 111-112).
A valuable addition to this book is the
appendix. Included in this appendix are
excerpts from relevant church documents,
including the Rite of Christian Initiation of
Adults (RCIA) and what it has to say
about the formation process that serves as
a model for catechesis (see RCIA #75).
Also presented for reflection and study are
questions for evaluating how our parish is
communicating about Catholic life
through its activities and its structures,
ways to provide effective promotional
material, and an extensive program planning guide. There are also resources for
intergenerational learning, which is gaining popularity in more and more parishes.
In addition to being a valuable guide
for anyone involved in adult faith forma-
tion, A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation can be an
effective tool for parish staffs and leaders. Parent has
helpful suggestions for assisting parishes in assessing how
the lived experience of the parish reflects or does not
reflect the stated mission of the parish. I would strongly
recommend this resource for all adult formation directors and others involved in parish adult leadership roles.
Marguerite Main is currently a Forum Team member and consultant to the
Seattle Archdiocesan RCIA Committee. She has thirty- five years experience in adult faith formation and RCIA, including six years on the Board
of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
The Creed: Apostolic Faith
in Contemporary Theology
By Berard L. Marthaler, OFM
Published by Twenty-Third Publications, Paper, $34.95 (U.S.)
Reviewed by Mary Birmingham
Berard L. Marthaler’s revised and expanded The
Creed belongs not only on the shelf of every catechist who ministers to adults, but is unequivocally
an essential resource for those who minister to cate-
chumens. Once “elected” to the sacraments of
initiation at the beginning of Lent, these newcomers to the faith stand before God and the
Christian community to profess
their belief in all that the
Catholic Church teaches that
God has revealed—all truths
inherent in the Nicene Creed.
It is one thing to profess such
truth with conviction, it is
quite another to delve deeply
into what is meant by each
phrase uttered. The formation of catechumens must
include the latter. It is not
a blind faith to which we
give assent; it is an
informed faith.
The Church exists to
witness to the majesty of
God, to give God due
praise and worship and
to generate itself. One
way the Church accomplishes this is by spreading the Christian
faith in Christ and the
Christ event.
Marthaler asserts that
apostolic faith can be
reduced to general
creedal statements such as
Jesus descended from David; he was Messiah and Son
of God; he suffered, died, rose again; he sits at the
Father’s right hand; all who repent and are baptized
will have their sins forgiven, etc.
While many different Christian creedal formulas
were in circulation in antiquity, they all included
the articles of faith just enumerated. They all wit-
while limited, is nonetheless their legacy to us today.
nessed not simply to articles of belief, but to profound
Through it we share their experience and are one with
transformation of body, soul, and spirit by those who
our ancestors in faith. Such finite language, whether
professed them. Can the same be said today of those
ancient or contemporary, is faith seeking expression.
who similarly profess adherence to such creeds? Such is
There is, however, a risk of such language finding its way
Marthaler’s concern and reason for writing this worthy
to dusty shelves where stale propositions and formulas
catechetical resource.
The author’s intention in revising his first seminal edi- languish in perpetuity. It is the Church’s job to keep
such languishing from taking place, to assist each generation of The Creed is to aid in the effort of contemporary
tion in expressing a relevant faith for today. Marthaler’s
theologians to “restore meaning and relevance to the
book is a great companion to the catechisms of our traclassic creeds” (Creed, p. 13) so that they not diminish
dition that articulate our
into obsolescence but instead
faith and formulate our
provide the same opportunity
creed. Catechisms tell us
for metanoia that was affordwhat we believe; Marthaler
ed to the first communities
“…in his effort to provide a well-baltells us why we believe it.
who bravely staked their lives
It is incidentally noteworon their profession of them.
to draw attention to the
He provides a thorough
Creed we profess, Marthaler goes beyond
first chapter and its exegesis
review of the development,
mere doctrinal exegesis and supplements
of the ancient presentation
purpose, function, and differof the creed to catechumens
ences between various creeds
it with biblical, theological, liturgical,
(see p.6). He provides
throughout the ages.
insightful explanatory mateMarthaler insists that
rial of the ancient rite that is
resources that center solely on
still celebrated in today’s
doctrinal issues, to the neglect
of cultural and social factors and liturgical contexts, pro- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The genius of
Marthaler’s resource is that in very readable fashion it
vide a very limited perspective of the doctrine that is
provides the historical and theological synthesis of every
explicated. Thus, in his effort to provide a well-balarticle of faith to which catechumens give assent. Truly
anced, broad-spectrum exegesis of the Creed we profess,
this should be in every initiation minister’s arsenal of
Marthaler goes beyond mere doctrinal exegesis and supresource material.
plements it with biblical, theological, liturgical, and historical insights and contexts. Scattered throughout the
Mary Birmingham is the director of liturgy, music, and Christian inibook are interesting historical vignettes and anecdotal
tiation and is vision director for Whole Community Catechesis at
material that situate the theology within real-life comAscension Parish in Melbourne, Florida. She has her MA in Liturgy
munities—a lived faith.
and Theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. A Team
He reminds his readers that humans must express
their deepest beliefs in verbal formulations. Such “formu- member of Forum, Mary has worked on the international, national,
and diocesan levels in the area of initiation and sacramental and liturlations are at best feeble attempts to capture transcengical catechesis. She is the author of the 3-volume Word and
dent mystery in finite language” (p. 103). The first comWorship Workbook, Years A, B, C (Paulist Press) and Year Round
munities professed and celebrated that transcendent mys- Catechumenate (Liturgy Training Publications).
tery with passion. The language we inherited from them,
When They Come Home: Ways to
Welcome Returning Catholics
By Melanie Rigney and Anna M. Lanave
Published by Twenty-Third Publications, $9.95 (U.S.), 86 pgs.
Reviewed by Clare Colella
It was delightful to enter the story of
these two authors who themselves have
experienced the process about which they
write. Their book has the straightforward
simplicity of their wisdom and insights. The
introductory chapters establish a perspective
and offer statistics that are helpful.
The first time I read it through I learned
about the experiences of the authors and
how that influenced how they continue to
facilitate the program in their parish and
ministries. They have certainly been “set on
fire” and are glad to share their insights
with others through this little volume. I
found that their urban/suburban Virginia
location differs from many other parish
population profiles and some insights
resonated, while some comments about
other programs and the characteristics
of returnees seemed too narrow, and
somewhat judgmental.
The flow of the short book included
background on their paths back to
active participation in the Catholic
Church, as well as insightful recommendations about attitudes of parish
leaders and team members, parish
life and readiness to welcome those
seeking to return to the Church,
and assessing ways to reach out to
invite inactive Catholics back to
the parish.
The later chapters focus on
suggestions for gathering and discerning parish team leaders and
members, for the initial meeting
with each returnee, structuring the
sessions, and their suggestions for a
sequence of topics to be covered in the series
of eight or so sessions, with a final chapter
on “What next?” considerations. The section on Jesus in the chapter “Feeding the
Flock” suggests a subtopic of “How is being
Catholic different from being Christian”
which is a strange title, but probably is
resources for team members. There is an assumed expecdesigned to speak the language of those who have been
tation that team members are well versed in adult learninfluenced by evangelical Christian terminology.
ing styles and have the skills of adult faith formation.
Catholics ARE Christians.
Simply having been through the journey back to the
The format of the chapters is helpful in that each
Church is not enough to
includes bullet points or sidequalify someone to be a
bars that are practical and
team leader or team memreadily adaptable to others’
ber in this sensitive and
needs. Several of the sidebars
“This volume will be helpful especially
sacred process. It may be a
continued the story of
good beginning, but there
returnees and give insights
when it is used along with other program
are a lot of aspects in this
from the authors.
ministry that I had to fill in
The Appendix includes a
and formation resources, as recommended
from my own experience of
brief descriptive listing of
thirty-some years of parish
some formal programs, trainin the Appendix, and a variety of
ministry. I would have
ing and resources for minliked to have some of the
istries with returning
resources to use in the process with parprinciples of the baptismal
Catholics. Some of these are
catechumenate illustrated
also helpful for a wider range
ticipants who are seeking a return home
as “the inspiration for cateof ministries as well. I apprechesis in the Church”
ciated the listings, but found it
to the Church.”
(GDC # 90-91)
a good beginning, rather than
This volume will be
helpful especially when it is
The second time I read the
book I was looking for helps in discerning the needs and used along with other program and formation resources,
readiness of persons who are seeking a possible path back as recommended in the Appendix, and a variety of
resources to use in the process with participants who are
to the Church. I didn’t find helpful points for that or
seeking a return home to the Church. Throughout this
for asking and responding to the immediate as well as
deeper questions of returnees. I found little grounding in book, the good work of the authors in taking the journey home to the Church themselves and continuing to
spirituality in the book and few references about the life
share the faith journey of others is evident.
of discipleship, or relationship with God and Jesus
Christ lived out in the context of prayer and an active
Clare Colella is the director of Adult Initiation and Adult Confirmation
life in the Church. I found precious little about the
Formation for Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, San Bernardino,
Scriptures or deeper appreciation of the liturgical and
California, where she also serves as facilities manager. She is a consultant
sacramental life of the Church in the “Feeding the
for the San Bernardino diocesan Office of Worship and serves as an adult
Flock” or “content” section of the book.
Christian initiation resource for the Diocese. Clare is a long-time
The issues of returnees run a huge gamut today, but
Forum Team member and former member of Forum’s Board of Directors.
the authors offer a set sequence of topics without highShe has authored several articles and contributed to books on adult initialighting the need for flexibility, pastoral care, “take
tion ministry and parish ministry, and has recently co-authored a resource
home” resources for participants or even training or
on reconciliation for Small Faith Communities.
Bulletin Inserts on the history, doctrine, and spiritual traditions of twelve of our most ancient and
beloved prayers
Prayers, published by Ave Maria Press, a ministry
of the Indiana province of Holy Cross
Words of Faith: Our Prayers is a series of
twelve well-designed pages that could be used as
bulletin inserts for the entire parish community
or as handouts for any type of
faith formation gatherings, be
they catechetical sessions for the
Rite of Christian Initiation of
Adults (RCIA), religious education classes, or small-group discussions. Each insert focuses
on one particular prayer, offering information on the history
of the text, the doctrine
behind it, and the spiritual
tradition it supports. As an
educational tool, this information is both instructive
and enlightening. As a
source of prayer itself, each
page’s layout is attractive
and presents these “most
ancient and beloved texts”
in an elegant manner.
The twelve prayers presented are the Angelus;
Benedictus; Act of
Contrition; Lord’s Prayer;
Gloria; Magnificat; Come, Holy
Spirit; Canticle of Simeon; Salve Regina; the Sign of the
Cross; the Rosary; and Eternal Rest. Twelve different
authors, ranging from clergy to professors to directors of
diocesan offices and spiritual directors present the information following the same format for each insert: We
Pray presents the text of the prayer, with instructions on
how that prayer is traditionally prayed, e.g. the Angelus
and its call and response arrangement. We Practice
Words of Faith: Our Prayers
Edited by Keith J. Egan
Published by Ave Maria Press, $8.95 (U.S.) for pack
of 50, subscription discounts, 12 pages, 24 sides
Reviewed by Edward Koharchik, CSP
In the Mission
Direction Statement
of my religious community, the Paulist
Fathers, it is stated
that, “Attentive to the
movement of the Holy
Spirit in our midst, and
faithful to the example of
St. Paul, we recommit
ourselves to evangelization
in all its forms as our central mission.” Indeed,
evangelization – proclaiming the good news of Jesus
Christ – is the essential
mission of the Church.
However, along with this
proclamation is the responsibility to nurture within
those who hear this good
news a strong foundation in prayer, the lifting up of
their hearts and minds to God. In particular, this foundation will be enhanced a great deal by introducing
them to those prayerful texts that have endured throughout the ages, and which have become sources of endearment for many. For this reason, any parish faith community would do well in using Words of Faith: Our
teaches when and how the prayer is used in the tradition
of the Church, along with background information on
the prayer’s development. We Believe looks at the theology of the prayer, the meaning of the words prayed, and
how this meaning influences Catholic identity. Finally,
We Live offers suggestions on how the prayer can be
used in daily life and what impact it has in living out
our Catholic faith.
Besides these four presentations, several of the inserts
include sections called “Did You Know?” and “A Bit of
History.” These are particularly interesting as they give
added information on the background
and development of the text. Suggestions
also are given on how to present these
prayers to children, and how these children can benefit from learning the prayers
and making them a part of their own
growth in faith.
Depending on how a parish would like
to utilize these handouts, Words of Faith is
available on a subscription basis, or can
be purchased as individual monthly
issues. The price of $8.95 for a pack of
fifty is quite reasonable for the quality of
each presentation.
Included on each handout is a quote
by Keith J. Egan, PhD, the series editor
of the publication: “Deep in every
human heart is a desire for the living God
that expresses itself in prayer. In the
Catholic tradition, some prayers have
become classic expressions of what the
human heart seeks. Words of Faith: Our
Prayers explores prayers that for centuries
have revealed a faith that fosters a deep,
personal, growing, and loving relationship
with Jesus Christ. These prayers teach us
much about who we are and about the
God to whom we belong.”
Words of Faith: Our Prayers is a wonderful resource for
catechizing and enabling parishioners, catechumens,
children, and all seekers to grow deeper in their prayer
life and in their relationship with the God who seeks
them out first. Highly recommended.
Paulist Father Ed Koharchik is the pastor of St. Martin de Porres
Catholic Church in Dripping Springs, Texas, and a Team member with
the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. He also leads parish
missions, workshops, and days of reflection on the RCIA and issues in
liturgy and liturgical music.
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate’s Pastoral Training Institutes provide ministers—volunteer and paid, full
and part-time, lay and clergy - with deeper understanding of the vision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the fundamental and advanced skills to implement all aspects of the Rite and its implications for reconciliation. Institute leaders are
among North America’s most experienced pastoral ministers, liturgists, catechists, and theologians.
conversion and reconciliation ❧ explores an
of a reconciling community rooted in
initiation ❧ examines present processes and future
present the compelling vision and pastoral skills to
implement the initiation process and emphasize the July 30-31, 2010, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (TX) possibilities for reconciling ministry in the parish
May 20-22, 2010, Archdiocese of Louisville (KY)
relationship of good liturgy to good catechesis.
August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of Des Moines (IA)
August 13-14, 2010, Dioceses of
San Jose & Monterey (CA)
June 23-26, 2010, Diocese of Camden (NJ) - Bilingual
North Aurora, Illinois
introduce the vision and practice of initiation in a
June 24-27, 2010, Archdiocese of Montreal
November 5-6, 2010, Archdiocese of Cincinnati (OH) two-day format for individual dioceses, formation
(Quebec)—with focus on adults and children
institutions, and religious communities. For clergy
June 29-July 2, 2010, Diocese of Amarillo (TX)—
and other pastoral ministers, together or in separate
with focus on adults and children
April 30-May 1, 2010, Diocese of Erie (PA)
July 28-31, 2010, Cathedral of Imm. Conception,
May 7-8, 2010, Archdiocese of Ottawa (Ontario)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
May 14-15, 2010, Archdiocese of Baltimore (MD)
August 12-15, 2010, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
June 11-12, 2010, Diocese of Little Rock (AR)
(WV) – with focus on adults and children
June 18-19, 2010, Diocese of Lafayette (IN)
(Diocesan Events)
August 19-22, 2010, Diocese of Victoria (TX)—
July 9-10, 2010, Archdiocese of Dubuque (IA)
introduce the vision and practice of initiation in a
with focus on adults and children
July 16-17, 2010, Diocese of Knoxville (TN)
two-day format for individual dioceses, formation
July 23-24, 2010, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City (OK) institutions, and religious communities. For clergy
August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of New Ulm (MN)
April 29-May 1, 2010, Diocese of Boise (ID)—
and other pastoral ministers, together or in separate
August 27-28, 2010, Diocese of Las Vegas (NV)
with afternoon dialogue sessions in Spanish
July 23-25, 2010, Diocese of Arlington (VA)—Spanish October 22-23, 2010, St. Joseph Parish,
St. John, New Brunswick
August 13-15, 2010, Diocese of San Diego (CA)—
the vision and practice of evangelization
September 30-October 2, 2010, Diocese of Reno (NV)
this creates parishes of mission
October 15-17, 2010, Archdiocese of New Orleans (LA)
explore advanced issues of implementation for expe- Evangelizing Parish Institutes
November 4-6, 2010, Archdiocese of
rienced ministers as they broaden the initiation expe- June 11-12, 2010, Washington Theological Union (WDC)
St. Paul & Minneapolis (MN)
rience to include the entire community. Small
September 17-18, 2010, Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie
groups discuss, share, and critique models.
24-25, 2010, Archdiocese of Omaha (NE)
(Diocesan Events)
October 22-23, 2010, Diocese of Manchester (NH)
March 20, 2010, Mystagogy, Diocese of Charlotte (NC) FURTHERING THE
October 29-30, 2010, Diocese of Sacramento (CA)
November 12-13, 2010, Diocese of Memphis (TN)
December 3-4, 2010, (bilingual) Diocese of
October 7-9, 2010, Diocese of Lafayette (LA)
Palm Beach (FL)
concentrate on specific aspects of initiation using
Parish Conferences
presentations, celebrations of the rites, and small
Western Conference for the
June 25-26, 2010, Diocese of Shreveport (LA)
group discussions. It is preferable that they follow
Saskatoon (Saskatchewan)
the Initiation Experience Institutes.
June 15-16, 2010, Clergy of the Diocese of Nelson (BC)
August 6-7, 2010, Diocese of Stockton (CA)
August 20-21, 2010, Archdiocese of Los Angeles (CA)
Diocese of Charlotte (NC)
August 19-20, 2010, Diocese of Gaylord (MI)
explores the ministry of reconciliation ❧ invites
October 22-23, 2010, Diocese of Rockville Centre (NY) participants to reflect on the vision and process of
August 24-25, 2010, Diocese of Green Bay (WI)
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate
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