Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pope Benedict Affirms the Importance of Catechesis

Last week upon receiving in audience the bishops of Belarus, Pope Benedict stated that "It is particularly important to proclaim with a new and incisive enthusiasm the perennial Gospel message in a society that is not immune to the temptations of secularization, hedonism and relativism." The Pope also spoke of the importance of education and catechesis, especially of the youth: "As I noted many times before, today we are living a type of 'emergency' in this delicate and essential area, and it is necessary to multiply our efforts so as to offer a solid formation, first and foremost to the new generation." Benedict XVI noted the importance of catechesis that fits the needs of people in all stages of their lives.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Names of God

All 144 names of God that appear in the Scriptures may not be included here, but they came pretty close in this 2:22 minute video. Check it out at The Nativity which is described as “a Christmas video using the many names of God set to the "Nativity Story". If interested you can register at Gloria TV and have access to many, many more videos. If you are interested in praying the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, please go to EWTN.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


National Vocation Awareness Week
As catechetical leaders, we all have an obligation and a wonderful opportunity to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life!!!

The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, January 10-16. “This week provides the opportunity for parishes across the country to promote vocations through prayer and education,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous in their response as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church. We must also ask parents, families and our parish communities to assist with this work, vocations are everyone’s business. As we pray for an increased number of seminarians and candidates for religious life, we recognize the importance of safeguarding the gift of vocations.”Several initiatives to highlight priesthood and religious life are on-going in 2010. The Vatican-sponsored Year for Priests continues through June 2010 Dioceses are highlighting the role of priests in diocesan newspapers, on their Web sites and with other events.An exhibit on the contributions of women religious in the United States, Women & Spirit, opens at the Smithsonian institution in Washington, January 14. More information on this traveling exhibit can be found at The Smithsonian is co-sponsoring this exhibit with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.The U.S. bishops have also named promotion of vocations to priesthood and religious life as one of their current five priorities and are deciding on efforts to promote vocations, for example, through their Website, Read the entire Press Release.

"O Antiphons"

“O” Antiphons Begin This Week – December 17-23
The seven titles attributed to Jesus in the antiphons are Wisdom (Sapientia in Latin), Ruler of the House of Israel (Adonai), Root of Jesse (Radix), Key of David (Clavis), Rising Dawn (Oriens), King of the Gentiles (Rex). and Emmanuel. In Latin the initials of the titles make an acrostic which, when read backwards. means: "Tomorrow I will be there" ("Ero cras"). Christians since the Middle Ages have been fascinated by this coincidence because Christmas Eve (December 24) falls on the day after the singing of the final antiphon.
The Great O Antiphons form the basis of the popular Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by English hymnographer John Neale. The sequence of the antiphons is theologically precise, progressing from before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of Christ in Bethlehem. There are many sights that explain these antiphons and offer meditations. I am only listing a few; you can always Google “O” Antiphons.
What Are the "O" Antiphons
Antiphons - Fish Eaters
Praising the Names of Jesus
Create an "O" Antiphon House
Praying with the "O" Antiphons


The University of Notre Dame STEP is offering several new online courses beginning January 4, 2010:

Women and Catholicism in the U.S.
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
Youth Ministry 101
The Papacy
The RCIA: Can We Get the Rite Right?
The American Catholic Experience
History of Christianity: The Early Middle Ages
An Introduction to Sacraments
Jesus Christ: Yesterday and Today
Liturgy: A Guide for the Perplexed
The Old Testament: The Prophets
On Christian Marriage
Core Course: Introduction to the Catholic Faith
The Gospel of John: The Book of Glory

For more information or to register, go to

Friday, November 13, 2009

Congress Keynote - Dr. Adele Gonzalez

Here is a copy of Dr. Adele Gonzalez's keynote talk at the Religious Education Congress (November 7, 2009):

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Online Advent Workshop from Boston College

A heads up to our Network Members and Friends…. this upcoming Advent workshop is ideal for individual or group reflection.
Cost is only $15 for Network Members; $35 for all other participants. Don't miss this seasonal opportunity for reflection!

C21 Resources Workshop
2 weeks, Nov 30– Dec 11, 2009

Fee includes 24/7 access to workshop while in session and free copy of C21 Resources publication
This workshop provides guided discussion around the popular issue of C21 Resources, "Encountering Jesus in the Scriptures," a free publication of the university's Church in the 21st Century Center. The publication contains approximately 15 short, informative articles centered on Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection, and are reprinted from a variety of journals such as America, The Bible Today, and Chicago Studies. The publication is edited by Fr. Daniel Harrington, S.J. and Dr. Christopher Matthews, and is ideal for the busy person who wants quality material in short segments. Learn more at:

Workshop Topics:
Week 1- Encountering Jesus in His Birth and Ministry
Spiritual Practice: focus on lection divina
Week 2- Encountering Jesus in His Death and Resurrection
Spiritual Practice: focus on contemplation of the Gospels

Register Today at:

C21 Online workshop highlights:
• Guided discussion in online faith sharing group
• No special software or technical skills required
• Log on at your convenience, 24/7, no set time to be online!

If you have further questions or need additional information, feel free to contact : Dr. Barbara Radtke at barbara.radtke.1, or at 617-552-6501.

Free Advent Webinar

Advent Webinar is Days Away!
by Joe on November 12, 2009
My free Advent Webinar is just days away (Nov. 18)! Be sure to register soon!

Facilitator: Joe Paprocki, DMinBrought to you by Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry
Wednesday, November 18, 20097:15 – 8:15 pm (CST)
Advent begins on Sunday, November 29, 2009—are you ready?
Joe Paprocki, National Consultant for Faith Formation for Loyola Press and veteran catechist, invites catechists, religion teachers, and RCIA leaders to join him in this Webinar that explores how to create engaging advent-themed faith-formation activities drawn from the Sunday Scripture Readings of Cycle C (the Gospel of Luke). Joe will take us through the readings for this Advent season, explore the theme for each week, and share some unique ways you can develop the theme into activities that inspire children, youth, and adults to enter more deeply into the beauty and holiness of Advent.
In the days following the Webinar, Joe will offer additional Advent-related activities on his blog, Catechist’s Journey. If you are unable to attend the Webinar, you may view the video on Joe’s blog. It will be posted the week following the Webinar.
This free Webinar is led by Joe Paprocki, an 8th-grade catechist in the Archdiocese of Chicago with over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry. Joe, National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, is the author of numerous books including the best-selling The Catechist’s Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith, as well as the host of the blog Catechist’s Journey.
Register for this free Webinar today by clicking here.
If you have additional questions about the Webinar, please contact Carrie Freyer at

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Certificate in Catechesis

Just imagine – learning more about your faith and how to share it with others - any time of day, no traveling, in the comfort of your own home, in your pj’s, yet still in communication with other catechists! You don’t have to imagine – it’s here.

The University of Dayton Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) has developed a new program which is ideal for parish catechetical leaders – DREs/CREs, Coordinators of Youth Ministry, RCIA Coordinators, Adult Formation Coordinators – and for catechists. This new program is the Online Certificate in Catechesis. The University of Dayton Institute for Pastoral Initiatives has designed the online Certificate in Catechesis program by studying the common ground of certification requirements from across the USA to create a base from which dioceses may build to support their catechist formation programs. The program began in January of 2009 and now has almost 600 students registered across the country.

There are currently 43 partnering dioceses in the United States, including Boston, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Worcester and Portland Maine. Bishop Richard Malone from the Diocese of Portland Maine and Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis says that the University of Dayton’s VLCFF is “a solid, substantial, and trustworthy methodology for the Church’s catechetical mission today”.

The Online Certificate in Catechesis consists of two levels, both of which consist of courses in Theology, Method, and Formation. Level One includes Survey of Catholic Doctrine; Introduction to Scripture; Images of Jesus; Sacraments; Introduction to Catechesis; and Introduction to Prayer. Level Two includes Old Testament; New Testament; Ecclesiology: Beginnings of the Church; Introduction to Practical Morality; Faith & Human Development; and Vocation, Spirituality and Discipleship of Catechesis.

The Certificate courses are available several times each year and are normally five-weeks per course. You can access the course 24/7, and it is easy to execute. And, because the Archdiocese of Hartford is a partnering diocese with the University, course prices are reduced from $90 to $40 each (plus the cost of books). There is a nominal one-time fee of $15 to enroll in each level.

The National Directory for Catechesis tells us that “The call to the ministry of catechist is a vocation, an interior call, the voice of the Holy Spirit”. The Directory also gives us a mandate: “…those who catechize need preparation and ongoing formation specific to the conditions of those to whom they proclaim the Gospel message”. The University of Dayton’s Certificate in Catechesis has provided us with a professional, affordable and convenient means to provide that necessary formation. It is truly a gift for all of the people in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, the Institute’s Director, has this to say about VLCFF: “If the Catholic Church is to take catechesis, evangelization and adult faith formation seriously, we must be where a growing number of Catholics and others searching for God (faith) are to be found. That is – cyberspace”.

Check it out – and other certificate programs that were recently developed or are coming real soon: Adult Faith Formation, Media Literacy Education, Foundations in Ministry Formation, and Hispanic Catechesis (in Spanish) –

Saturday, October 31, 2009


A focus group meeting has been set up for Wednesday, December 2, 2009 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30, followed by lunch. The event will take place at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish Center in West Hartford. John Roberto, now with LifelongFaith Associates will be the presenter. The focus group meeting will be an opportunity to hear about the Working Paper on Faith Formation in 2020, explore the forces affecting faith formation today and in the future, and envision directions for the future of faith formation. It will be an opportunity for you to have input into the development of Version 2.0 of the Working Paper – to share your ideas and strategies for the future of faith formation. There is no fee. For more information or to register, contact Pat Keck or check out the website –

Celebrate Religious Education

Check out our website for additional suggestions for celebrating New England Religious Education. You can also download color or bland-and-white logos to put in your parish bulletin and other correspondence. Also included on the website is a lesson plan using the poster and copies of articles which are appearing in the November issue of The Catholic Transcript. Go to:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Religious Education Congress - 2009

Religious Education Congress - 2009
Join us on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at St. Paul Catholic High School for our annual Religious Education Congress.
The event is open to catechetical leaders - DREs/CREs, Catechists, RCIA Coordinators, Coordinators of Youth Ministry, Coordinators of Adult Faith Formation - and anyone interested in the catechetical ministry.
Registration is from 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. We begin with opening prayer and proceed to our keynote address from Dr. Adele Gonzalez, noted national speaker. She will speak about how the Living Word of God among us can help us in or call to be light to the world and signs of God's love and forgiveness even as we face today's crises. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will then celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy.
After lunch, there will be two rounds of workshops - topics include: Servant Leadership in the Classroom, How to Foster in Children a Lifelong Devotion to the Bible, Passing On Our Faith From Generation to Generation, Christian Moral Formation in a Complex World, Spirituality of the Young Child, Service Hours: Penance or Privilege?, Tools to Live Our Faith in a Globalized World, Ministerity to the Minister, and an update on the Child Lures Prevention Program. Workshops in Spanish are also available.
For more information or to register, go to our website -