Catechist Corner

It's all about sharing the faith.

In a Year

First, let me wish all of my readers a Happy and Blessed New Year!  I hope you have much joy throughout 2012.

As I look forward to the new year, I have been trying to set some goals for myself.  One thing I’ve been considering doing for some time now is to read the Bible completely.  It can easily be a daunting task when you look at the thickness of the book itself, but there is no doubt as to the value one can obtain from reading all of salvation history in Holy Scripture.

As I’ve considered how to best tackle the undertaking, I’ve come across a number of suggestions on how to read through the Bible.  The approach I’ve settled on is to read the Bible in one year.  Many of the one year plans I’ve seen are based on the Protestant Bible, but I did come across a document from an organization called The Coming Home Network International.  They have a plan to not only read the Bible in a year, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well.

I’ve taken their plan schedule and also built it into a spreadsheet format that allows me to keep track of my progress right on my iPad as I use my Bible app and a CCC link right off of that device.  I can read my daily reading from anywhere, and if I miss a day along the way, it’s very easy to catch right back up.  For those interested in the plan, below are links to the original PDF as well as my spreadsheet versions. I would suggest that one always looks at the PDF first, even if they want to use the spreadsheets because the PDF contains some additional guidance where the spreadsheets are exclusively the listing of the daily readings.

Read the Bible and the Catechism in a Year
Original PDF Format
Excel Spreadsheet Format
Open Document Spreadsheet Format

 

I’m looking forward to my own personal growth as I read through the Bible fully, along with the Catechism and I know it will absolutely help in my catechetical ministries.  I hope it can be helpful to all of you as well.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

Come!

Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young AdultsI was blessed to attend a one day Advent retreat put on by the Office of New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults (ONE) for the Archdiocese of Boston. This retreat was for anyone involved in youth ministry within the archdiocese. Our retreat director was Fr. Matt Williams, the Director of ONE and what a spiritually powerful retreat it was!

This retreat was completely structured around Advent with a focus on the word “come”. It gave me a new appreciation for the meaning of the season. It began with a reading from the Song of Songs 3:1-4. This passage speaks about searching for God, and when he is found, bringing him into the deepest, most private place in the house. We then had a silent meditation around our readiness to bring Christ into the deepest, most private place in our hearts, in our souls. Am I ready? What’s holding me back?  That was followed by a discussion that Jesus wants all of us, not just the perfect parts and that we need to remember that we need to bring everything, including the good and the bad, to God.  He wants us all!

Do you have any sense of how much the Church uses the word “come” in its prayers during the season of Advent? The Liturgy of the Hours uses the response, “Come, Lord Jesus”. Various antiphons, readings and Alleluia versus of the Masses throughout Advent all ask our the Lord to come. Just look at the O Antiphons for a perfect example of the Church, as the bride, asking her bridegroom, Jesus, to come. What a great image!!

Lastly, we focused on part of the nativity narrative from Luke (Luke 2:1-14). We had another terrific period of silent prayer to meditate on the scripture passage. Silence is underrated, by the way. What a wonderful opportunity to put oneself there with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. From the journey to Bethlehem, to the birth and the message of the angel to the shepherds, it gave me an opportunity to appreciate what people must have felt, not only emotionally, but physically as well.

In between all of that we had Mass, opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, lunch with friends and a sharing circle to round the day off. I’m so glad I went. The Lord spoke to me in a very special way at the retreat, not only through Fr. Matt and the other participants, but directly when in silent prayer. He knew what I needed (no surprise there) and showed me the way, not only for my ministry, but for me as well. I really need to make time to go on retreat more often, or at least find more opportunities for silent prayer during my day. Did I mention that science is definitely underrated?

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

HELLO-O-o-o? ECHO-O-o-o!

Is anyone out there?  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, so everyone that has stopped looking has rightfully done so and those that are still here have shown great hope.  I would especially like to thank reader Christian LeBlanc for giving me a much needed kick in the pants to get me to post again.  To be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt inspiration to post lately.  I don’t know if that is because my life has gone into overdrive, if it’s because I have a particularly challenging class this year, if it’s because the content of what we’ve chose to cover in our program seems to completely go over the students’ heads or if it’s something else altogether.

Last time, I mentioned that I was trying to begin a Youth Ministry group in our parish.  That has really taken up quite a bit of time.  The original core group of adults had a very different view of youth ministry than I did.  That being said, I tried to be accommodating because if it’s one thing I learned over the years, it’s that I do not have all the answers.  Well, the two other adults decided to leave the program and that left me having to do everything.  The good news is that I get to structure the group in a way I think best balances faith and social activities; the bad news is that it is all me at this point, which I think limits how much we can do.  I’m praying and asking for more help, but we’ll see what happens there.

As I mentioned, Religious Education is pretty challenging this year.  I have a group of 9th graders, and about a third of the class is made up of members of a local high school’s freshmen football team.  Additionally, two thirds of the class are boys that know and feed off of each other.  Discipline is a challenge and they seem so disconnected from their faith that they just don’t get the curriculum from this year.  I’m going to talk to my CRE about the possibility of changing the content for next year.  While I love the idea of going through the Mass in detail, there are some basic things these students seem to be missing, which significantly limits how much they can get out of the material.  Can you say “blank stares”?

Anyway, I’ve recieved some great feedback over the last few years on my blog and encouragement to keep it up.  I’ve also gotten a lot out of posting and reading the comments some of my readers leave, so I’m not ready to give this up.  I truly hope to have more content to offer going forward, but I also recognize that I’ve said that before and have then fallen off the face of the blogosphere.  I ask for your patience and forgiveness as I try to get back in a routine that will allow me to share with all of you again.

Until next time (which I hope will be much sooner than last time), keep sharing the faith.

Blogfading Woes

I can’t believe it!  I blogfaded.  I actually blogfaded.  I never thought that would happen and as I write this, I wonder if anyone will be left to read it.

Real life.  It’s an unpredictable thing.  Things pop up that you don’t expect.  Your free time begins to dry up.  You put things on the back burner.  You get busier and those things never get moved back to the front.

That’s sort of what happened to me.  Family life got hectic.  Projects at work went into a ridiculous level of overdrive.  Religious Education continued at a steady pace but still required a good amount of prep time.  And then there is Youth Ministry.

Yep, that’s right, Youth Ministry.  I am helping start up a youth ministry at our parish.  I don’t think I could have ever anticipated how much work would need to go into building a youth ministry from the ground up — training, idea generation, comprehensive structure, volunteer needs, budgeting (or lack thereof), activity coordination, marketing, dealing with varied opinions on what this ministry should look like, coordinating with other parish ministries — I’m sure I left something out.

I have not given up on blogging.  It is a great vehicle to share my joys and let out my frustration.  I have to rejigger my time and figure it all out, but I definitely want to get blogging its due time.  If you are still reading here, please stay tuned and activitry should kick back in at some regular intervals soon.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith!

WOW!

I saw Jesus the other night. I try to see Him in most places, but on Sunday night I saw Him very clearly in Jason Evert. If you are not familiar with Jason, he is a husband and a father. He has degrees in theology and counseling. But what is not on his resume is his ability to capture the attention of about 1,000 teenagers for over an hour without ever losing them.

On Sunday night, St. Patrick’s Parish in Stoneham, Mass. hosted Jason for a talk. They invited neighboring parishes and my CRE extended me a coveted seat. Jason’s topic was “Romance without Regret”. Yes, Jason is a chastity speaker. And my thoughts can be summed up in one word … WOW!

When Jason speaks, he weaves the message of chastity with a little comedy, some facts, some real-life examples and  some powerful, personal stories as well.  He touches on every aspect of love and human sexuality, in a clear yet loving way.  He presumes nothing, is not judgmental and recognizes that this is not a perfect world; so he addresses even the most difficult things that can and have happened to people, but in a gentle yet clear way.  He defines the difference between “love” and “lust” in a way a teen cannot only understand, but can directly relate to as well.

If you think that I’m being a little vague in my comments, that is intentional.  First, I cannot do his talk justice.  The power with which he delivered this message and the resulting energy in that church was amazing.  These are teens that often challenge what they hear from the church (which can be a good thing), but they got what Jason said.  They simply got it!  We’ve already gotten feedback from parents  on how their teens have reacted (positively) to what they heard!  Second, I don’t want to take away from what you can experience from hearing Jason’s talk.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “Carlos, how am I going to listen to Jason?”.  My response would be, “Virtually, of course!”  I highly encourage you to check out his website (http://www.chastity.com) and his YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/jasonevert).  Under the Chastity playlist, you can view one of his “Romance without Regret” talks (broken into 9 parts) as well as many others.  Better yet, get him to your parish or a parish near you.

Very inspiring, Jason!  Thank you!

Until next time, keep sharing the faith!