Presentation on theme: "Getting Started with Lifelong Faith Formation Dreams and Visions: Faith Formation for Every age and stage of life."— Presentation transcript:
Getting Started with Lifelong Faith Formation Dreams and Visions: Faith Formation for Every age and stage of life
Resource for you Read this book A Packet of tools Aimed at helping you implement Our Hearts Were Burning Practical planning Rooted in conversion to Jesus Christ
Use these two planning tools A Lifetime of Faith Planning for ways to coach parents Dreams & Visions Companion to the book Strong set of planning tools Ways to listen to and plan for each constituency in the parish Includes specific ideas for implementing the plan
Youth ministry - which has a model for our new approach we’d like everyone to use RCIA - which provides the framework for WCC The wide range of adult ed offerings Children’s programming - which has all the money and people Schools - which often run independently How do we connect everyone?
Baptism prep First Eucharist prep First Reconciliation prep Marriage prep Confirmation prep Leadership training Training for liturgical tasks How do we connect everyone?
In sum, how does a parish get started?... here’s a possible plan and timetable...
The question is… What seems to work best in renewing adult faith formation and small community life?
What it does not seem to be Larger-than-life pastors or catechetical leaders who become cult figures in the parish and “do it all” Typically burn out and leave things a mess Not about launching a huge new movement or program These usually end…
What it does not seem to be It is NOT a ring binder full of goals, objectives, action plans, & steps… This is not sudden change, not an overnight success It is slow change from one state into another, slowly…
What it does not seem to be It is not a single way of inviting people There are many roads... It is not a huge increase in your budget Even though there are some small things to add
What does seem to work A combination of 4 things: Encourage Small groups to meet Coach parents to form their own kids Focus on the core work of the parish Do sustained pastoral planning
Step 1 A period of study in the parish Read, pray and study together Get the vision firmly in mind The pastors, youth ministers, DRE, Liturgy folks, pastoral care givers, & lay leaders What to read together? Dreams and Visions Forming Generous Hearts (Leisa Anslinger) Our Hearts Were Burningn Within Us
Initiate some faith sharing Maybe with the Question of the Week Plan for parish retreats Pay more attention to what’s happening at your Sunday Mass and welcome more people to be present Insert a “reflection process” into more areas of parish life sometimes called “mystagogia” At the same time For more on all these, see Dreams and Visions…
Deeper communion with Christ Coming to understand one’s own possible contribution Be a Leader How we develop Leaders: Start by helping folks grow in their faith
Deeper communion with Christ This is where we usually try to start. Coming to understand one’s own possible contribution Be a Leader
Step 2 The study might lead to a revised parish mission statement Reflecting a new vision where the whole community is being evangelized and catechized A welcome and open door for ALL Conversion as a precedent to catechesis Sunday Assembly as central But don’t spend too much time on this…
Our Core Work Help people deepen their communion with Christ… and help them grow & sustain the excitement of that within their parish! Leading to works of justice & charity Flowing from and leading to small community life Then: invite others to deeper communion
Step 2 For multiple parish groups Hold a shared workshop-retreat day Base it on the Core work Begin by sharing faith – intimacy with Christ Move to a discussion on what people need Over lunch: Matthew 25 – who among us needs us most for the basics of life? After lunch: who’s missing? Who is not in our community life? How can we invite others into our community?
Step 3 Along the way, parishes take inventory on the present programs What parts do folks like? What parts need reform? How well are we doing our core work? What else is needed? Use the planning tools from the web site, which are free.
Step 4 The Inventory will lead to the development of an actual plan Build the plan one constituent group at a time, ala Dreams & Visions Planning Plan to provide Conversion experiences Connections to the Sunday assembly Mini-Courses for the whole community
Step 5 The plan will lead to a budget A budget is “the price of the plan” Must be integrated into the whole parish budget New categories in the budget money for technology text materials for adults new or reorganized personnel but LESS $$ when you begin coaching parents
But, a big BUT With or without the planning process, the reform can begin Don’t get caught in the trap of too much planning and no action You as the leaders can make or break this: if you keep the vision and lean forward, you will succeed.
The plan might also lead to adjustments in personnel needs Fresh job descriptions might be needed Maybe some new titles The plan might also lead to changes in how the facilities are scheduled Personnel
Step 6 A “marketing plan” might be needed to get the word out Parish bulletins need work (they’re ugly!) We must be more effective in “Announcing the Good News” which is another word for “advertising” We compete against powerfully effective forces in people’s lives
This might be in a variety of languages We might need solid marketing slogans: “A lot of people are talking to your kids about God -- shouldn’t you be one of them?” Make use of the electronic world! Marketing Plan
Step #7 Change what you call it. Language creates reality.
So if you still call it CCD
So if you still call it Religion Class
Now we call it: Life long catechesis
Now we call it: Life long Faith formation
Objections Very few object to the theology or goals Adult Christians of mature faith People on fire with their faith An informed adult parish A better Sunday liturgy Parents involved with children’s catechesis A process for catechesis that kids enjoy
Objections, continued Parish staff is too busy for this The Pastor won’t support it People don’t like change or are too busy now -- and won’t take part We can’t afford it This will be more work and will drive people away from the church
Objections, continued We don’t have the space NIMP – “Not in my Parish” Too hard to do Where’s the manual? Is there some way for me to get trained? Parents will not come anyway. We tried that and it didn’t work.
Positives Gets us out of maintenance approach Takes away the sense of “coming to get the sacraments” When people collaborate, it’s less labor intensive Especially in multiple parish clusters Secures the future of each parish Increases collections
Positives, continued Liturgies improve Youth continue to be active This makes parents the primary educators Promotes Vatican II ecclesiology
Here’s some advice on getting from here to there…
Some advice #1 Whole Community Catechesis or Life long faith formation… …is not a new “program” Rather, it’s a new way of thinking It’s a new paradigm It really does renew every aspect of parish life!
Some advice #2 Establishing Whole Community Catechesis or Life long faith formation… will not happen overnight! Give yourself 5 years or maybe 10 years… It starts now and keeps going on… You’re already doing a lot of this!
Some advice #3 Don’t try to do this alone! Bring your whole community along… Work as a cluster if you’re in one Work as a parish united if you’re a single parish to study and plan to pray
Some advice #4 Light a fire in your parish Through experiences of on-going conversion to Christ! Where there’s fire: People have more enthusiasm Liturgy cooks! There’s a heart for the poor Collections rise
Timeline Beginning in the Fall... Study – a couple of months Assessment -- one to two months (thru mid Jan) Planning -- two to three months (Jan thru March) Budget -- in the spring (by the end of May) Marketing -- over the summer and early fall Start anew -- with the fall season