Flying in Berkeley
happens when you give Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P., free reign at a
Dominican graduate school of theology? Lots of creativity, of
course, and a very tired support staff!
The Institute Down Under
know the Institute was international? We have headquarters and two
co-Directors in Melbourne, and Clara Geoghegan tell us about the
growing work of the Institute in the land the Aussies fondly call
Now you know
why we are constantly on the lookout for new teachers. Our old
teachers become bishops, marry, or are ordained priests. Fr. Bryan
Dolejsi, one of our teacher anchors, is just the latest to be called
to new responsibilities!
of Adult Faith Formation (part 3)
How do we go about
forming adults in our parishes? How do we begin to form a culture of
intentional discipleship? It's not easy, but the RCIA period of the
catechumenate offers some clues.
In the Company of Prayer:
Their mission is simple: to provide a quick, daily prayer
specifically to businessmen and women, who find prayer to be an
inspirational tool in the management of their professional lives.
You can register to receive a daily Morning Briefing with an
inspiring thought for Christians in business.
of Pseudo-Dionysius? Passive laity, clericalism, the peculiarly
Catholic notion that if you're really serious about your faith, you
are destined for the rectory or the convent - all have their roots
in a fourth century anonymous monk. That's what Russell Shaw claims!
Read this article to see why.
a Lay Apostolate?
Russell Shaw writes, "I was trying to
explain the idea of lay apostolate to an intelligent Catholic
laywoman. Oh sure, she said, she knew exactly what I meant. Lay
apostolates were lay people participating in parish-based activities
of various kinds — serving on the parish council, teaching an RCIA
class, things like that." Think again!
Wonder Makes Me...Wonder
Did you notice a resemblance between
Superman and a certain carpenter from Nazareth? A short reflection
on the Man of Steel and a Man of Flesh by Bill Donaghy.
Online Retreat Creighton University offers a 34-week retreat
that follows the model of the Ignatian spiritual exercises. Its
primary focus is the life of Christ and the grace we experience in
our everyday lives. You may be begin at any time, use your own
timeline, do it alone, or with friends. You can also read the
reflections of others who are taking the retreat, and add your own
for others to reflect upon. The site includes images to download
each week to help you focus on your retreat every time you open your
Fifty Quotes on
Forgiveness from a variety of authors. Here's a sample, "God
invented forgiving as a remedy for a past that not even he could
change and not even he could forget. His way of forgiving is the
model for our forgiving." Everyone needs forgiveness, and all of us
need help in understanding forgiveness so that we can do it better;
after all, we ask God to forgive us in the manner we forgive
July 30 - August
Colorado Springs, CO
Sunday evening through Thursday noon.
This is a workshop for pastors, parish staff, or leaders who would
like to explore how to make their parish a house of formation where
adults are effectively challenged to become disciples and empowered
to discern and live their mission as apostles.
Location: The Franciscan Retreat
Center, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies just north of
Colorado Springs at 6500 ft elevation. The Retreat Center provides
panoramic views of the Rampart Range and the Pikes Peak
This workshop is full, but we are planning to host others
Unfortunately, we had to cancel the Oakland workshop.
Everyone seems to want to spend part of their summer in the Rockies!
August 9, 2006
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)
A special, one-day Called
& Gifted Workshop at St. Thomas More Catholic
CONTACT: Father Sean Wenger CC, or the Center office at
(713) 236-9977 x 15.
August 18-19, 2006
(Archdiocese of Los Angeles)
St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic
CONTACT: Kathleen Buckley, Faith Formation Director, or
the Parish office at (909) 595-9545.
August 25-26, 2006
Chelsea, Victoria, Australia
CONTACT: the parish office at 03 9772 2211 or
inquire by e-mail.
September 8-9, 2006
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)
Catholic Charismatic Center
Father Sean Wenger CC, or the Center office at (713) 236-9977 x 15
St. Columbkille Catholic
CONTACT: Pam Yenko, Director of Liturgy & Stewardship,
or the Parish office at (402) 339-3285 ext 106.
September 15-16, 2006
Canberra and Goulburn)
Christi Catholic Church
CONTACT: Fr. John
Armstrong at (02) 62916688
September 22-23, 2006
St. Mary Catholic
CONTACT: David Tiede Hottinger, Assistant to the Pastor
for Discipleship and Evangelization at (864) 271-8422 ext 11.
October 6-7, 2006
St. Michael Catholic
CONTACT: Deacon Bill Archer, Pastoral Associate, or the
Parish office at (925) 447-1585 ext 12.
October 10-11, 2006
(Archdiocese of Los Angeles)
Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center,
Sierra Madre. Called & Gifted Workshop for members of the Parish
Leadership Network of Los Angeles (PLNLA).
CONTACT: Ann Brown,
Coordinator of Lay Ministries at Our Lady of the Assumption parish
in Claremont CA, at (909) 626-3596 ext 235.
October 13-14, 2006
AZ (Diocese of Tucson)
X Catholic Church
CONTACT: The parish office at (520) 326-5075.
(Archdiocese of Melbourne)
Stella Maris Catholic Church
CONTACT: the parish office at 03 9589 2271 or
inquire by e-mail.
October 20-21, 2006
(Diocese of Fargo)
St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic
CONTACT: Father Michael Schommer, Pastor, or the Parish
office at (414) 258-2604.
October 27-28, 2006
(Archdiocese of Cleveland)
St. Sebastian Catholic Church CONTACT: Father William Karg, Pastor, or the
Parish office at (330) 836-2233.
(Archdiocese of Seattle)
St. Brendan Catholic Church
A training workshop to prepare
teachers to present the Called & Gifted workshop for the
Catherine of Siena Institute.
Prerequisite: Attend and
successfully complete the Institute's Interviewer & Facilitator
CONTACT: Mike Dillon at the Institute
Office (719) 219-0056 or e-mail Mike.
August 11-12, 2006
(Archdiocese of Seattle)
St. Michael Catholic Church
Learn how to help others (as individuals or in
small groups) to discern their charisms.
Basic listening skills and spiritual maturity (best if practicing
Christian for 2 years prior)
* Must have attended live Called
& Gifted workshop or listened to CDs or audio tapes, took
Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, did some personal discernment,
had a one-on-one personal gifts interview.
CONTACT: Catherine of Siena Institute
office: (719) 219-0056; or Kathleen Wright, Steward for Time, Talent
& Evangelization at St Michael Catholic Church (360)
September 15-16, 2006
St. Pius X Catholic
CONTACT: Catherine of Siena Institute office: (719)
219-0056 or St Pius X parish office (520) 326-5075.
November 17-18, 2006
Colorado Springs, CO
(Diocese of Colorado
Catherine of Siena
Dillon at (719) 219-0056.
March 9-10, 2007
St. Mary Catholic
CONTACT: Mike Dillon
at the Institute Office (719) 219-0056, or Kate Tierney locally, at
"In your wisdom I have come to know the
truth; in your mercy I have found your charity and affection for my
neighbors. What has compelled you? Not my virtues, only your
Let this same love compel you to enlighten
the eye of my understanding with the light of faith, so that I may
know your truth, which you have revealed to me. Let my memory be
great enough to hold your favors, and set my will ablaze in your
charity’s fire. Let that fire burst the seed of my body and bring
forth blood; then with that blood, given for love of your blood, and
with the key of obedience, let me unlock heaven’s gate.
I heartily ask the same of you for every
reasoning creature, all and each of them, and for the mystic body of
the holy Church. I acknowledge and do not deny that you loved me
before I existed, and that you love me unspeakably much, as one gone
mad over your creature.
O eternal Trinity! O Godhead! That Godhead,
your divine nature, gave the price of your Son’s blood its value.
You, eternal Trinity, are a deep sea: The more I enter you, the more
I discover, the more I seek you. You are insatiable, you in whose
depth the soul is sated yet always remains hungry for you, thirsty
for you, eternal Trinity, longing to see you with the light in your
light. Just as the deer longs for the fountain of living water, so
does my soul long to escape from the prison of my darksome body and
see in you truth. O how long will you hide your face from my
The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
Fr. Mike gratefully
acknowledges the hospitality shown to him by Fr. Paul Wicker, of
Holy Apostles Church, Colorado Springs. Fr. Paul opens his home to
Fr. Mike when Institute business calls him to "headquarters."
Thanks, also, to Col. Liz Anderson of Colorado Springs, who provides
Fr. Mike with a vehicle for transportation during his visits and
delicious meal replacement bars to keep his energy up!
Once again, thank you to Anna Elias-Cesnik
and Patricia Mees Armstrong for their help in editing this edition
of the e-Scribe.
Kite Flying in
by Fr. Chris Renz,
O.P., Academic Dean, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology
(editor's note) Two years ago, Fr. Michael Sweeney,
O.P., the co-founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute, became the
President of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, the
graduate theological school and seminary of the Western Dominican
Province. Last year the Catherine of Siena Institute affiliated with
the DSPT, and members of both institutions are looking forward to
fruitful collaboration in the future.
When I look at my last two years at the Dominican
School of Philosophy & Theology (DSPT), I see a kite (a.k.a. Fr.
Michael Sweeney, O.P.), attached to a string (a.k.a.
me), tethered to the ground (a.k.a. the administration
and staff of the DSPT). These days we are certainly flying
high with great excitement about our new
physical plant, new faculty, new programs and, most of all, our
Continuing the visionary enthusiasm evident during
his tenure with the Catherine of Siena Institute, Fr. Michael seems
to have caught a spirited breeze. For those of you who know him, or
have worked with him, you won’t be surprised when I say that it is
frequently hard to keep up with his creative imagination. There is a
joke around the office that we on staff dread his adventures out on
the road because he always returns with two or three additional
projects for us to do! It is that wonderful energy which has moved
us forward these last two years into a new place, both literally and
Beginning in August 2006, the DSPT has a “place
to call our own” at the corner of Arch & Vine Streets in
Berkeley, CA. Although we were at the Graduate Theological Union
since 1964, we were unable to find suitable classroom or
administrative space. But now that we’ve got it, our sites are set
high for the twenty-first century. Moving into this new millennium,
the DSPT will have three very smart classrooms. The IQ of
one of them is so high that it will be able to handle a
variety of multimedia requests including, we hope in the
not-too-distant future, distance learning.
We’ll be calling
upon the expertise of one of our faculty, Fr. Michael Morris, OP, to
help initiate the space. With a background in art history, and a
deep commitment to religion and the arts, Fr. Michael has organized
an exhibition of movie posters from films with religious themes.
Part of the exhibit will be at the GTU Library, the rest in our own
Fr. Sweeney keeps us soaring upward with
developing two new programs. The first, an expansion of our MA
(Theology) degree, will focus on the theology of the laity. Enrolled
students will have the opportunity, for the first time, to take
summer classes, which may be applied towards either CE
credit, the DSPT MA (Theology) degree, or the STL degree (offered
through the Angelicum, in Rome). The second new program, still a few
years away (the staff can only work so fast, after all!), will offer
a curriculum specifically tailored to the needs of business and
professional executives who seek to integrate theology in their
leadership roles. It is our hope that these programs will continue
to expand the already diverse student population.
reminds me, this fall 2006 we will welcome 14 lay women, as well as
a number of religious from communities other than the Order of
Preachers. And, of course, now that the Institute and DSPT are
collaborative partners, it would seem that the sky’s the
limit! So do come to visit us at Arch & Vine. But make sure
to bring sunglasses and a strong pair of binoculars, ‘cause, we’ve
The Institute Down Under
by Clara Geoghegan, O.P.L.,
co-Director, Catherine of Siena Institute, Australia
The Catherine of Siena Institute, Australia was
established in October 2004, when we enjoyed the company of Sherry
Weddell and Fr. Mike Fones, OP, who shared with us with their pastoral
experience and wisdom. Over a grueling ten days Sherry and Fr. Mike
conducted a Called & Gifted workshop, provided
interviewer training, teacher training and much, much, more to an
enthusiastic group of Aussies. This has resulted in our being able
to conduct Called & Gifted workshops in southern
Sherry’s and Fr. Mike’s visit was made possible by the
Archdiocese of Melbourne, and the Archdiocese continues to sponsor
the work of the Institute. To date we have taught the Called
& Gifted workshop in six Melbourne parishes and will be
conducting workshops in two more this fall (see the side panel for
details). All our workshops have been well attended and are
generating wider interest within the Catholic community and beyond.
Our teachers in Melbourne have been Lorraine McCarthy, Bernadette de
Bruyn, Br. Paul Rowse, OP, and me.
In May I traveled to Wagga Wagga where, together with
local Called & Gifted teachers Sr. Margaret Knagge and
Fr. Gerard Ryan, we presented a workshop to the education
consultants of the Catholic Schools Office. The response to the
workshop was enthusiastic, particularly its value in team building
for the staff.
The Institute has also worked in the Archdiocese of
Canberra-Goulburn, where we have a team of interviewers and the
beginnings of a teaching team. The third Canberra workshop is
scheduled for September 15-16 at Corpus Christi Parish, South
Tuggerenanong. Fr. John Armstrong, the parish priest, is strongly
supportive. Another exciting development is the interest that Fr.
Chris Ryan, MGL, has shown in the work of the Institute. Fr. Chris
is a member of the Missionaries of God's Love - a young Australian
congregation, and is the pastor at St Benedict's Narrabundah. He
contacted me after purchasing CDs of the Called & Gifted
workshop from the U.S. He and members of his parish will
participate in the workshop in South Tuggerenanong with a view to
hosting one in Narrabundah. Why is Fr. Chris' interest so
exciting? He is chaplain to World Youth Day! He received the WYD
cross in Rome and will be absent from his parish from March next
year to take the Cross on pilgrimage throughout the country. The
cross was made to stand next to the high altar in St. Peter's for
the 1983 Holy Year, and was given by the pope afterwards to the
youth of the world as a symbol of Christ's love for us and a sign of
our redemption. Fr. Chris sees great potential for the Called
and Gifted workshop as a formation tool for the seventy WYD
The big local news for Canberra is that Bishop Mark
Coleridge has been named Archbishop and will be installed on August
17, 2006. This is wonderful news for Canberra and for the Institute.
Bishop Coleridge, a former auxiliary bishop in Melbourne, is the
reason we exist in that archdiocese, and he will be a great support
to the Canberra team.
In planning the future direction of the Institute, we
continue to receive inquiries from parishes and various
organizations within the Church. We have been approached by the
Thomas More Centre with a view to teaching a workshop to young
people involved in the organization of World Youth Day. We are
planning to have a short presentation for the Days in the Dioceses
leading up to World Youth Day, we hope with young adult presenters.
We are currently training more teachers and interviewers in order to
spread the workload.
We are excited about the future of the Institute in
Australia, and ask for your prayers as the Holy Spirit continues to
breathe new life into the Australian Catholic Church!
Ordained in Seattle
Michael Fones, O.P., co-director, Catherine of Siena
On a beautiful,
sunny June 10 in Seattle, WA, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett ordained
seven priests for the Archdiocese of Seattle in St. James Cathedral.
Among the seven-member ordination class, the largest in the
Archdiocese since 1968, was Bryan Dolesji, a teacher with the
Institute for four years. Anyone who knows Bryan or has seen him
teach would agree that this is a great moment for the Archdiocese.
Not only is Bryan a gifted teacher, he brings to his ministry an
exuberant love for people and charisma that will
make him a beloved pastor. In addition, because of his long
collaboration with the Institute, he has a deep understanding of the
role of the pastor. He will be able to help identify, call forth,
and coordinate the charisms of the people in his parish, all of
which comprise pastoral governance.
Actually, I should have written that Fr. Bryan will be
helping call for the charisms of the people in his
parishes. Although the Archdiocese ordained seven men,
there is still a shortage of clergy in Seattle. Consequently, Fr.
Bryan was appointed Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Church, St. Ann
Church, St. John of the Woods Church, and Visitation Church in
Tacoma! He will be serving the English-speaking community, while two
other priests serve the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities.
Fr. Bryan's ordination class reflects the current
trends of men entering the priesthood in this country. Their average
age is 36, and two were not born in the U.S. All but one had
post-graduate degrees. Nationally, almost 80 percent of the men
slated for ordination in 2006 completed a college degree before
entering the seminary and 30 percent had attained a graduate degree.
The average age of the class of 2006 is 37 and almost a third of the
men were born outside the United States.
Congratulations, Bryan! You will be a great blessing
to the people of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
The Challenge of Adult Faith
Formation (part 3)
Michael Fones, O.P., co-director, Catherine of Siena
This spring and summer I have been exploring the Rite
of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) as a model for adult
catechesis, a recommendation made by the U.S. bishops in their
document, Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us. In my first
article on this topic, I outlined the bishops' goals for adult faith
formation: conversion to the Lord, active membership in the Church,
and the preparation of adults to act as disciples in mission to the
world. The Catherine of Siena Institute, with its mission of
helping parishes form lay apostles, is a wonderful resource for any
community that would take the bishops' letter to heart. In the May
issue of the e-Scribe, I pointed out that the first stage of the
RCIA process, the precatechumenate, is described as an
important time of conversion from an old way of life to a new way in
Christ. This stage is almost universally presumed to have happened
when we deal with adult Catholic Christians, but it is not
necessarily the case! I also suggested that parishes consider ways
for parishioners who have undergone conversions and who have
established or deepened their relationship to Jesus to share their
stories with other members of the parish.
In this third of
four installments, I will offer some ways in which elements of the
catechumenate can be adapted to comprehensive parish-wide adult
faith formation. Yet before we further our examination of the
RCIA process, a couple of disclaimers are in order.
The first goal of adult
faith formation mentioned by the U.S. bishops in Our Hearts Were
Burning Within Us, is conversion to Christ. The RCIA describes
it as follows:
- Neither I, nor the U.S. bishops, are suggesting
that we simply add baptized Catholic adults to the RCIA process. I
imagine this is a temptation in some parishes. In several campus
ministries where I have served, parishioners would hear great
things about the catechetical formation the catechumens were
receiving, the close-knit community that was forming, and the
spiritual growth that was happening and ask, "why can't you open
up the RCIA process to the rest of the parish?" It is imperative
to remember that there is a real difference between the baptized
and the non-baptized; a distinction that many American Catholics
are loathe to admit. Yet baptism does something; it
is not merely symbolic. The baptized have received
sanctifying grace, they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, they
have received a character that sets them apart for the worship of
God. Even the decision to celebrate the rite of reception into
full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil is not
necessarily the norm, but must be "guided by the theological and
pastoral directives proper to each rite" [RCIA study edition,
Appendix 1:4, 562 (all the following citations in brackets are
from the RCIA Study Edition)] and be consistent with "respect for
ecumenical values and be guided by attentiveness both to local
conditions and to personal and family preferences. The person to
be received should always be consulted about the form of
reception." [Appendix I:4, 564]
- I recommend that people who are serious about adult
faith formation read through the RCIA process! There are many
important directives that will help guide those who seek to
utilize it as a model for adult faith formation.
- I suspect it will take a significant amount of time
to develop an effective adult faith formation process in
a parish. Our temptation will be to put together a
program based on the RCIA process. I suggest that we
focus on assessing our effectiveness in our formation
efforts, rather than on whether or not we have a program in place.
Pastoral leaders must have the courage to evaluate their efforts
dispassionately, and to change aspects in the formation process
that do not seem to have a long-lasting effect on adult
participants. Just as in the discernment process, in which knowing
where we are not gifted is success, knowing what
doesn't work is also success!
- The suggestions that follow are by no means
exhaustive, but are a cursory examination into some possibilities
for adult faith formation. In reality, adults in our parishes are
in various stages of faith: from baptized but not catechized
seekers, to intentional disciples, to lay apostles. No single
"program" will meet the needs of every adult. Pastors, pastoral
staff, and lay leaders will need to examine the various
formational needs of the adults in their parishes and respond to
75§2 As they become familiar with the Christian
way of life and are helped by the example and support of sponsors,
godparents, and the entire Christian community, the catechumens
learn to turn more readily to God in prayer, to bear witness to the
faith, in all things to keep their hopes set on Christ, to follow
supernatural inspiration in their deeds, and to practice love of
neighbor, even at the cost of self-renunciation.
is what we at the Institute have begun calling intentional
discipleship. Intentional discipleship, born of a genuine conversion
to Jesus that is prompted and supported by God's grace, is not
“unconscious” or accidental, nor is it merely cultural. One is not a
disciple simply by the fact of being born into a Catholic family,
having attended Catholic schools, following the rules, going to Mass
on Sunday, or generally being described as a good person. One
can do all those things and still not fit the description in the
Intentional discipleship requires a deliberate
decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord. When that happens, people's
lives change, sometimes dramatically. Their priorities change.
They worship, pray, serve others, give, study their faith, and
discern their vocation not out of guilt, but out of a living,
growing relationship with God. These behaviors begin to flow from
within, from the stream of life-giving water Jesus promises his
disciples (John 4:14), rather than from an external source.
In the last issue of the e-Scribe I mentioned that
prayer, proclamation of the Scriptures, personal testimony and the
public recognition and celebration of personal conversion are
important in fostering intentional discipleship. What elements from
the catechumenate might help parishes assist adults in their faith
The RCIA describes the catechumenate as "an extended
period during which the candidates are given suitable pastoral
formation and guidance, aimed at training them in the Christian
life."  Note that the catechumenate does not have a specific
length. It "should be long enough – several years if necessary
– for the conversion and faith of the catechumens to become strong."
 This suggests that adult faith formation should be recognized
as a process, not a program or simply a series of courses from which
an adult "graduates," guaranteed to be a disciple. If we are
going to form adults effectively, we must recognize their
differences, and be willing to walk with them as individuals. That's
a daunting task for parishes with memberships in the
The RCIA mentions four ways in which conversion
and faith can be deepened. I will mention them, and discuss in this
and the next e-Scribe how they might be used in the
formation of adult Catholics.
- Suitable catechesis by priests, deacons,
catechists, others of the faithful "accommodated to the liturgical
year, and solidly supported by celebrations of the word.
This catechesis leads the catechumens not only to an appropriate
acquaintance with dogmas and precepts but also to a profound sense
of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate."
 "Celebrations of the word may also be held in connection with
catechetical or instructional meetings of the catechumens, so that
these will occur in the context of prayer." 
- The help of sponsors, godparents, and the entire
Christian community. Catechumens "learn to turn more readily to
God in prayer, to bear witness to the faith, in all things to keep
their hopes set on Christ, to follow supernatural inspiration in
their deeds, and to practice love of neighbor, even at the cost of
self-renunciation." [75§2] They participate in a spiritual
journey, "passing from the old to a new nature made perfect in
- Suitable liturgical rites which purify and
strengthen with God's blessing. 
- Because the Church's life is apostolic,
"catechumens should also learn how to work actively with others to
spread the Gospel and build up the Church by the witness of their
lives and by professing their faith." 
Suitable catechesis. No matter who is
teaching, whether clergy or laity, two questions must be asked.
First, "are people learning?" Suitable catechesis takes work. The
catechist must take into consideration the education level,
interests, available time and life situation of the adults being
catechized. People will not come back for more catechesis if they do
not understand what is being taught. What works for one person won't
work for another: some are drawn by ideas, others by feelings, by
example, or through reflections on their own experience, or through
scripture. Effective catechesis that is suitable for the variety of
people in our parishes requires tremendous creativity!
Secondly, the catechist needs to connect catechesis to
the various lived experience of adults. Some will be married, others
single, divorced or widowed; others will be retired or disabled.
Their various careers will give them unique perspectives on issues
in the world and in the Church. Good catechists will constantly be
asking themselves how they can connect their teaching to the wealth
of experiences of adults. The faith must be presented as much more
than ideas to which we give our intellectual assent. Our faith is a
reality that challenges our assumptions, our common sense, and "the
way things are in this world." The parish will likely have a number
of people who can help catechize in particular areas, and they
should be utilized. For example, a Catholic physician might be
an excellent resource in discussions concerning the Church's
teaching on birth control, natural family planning and abortion,
while a social worker may have insights into some of the factors
that lead to homelessness, especially among the working poor, and
could enrich a conversation on some of the Church's social teaching.
Catechesis that fosters discipleship "should be of a kind that while
presenting Catholic teaching in its entirety also enlightens faith,
directs the heart toward God, fosters participation in the liturgy,
inspires apostolic activity, and nurtures a life completely in
accord with the spirit of Christ."  Such catechesis will help
adults realize that their daily decisions are part of the mystery of
Christ's ongoing redemption of the world.
The RCIA suggests that catechetical instruction can
take place in conjunction with a liturgy of the word, so that
catechesis happens in the context of prayer [81, 82]. The scriptures
themselves are the root of the church's teaching, and naturally can
be an integral part of catechetical instruction. Effective
catechesis utilizing Scripture will helps adults connect the
Scriptures to the daily living of their faith. Specifically,
this can occur in the context of teaching "the morality
characteristic of the New Testament, the forgiving of injuries and
insults, a sense of sin and repentance, [and] the duties Christians
must carry out in the world…."  Part of adult catechesis needs
to include instruction on prayer, and again the scriptures and the
Church's rich tradition offers many resources, including lectio divina and the praying
of the psalms, either on their own or as part of the liturgy of the
hours. The catechist's prayer during the preparation of their
instruction is crucial, for therein he or she will ask for the
guidance of the Holy Spirit for themselves and for those who are to
be catechized. At the same time, catechists, including clergy, would
do well to ask others to pray for the success of particular adult
formation events.But in addition to introducing
prayer resources, catechists and other members of the parish can
model personal prayer from the heart. This is something that should
seem natural, yet is not, for at least some Catholics. Not only does
this include extemporaneous verbal prayer shared with others, but
also that prayer which flows from within the individual heart,
reflecting one's desires, fears, questions, surprise, joy, gratitude
– all the emotions and thoughts that are a part of human life. Part
of preparing the soil for intentional discipleship is giving people
the permission to speak to God from the heart and from one's
experience and modeling that personal intimacy with our Creator. But
that experience must begin with a recognition of what God has done
for us, hence the importance of using the Scriptures in catechesis.
It is in the stories of deliverance from the bondage of slavery in
Exodus, and stories of the deliverance from sin, blindness, illness,
possession and death in the New Testament that Jesus offers, that
the individual begins to understand why we call God's
self-revelation good news, and why it is good news for
them! The reflection for this e-Scribe from St.
Catherine's Dialogue is an example of a Christian caught up in
wonder of the personal love that God has for her. Suitable
catechesis is that which not only satisfies our craving to know the
faith, it inflames the heart with wonder over the love, beauty,
truth and goodness of God. We will know our catechesis is suitable
when it becomes an integral part of an adult's deepening conversion,
changing his or her life.