Catechesis and Evangelism in your parishes?

I hope this is the right forum for this thread. I have searched as thoroughly as I can, and I have not found this issue specifically addressed.

What are your parishes doing about Adult Catechesis? I mean teaching adults the faith at our stage of life and level of understanding. It seems to me that most Catholics stop increasing our understanding of our faith in childhood, and the rules and theology of that level does not seem to apply often in our adult lives. This makes us vulnerable to evangelism by other faiths or simply boredom and disillusionment, and falling away all together. Thanks to groups like Catholic Answers and the internet, there are many resources available to those of us enthusiastic to learn, but how do we reach those who have not caught this enthusiasm to grow?

Also, how are we reaching out to those who don’t know Christ, both in this country and internationally?

Ellen

Whenever I’ve asked about adult classes it’s always assumed I mean RCIA. But I’d like to find a class or series of classes that touch on the fundamentals of philosophy, theology, Church history, etc. Adult-level Catholic education. I’d think a “Survey of Catholicism” text like a (good) Catholic college or high school might use, would be a good place to start. But I have yet to find such a book.

Personally I would see more value in this sort of “outreach” than in the various ministries (youth, young adult, etc.) that most parishes in this area have - sponsoring feel-good activities like movies and mini-golf but not really doing anything of value.

I have been trying to implement Go Make Disciples and *Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, *for several years without any luck. I find either the pastor or the DRE is against them or the parish in general is just not interested and the Pastor or DRE does not want to push it. I am seriously considering starting a CUF chapter and gathering adults across parish lines together who want to study what the Chruch teaches and pray together for the Church.

  • What are your parishes doing about Adult Catechesis?*

In our parish, nothing.

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I have been trying to implement Go Make Disciples and *Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, *for several years without any luck. I find either the pastor or the DRE is against them or the parish in general is just not interested and the Pastor or DRE does not want to push it. I am seriously considering starting a CUF chapter and gathering adults across parish lines together who want to study what the Chruch teaches and pray together for the Church.
[/quote]

Rich, who are the authors of these books you recommend? Do you have the ISBN numbers? I’d like to get them.

Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us is available at the USCCB website. [/font]http://www.usccb.org/education/ourhearts.htm

I also just noticed a thread over in the Spirituality forum called “Catholics in need of renewal” which has some interesting suggestions.

Over the last year, our parish council, which I chaired, spent a great deal of time discussing ways and reasons to improve adult catechesis in our parish. The greatest obstacles seem to be interest (people don’t recognize that they need this), time (not a high priority), and identifying instructors. Many evangelical churches rely on their pastors for their education and small group Bible studies for additional growth. These formats are not ideal or even practical in a Catholic Church. Anyway, as a result of this year’s focus on catechesis, I have brought together a Catechesis Committee. We are attempting to develop programming for the parish, and are working on what formats might be best and how to get people interested! I have heard that the Church is coming out with an abbreviated version of the CCC which might be suitable for lecture/study series.

I believe that catechesis and evangelism go hand in hand, and along with that we protect our sisters and brothers from being misinformed about Catholicism by people of other faiths.

Ellen

In our parish our Pastor talks contsantly about being Evangelical Catholics…So needless to say there is plenty of opportunity for the Adults to learn the faith. We have been fortunate enough to have the likes of George Wiegle, Dewight Longnecker, Gerry Matatics, and we have Patrick Madrid coming in August…But living in the heart of the Bible Belt we need all of the teaching we can get to anwser all of our Southern Baptist brothers questions…

[quote=oregon_tiger]So needless to say there is plenty of opportunity for the Adults to learn the faith. We have been fortunate enough to have the likes of George Wiegle, Dewight Longnecker, Gerry Matatics, and we have Patrick Madrid coming in August.
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What sort of turn out do you get, and how do you advertise?

At the parish level, we have virtually nothing. Our parish catechesis program ends at 7th grade. Once in a great while someone will organize something short-term, like a Lenten Bible study on the Sunday readings for the season that we had two years ago.

I recently discovered that the diocese offers adult classes at widely scattered locations and times that are not very well publicized. The first class I took this spring was held in our own parish, by a priest we have in residence, yet only the catechists and elementary school teachers were informed. There were just six students in the class – myself and five catechists from neighboring parishes. I don’t know why the classes aren’t promoted more.

I’ve often sensed some sort of fear of maybe driving adults away by suggesting there might be more they don’t know. When I volunteered to become a catechist, I asked enthusiastically about training. The director hedged and said something about orientation, which turned out to be a very casual meeting with all the catechists introducing themselves and such. Only after much prying did I uncover any kind of formal preparation – the diocesan classes. They’re putatively required of catechists, but no one seems to really care – and getting information about them has been like pulling teeth.

Deborah

“What are your parishes doing about Adult Catechesis?”

I don´t know of any adult catechesis in my parish.
*After kids leave my group of Holy Confirmation there is nothing more.

Emmy*

Don’t mean to be a nuisance, but since so many people are on line I thought I would try one more time to revive this thread. I think that adult catechesis is so lacking and the group of people on this board, if anyone, are the ones to help figure out how to improve it. Any ideas on getting people to show up?

Oh-and thanks to those who have responded. It’s too bad, but not surprising, that several of you have responded that there is no programming available.

Thanks for your help!

Ellen

I thinking have a workshop in a parish by the folks at the Catherine of Siena Institute could be helpful for a number of parishes. The workshops in and of themselves would help participants learn more about their faith but they would also spur them to want to learn more and spread the faith in the ordinary events of their everyday lives.

[quote=debeater]I’ve often sensed some sort of fear of maybe driving adults away by suggesting there might be more they don’t know. When I volunteered to become a catechist, I asked enthusiastically about training. The director hedged and said something about orientation, which turned out to be a very casual meeting with all the catechists introducing themselves and such. Only after much prying did I uncover any kind of formal preparation – the diocesan classes. They’re putatively required of catechists, but no one seems to really care – and getting information about them has been like pulling teeth.

Deborah
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This has crossed my mind as well. I would love to qualify myself to do catechesis but so far I haven’t been able to find any definitive answers as to what those qualifications are.
Recently, our diocese, at the request of the Bishop, has opened a new office covering Youth, Vocations, and Evangelization so I think I shall put together a proposal and see what happens.

Our parish will be starting “Generations of Faith” in the Fall. It’s designed as an inter-generational experience, bringing the whole family into the religious education process.

Father invited me to join. I backed out, however, after looking at the website. It struck me as a product of the failed Catechetical Establishment that produced my own daughters’ ignorance about Christianity, much less Catholicism. (Judgmental, I know, mea culpa). Nary a reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which immediately gets my red light flashing. Anybody else know anything about it?

I see that this has been moved from the apologetics forum. So much for trying not to use the Miscellaneous forum!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I wish I were more encouraged by the replies! Perhaps if we start a successful program I will advertise it here. I have several concerns, some of which have been offered above. First is, how to have instructors who will be competent and orthodox? In many protestant churches, the pastor (or one of several “pastors”) accepts this responsibility. However, our priests are not necessarily trained for this nor to they have time, being stretched to their limits as it is. Another concern is that there is such a wide spread of knowledge and ability to learn. It has come to my attention that some people who call themselves Catholic do not accept the Bible as the written Word of God! On the other end are people like me who are interested in apologetics, and others who are quite informed in theology and spirituality. A third area is interest: how do we convince people that this is something that they need? Finally, do you think that the parish is the place for this, or are people better directed to search on their own through sources like EWTN and Catholic Answers?

Thanks for your input. If you can’t tell, I believe that better catechesis is the answer to many of the issues on other forums, including liturgical abuses, Mass attendance, moral decision-making (why accept the authority of the Church and what exactly does she say?), and evangelism.

Ellen

Ellen,
You and the others responding to this thread summed up my feelings and frustrations. I spent so much of my young and middle adult life not growing in my faith. Thank God he has inspired me, and let me live long enough, to try to do something about it. Private study seems to be the main option. If you are near a Catholic University with a good Theology department you could take courses there. I’ve decided to tip my toe in the water and attempt to help out with our parish’ PSR program. Hopefully by learning how to teach the faith to seventh graders I will continue to grasp more of it myself.
God bless you all.

Like so many of the others we have nothing in our parish and no desire by our pastor to allow those of us who want to organize and participate to do so. I’ll keep watching here for any good ideas and keep praying for us all.

First do you mean evangelization, that is initial proclamation of the gospel message to adults who have not yet received it, or do you mean catechesis, that is systematic instruction in Catholic doctrine, or both. Chances are your parish has a lot more going on than you ever hear about, because we do such a lousy job of publicizing it. Our parish is only one I ever heard of who employs a full time director for adult evangelization (in addition to the CRE). She is a sister from Mexico with 40 years experience who is doing a superb job reaching adults who are culturally but not spiritually Catholic, which is the majority hear in S. Tex 80% Hispanic. ALPHA program in English & Spanish is intro to Christian faith, follow up is Touching Jesus Through the Church, basics of sacraments, liturgy, Catholic system. She also has bible studies, comunidades de bases and prayer groups in neighborhoods. What comes next is tougher, which is catechesis.for RCIA and also for mature Catholics. main problem is lack of interest. Can’t even get most catechists to attend adult ed classes and catechist formation, It’s here, but nobody seems to think they need it.

[quote=asquared]First do you mean evangelization, that is initial proclamation of the gospel message to adults who have not yet received it, or do you mean catechesis, that is systematic instruction in Catholic doctrine, or both. Chances are your parish has a lot more going on than you ever hear about, because we do such a lousy job of publicizing it… What comes next is tougher, which is catechesis.for RCIA and also for mature Catholics. main problem is lack of interest. Can’t even get most catechists to attend adult ed classes and catechist formation, It’s here, but nobody seems to think they need it.
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I mean both, although its funny, I was thinking of catechesis partly so that we can be more effective in evangelizing. Our parish does have quite a bit of programming, although formal catechesis is a not organized as such, and you’re right. The publicity is lacking, and so is interest. So how do we convince people that they need catechesis? It has also occurred to me that there are two excuses for not attending catechetical programs: the teaching is too strict (adheres carefully to church teaching), or it is not strict enough. Which do you think is more important? Or do people really just not take their faith seriously enough to invest time in understanding it, and this is also why we don’t evangelize?

Does your parish make the materials you mentioned available to the public?

kxq, I just noticed your post. Thanks for your thoughts. Good idea trying to teach. The teacher always learns the most.

Ellen

Greetings. This is my fourth post. :whacky:

My parish, St. Peter’s in Libertytown, MD has experienced a lot of success with an adult apologetics course. It runs for a long time - 5 or 6 months. The parish adults seem to love it. We’re in our third year of teaching the course. I’m pretty sure the head of CCD in the parish created the template for the course.

I agree this need for adults catachesis exists in a big way. I read recently that 2/3rds of Catholic textbooks in the U.S. are not in conformity with the CCC. Watered down teaching of Catholicism kills faith. People are not attracted to the lukewarm, especially since Catholicism calls us to live radical lives. The course taught at our parish is orthodox - this is definitely a key to its success.

We must also start teaching our youth the truth. I taught a short apologetics course for high-schoolers. There are many kids who never get a formal Catholic education - they need to hear the whole truth, and at an early age.
Something else our parish has that is kind of unique is perpetual adoration. It is not a very big parish but it maintains adoration 24 - 7. So the prayer life is there for lots of adults. The ground is fertile for a long, info-packed apologetics course. I think this prayer foundation has a lot to do with the success of adult catachesis in our parish.

Peace.

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