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Instructions: Invite a volunteer to read each of the Sunday readings for your group, and then reflect on them with the below thoughts and questions.
by Eric Gurash
At some point during the summer months, we all start to wonder what our formation programs will look like in the fall. Whether we have a lot of ideas or just a few suggestions from others, the struggle is trying to select what ought to be done out of the range of possibilities. Thankfully we are not left alone in our discernment. As James assures us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” (James 1:5)
With this in mind, in planning a new faith formation year I begin by praying for freedom and openness to God’s will. More often than not the first questions on my mind are, “What do I want to do? What did I find challenging, difficult, or lacking last year?” Those questions are all about me. My initial prayer for freedom is an attempt to take myself out of the equation and re-focus on God’s will for the parish.
When my daughter was a freshman at a Catholic high school, she had to prepare a prayer for religion class but seemed to be having trouble getting started. As we talked about it, I realized that she felt she had to “compose” a prayer as though God could only be approached through formal language. But St. Ignatius taught that when we pray, it should “resemble one friend speaking to another”—and I told her this. She was able to move forward, knowing that God was approachable in this manner.
by Eric Gurash
The summer months provide a perfect time for us catechists and DREs to grow in our own faith lives. Even if you still have fall planning or summer events like a parish VBS on your agenda, it’s important to intentionally set aside time to take advantage of sunny weekends and longer days for deepening your own relationship with Christ. And you don’t need to travel to a retreat center to do this. Weather permitting, take your prayer out into the world, settling in your backyard, a local park, or your favorite coffee shop. Or take a walk through your neighborhood. The following outline can easily be adapted to a day, a weekend, or a week-long series of prayerful reflections for a do-it-yourself summer retreat.
This is the second article in a series about the spiritual life of catechists, inspired by the list of characteristics in the National Directory for Catechesis.
Have you ever encountered truly genuine people, those about whom you can say, “With (name), what you see is what you get”? That’s essential for catechists. The NDC calls this, “a coherence and authenticity of life.” It is “characterized by [the catechist’s] faithful practice of the faith in a spirit of faith, charity, hope, courage, and joy.” (229)
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