Fasting can be difficult. Some words of advice are in order:
- Do not purposely bake food you intend to give up.
- Do not purposely smell food you intend to give up.
- Lastly, if you fail, do not beat yourself up about it. Try again.
Fasting can be difficult. Some words of advice are in order:
We thought you’d all enjoy hearing a few of the highlights of the impact Family Formation is having in Ellsworth, Wisconsin:
Our 1st year of Family Formation has made a difference in our parish. Just getting the message out, that it is the responsibility of the parents to teach the Faith to their children and we will help them, is a big deal! We do have an elementary school in our parish which goes through 5th grade. I overheard some of the 5th graders talking exitedly about going to Family Formation next year. Yeaa!
We have opened up our Family Formation Adult Talks to the whole parish, since we are using the church and there is plenty of room. Depending on the month and the speaker we have had a large amount of parishioners other than the Family Formation parents come for these talks. The range was from 20 to 50 additional people! The parish is catching on and it has gotten much attention.
I am looking forward to another great year of Family Formation. Have had 4 different parishioners that have approached me, without my asking, wanting to do a Family Formation talk. That is amazing to me.
Thanks to Joan for sharing a report of her parish’s first year with Family Formation! This is also the perfect place to remind readers that we would love to talk with you about bringing this transforming program to your parish! You can start at our website, with our workshop folder, or simply by contacting us.
Thanks to St. Joseph’s in Delano for inviting us to speak about the blessings of Family Formation on Wednesday! Your openness to this unique model, your thoughtful questions, your hospitality, and your support for our work made it a lovely visit.
(If you are interested in having a Family Formation representative come to your parish, contact us.)
The parish pastor discovered it. The director of evangelization and catechesis for the archdiocese encourages it. And, most important, the parents and children like it.
Heidi Snitchler said she enjoys the new “Family Formation” effort because she is learning more about the Catholic faith even as she teaches it to her children. ”It’s opening my eyes as to how important my involvement is for the kids to learn,” said Snitchler, whose children attend public schools in Norfolk. “We go over terms and concepts in ways that help me communicate it to my children.” Snitchler said she is pleased to be involved – both for her children and for herself. Her husband, Eric, is not Catholic, but he is involved in the lessons and is learning, too, Snitchler said. ”We’ll be back next year,” she said.
Close to the top of our list of favorite things is talking to others about the blessings of Family Formation! (I know, I know – no surprises there.) One of the missions of our Core Team is to be “enthusiastic ambassadors” for Family Formation in a one-on-one way, our office staff gladly spends hours each month explaining different aspects to prospective users, we visit distance parishes to talk with their parents, parish councils, etc., we attend conferences, and each spring we offer an introductory workshop.
At almost all of these encounters, we give away folders full of basic information about the program. It took awhile, but in a recent Aha! moment, we thought why wait until we see you to give you the folder?
So [drum roll please], we are glad to share our folder of Family Formation basics with you, your questioning pastor, your skeptical mother-in-law, your fellow parishioners, your searching-for-a-better-way DRE, your friends and neighbors who want more family togetherness, and anyone else who would like to grow in the Catholic Faith and deepen their family life.
Simply click on the “Workshop Folder” link on the sidebar of our home page and you’ll open a zip folder of PDF files including sample lessons, topic overviews, Church documents in support of family catechesis, FAQs, practical basics, and tips for easing into the transition. Thanks for reading and feel free to share!
Congratulations to Family Formation for being named the 2012 winner of the New Wineskins Award offered by the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership!
This award is designed to:
To qualify, the parish ministry must exhibit:
Thank you to Katie Dubas from the Fargo Diocese for nominating us and for the NCCL for recognizing our work!
Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
A Core Team member writes about the primacy of prayer:
My husband and I started out teaching Family Formation when we were first married and before children, so we could check out this program everyone was talking about. Now ten tears later, three of our four children are involved and I am a member of the Core Team. It is really neat to see Family Formation from these various perspectives (teacher, parent, core member). Being a core member has both strengthened my prayer life and faith journey and has allowed me to share the gifts and talents God has given to me with others. It is amazing to see how God has placed certain people in different roles at different times to use their gifts for the good of others. I have also grown to see better that it is all for the Glory of God and His will not ours. I believe the core team’s prayer is the strength and backbone of the whole Family Formation program.
It is a major goal of ours to keep our own program and those of our distance parishes covered in prayer. You can read more about it in this archived post (and the 8 others in the series!) on our monthly litany, and we’re always glad to pray for parish prayer needs emailed to us by our distance parishes. Most important though is that you get your own parishioners praying for the details of your own parish needs. A core team is the best way we know of to do that.
A few words from one of our founders:
Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I will be with them. Matthew 18:20
When Religious Education was moving from teacher based to family based format and Family Formation was in its birthing stage at the Church of Saint Paul, the only way I knew how to do this was to PRAY. The concept [family catechesis] was a new idea, yet one that Pope John Paul II was calling for. Several documents and Church teaching at the time were indicating that “Parents are the primary teachers” although very little had been developed to give parents the tools they needed to get the job done. I was the new coordinator/DRE of the process and the only thing I knew how to do was to gather some friends and pray. We met for the first time and AMAZING things began to happen right away. I guess there was a security in numbers for me .. or added support. But God had a plan and through the collective sense of the group, the new idea of Family Formation took root. I continued to gather a variety of willing souls to meet with me on a regular basis, which eventually formed what we now call our Core Team. Each month we met in the chapel, in front of the Eucharist, and offered ourselves as willing servants to do whatever God asked of us. When people pray like that, God listens, looks down from His royal throne and probably says “Look there .. let’s give this group the tools they need to make this happen”. And He did.
Throughout the following years, the Core Team has faithfully prayed, carefully listened and shared what they feel God is telling them, and then moving forward. The great gift for all of us has been to witness the profound depth, the creativity, the ideas, the commitment, and the result of something new, yet old.
I am no longer with the Church of Saint Paul because of a move and retirement, but what was begun so long ago, continues through the steady commitment of the people involved. I stay connected via email and regular reports from the group and feel as though I am with them in spirit and prayer.
More testimonies from former Core Team members:
Do you need a core team? No, God can and does work in many ways.
Is it good to have a core team? YES, yes, yes! God can and will work powerfully in and through your core team.
The personal growth, closer to our loving Lord, is so evident in the members of the core team. Your parish will grow because of these people’s commitment to seek our Lord and sharing their talents. The power of a group praying for your own families is so good! It is a great blessing, why not allow God to work in the marvelous way?
It was one of the riches experiences of my entire life. Even if everyone cannot participate all the time, God honors your efforts.
I believe the greatest benefit of having a core team is offering people different way to get involved in the church especially in faith formation. I felt like I was actually a member not just a donor. There was a piece of me that really help make this church the church it is today beyond just the money I gave. People need to feel they’re a part of the church not just a pocket book and pew sitter.
One main benefits I’ve found to belonging to the Core Team is the incredible cross-collaboration that is made possible. It is amazing how many times you realize that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because this or that other ministry already created the prop, booklet, project or whatever it is that you need for your particular ministry … not to mention the coordination of efforts that can only come about if the leaders of different ministries come together routinely. Of course, I guess this entire discussion hinges on the DRE’s desire to delegate a few responsibilities … if the DRE truly is the head of every ministry then they might not see the freedom that awaits them if they create a core team that consists of more than just one.
For more on having a Core Team, click on the tag in the sidebar.