Archive for the ‘DRE & Faith Formation Coordinators’ category

Leading with Beauty: Kneeling Before the Majesty of God

March 10, 2015

This month’s topic is Kneeling Before the Majesty of God and while I could recommend any number of paintings which feature God in all His heavenly glory, I think I’ll go with this one featuring his hidden earthly glory instead.

This is Saint Norbert worshiping Our Lord, truly present in this ornate monstrance.  Norbert was a worldly man who had a very dramatic conversion story and went on to found a religious order that continues to this day.  One of the other things Saint Norbert is known for is defending the Eucharist against heresy and disbelief, and one of his attributes* is to be pictured with a monstrance.

I think the value this piece would hold on a classroom prayer table is this:

  • Norbert’s obvious devotion.  His posture, focus, position of his hands – all are expressions of love for He who is before him.
  • The beauty of this particular monstrance.  We offer our best to God, and some craftsman (and this artist, Marten Pepijn), certainly did that, also as a sign of their devotion to God.
  • And finally, there are details you can cover such as:
    • What is a monstrance? (A sacred vessel with a glass opening through which the Sacred Host can be seen.  From a Latin word meaning to show.)
    • Why is that lamp burning just to the right of the monstrance?  (That is a sanctuary lamp, required by canon law to be lit wherever the Blessed Sacrament – consecrated hosts – are reserved, to remind believers of their sacred presence.)
    • Where can we find the Eucharist in our church?  (Answers vary slightly with each church, but it would be most typical to find the Blessed Sacrament reserved in your church’s tabernacle and in an Adoration Chapel.)  Make sure your students know where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in your church and remind them of the proper signs of devotion and respect.  (genuflecting, sign of the cross, reverent behavior, etc.)
    • How can we find where the Eucharist is another Catholic church? (Look for the sanctuary lamp to point the way.)

*In art, an attribute is an object that identifies someone, most commonly referring to objects held by saints.  (e.g. Saint Peter is often identified as holding keys, Saint Joseph by carpenter tools and a staff with lilies, etc.)

If you want a reminder of what this Leading with Beauty thing is all about, click over here for an explanation.

Thanks to the Web Gallery of Art for their truly remarkable collection of sacred art!

Leading with Beauty: The Ten Commandments

February 12, 2015

The classroom topic for March is the Ten Commandments and this work by Philippe de Champaigne (1648 AD) would be a perfect piece for classroom prayer tables.

The interesting thing about this piece is that everything is so clear; almost photograph-like!  Moses looks like someone you’d meet in real life and the tablet is clear enough to easily read.  That sends the message that reading/knowing the Commandments is every bit as valuable as the beauty of the art itself.

If you want a reminder of what this Leading with Beauty thing is all about, click over here for an explanation.

The 2014-15 Map is Updated

November 19, 2014

With 60 new parishes this year!

Click on the map link on the sidebar to find yours.

map link

The Basics: Meet the W.O.G.

October 5, 2014

It’s the beginning of the year, and in the interest of introducing all our old friends (and familiar elements), I’d like you to meet the W.O.G.  He’s our Family Formation mascot and it’s his job to encourage kids to read the Word Of God.  (Get it?)  You’ll see him greeting families at all our monthly meeting times and in a variety of other places.  His image has been on stickers, tattoos, and buttons in the past and you’ll see him printed in your home lessons in places where we want to remind you to open your Bibles.

Maybe most important is his work with the W.O.G. Logs.   Each month, we encourage kids to keep track of days they’ve remembered to read God’s Word.  At the Church of Saint Paul program, kids can bring their completed W.O.G. Log page back to the next Family Formation meeting to be entered in a drawing for some kind of prize.  (In October, 4 lucky kids won Dairy Queen gift cards!)

Of course, we hope kids will do a little Bible reading each day, but even if they only read one day in a particular month, we encourage them to bring the W.O.G. Log back to church for the next Family Formation classroom time.  God is glad for this beginning step and can use it to work in their lives!

There is a little change in procedure this year: instead of dropping off your W.O.G. Log at class with your catechist, we want you to put it in the appropriate box by the holy water font when you walk it.  We’ll still do prizes the same way – it’s just the drop off place that has changed a bit.


So next time you come for class, be sure to say hi to the W.O.G!  He loves handshakes, hugs, and high-fives and is even glad to give just a little wave to shy kids who are peeking at him from behind a parent.  Most of all, he loves kids who spend time reading God’s Word!

Distance Parish Registration Reminder

June 10, 2014

Family Formation seems to be in a bit of a growth spurt lately with lots of new parishes either committed to joining the fun or expressing serious interest in starting this fall.  While you are welcome to come on board at any time, there are definitely optimal times to do so, and these are tied to our printing and shipping schedules.

This is just a gentle reminder that your registration will trigger a chain of events which all need to happen before your materials arrive in your mailbox, so the earlier you register, the better.

We offer three options (besides moving to Ham Lake and just joining our program J ), and each has it’s own deadlines:

For Individual FamiliesJuly 25 is the deadline to register to receive the entire year’s worth of lessons beginning with the September Home Lesson.  Please register here.

For Parishes planning to register for the Template-Only option for 2014-15, there is no registration deadline, however, it is to your advantage to register early to allow ample time to prepare the lesson materials.  You may register any time here (choose Option 2).  Links to the September lesson materials will be distributed mid-July.  Knowing the number of families participating is not required to register.  That information will be collected from you in December.

For Parishes planning to register for the Ready-to-Use option: July 25 is the deadline to register to receive the entire year’s worth of lessons beginning with the September Home Lesson.  You need to register only once each year.  Please do so here (choose Option 1).


As always, start at our website with your basic questions, but then feel free to call or email any time you need help.

transforming logo

Tips from the Field

February 2, 2014

We’re always glad to hear ideas from Family Formation DREs and families!  This one comes from a veteran DRE who has found an easy way to help her program’s parents build community and get more out of the monthly talks.

I believe Family Formation is firmly rooted in the minds and hearts of our families. We continue to make small changes with the hopes of improving the program each year. One of the bigger changes in the past couple of years is to break off into small group after the adult sharing with questions about what they just heard from the presenter. This has been a challenge for many because sharing about faith matters is difficult. The more we do it the better it becomes. We feel it is creating an environment for our parents to get to know each other a bit more outside of the Sunday liturgy with the hopes of building community within the church and most importantly to help people talk about their faith so it becomes easier for them. Hearing what others do in their homes to grow in their faith also gives them encouragement and sometimes the push they need to do the same. Changes takes time…..just plain hard for most!

heart mind

Yet another great idea from Anne

November 15, 2013

This one has all sorts of fun possibilities!

minute to win it

Our evaluations last spring had the request that we do activities where the people get to know other people at the sessions. Another request was that we cover a little bit on the Mass each month since the Mass is central to our faith.

I took those two requests and combined them into one activity. Each month we now begin with “A Minute to Win It“. Everyone gets a partner (not a family member and someone they have not partnered with on previous months). They learn each other’s name.

Then we do some activity for one minute — first one partner and then the other. The activity is then connected to a part of the Mass and that part of the Mass is explained. The Minute to Win It activity is then repeated.

A couple of the Minute to Win It activities we have done: 

  • How many drops of water can you get on a penny without the water running off (the priest pouring a small amount of water into the wine)
  • Sucking up on a straw, how many bean could they move from a plate to a sheet of paper with the outline of a “3”. (What does the priest do with his mouth 3 times at Mass? kiss the altar (twice) and kiss the Book of the Gospels)

Minute to Win It has become a fun way to meet other people and to learn about the Mass.

NOTE: If you’d like a little more Minute to Win It inspiration, just google “Minute to Win It games” for lots of great ideas.


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