Posted tagged ‘CORE Team’

“Right before my eyes, all those details were being ironed out.”

November 1, 2012

I just ran across this emailed testimony from last spring about the value of having a Core Team in a parish Family Formation program.  Not only is it a great reminder for DREs and program directors, but it’s an inspirational true story for everyone who longs to see their parish grow in holiness.

When I first was asked to be a part of our Core Team, I wasn’t sure exactly what was in store.  I was under the impression that it was just a few people gathering to pray for our Family Faith Formation program.  And if that were all our little group did, it would be a worthy cause.  But our group really blossomed into much more.

The Family Formation program is wonderful as-is, but it does need to be tailored to each individual parish.  Making it run smoothly for a parish is a challenge for a single director who can’t possibly know what’s happening in each classroom or individual home.  Core provides a safe environment for a few teachers, parents, and the director to discuss what’s working and develop solutions for any bumps that occur.  We’ve been able to stop small problems before they turn into big problems because of our different perspectives.

Another task of the group is developing extra activities to help promote community among our families.  Last year we organized a Corpus Christi Procession for the first time at our parish.  We’ve held fun events like Saints’N’Smores and Soup’N’Snowmen.  The most unexpected fruit of Core Group so far, though, has been Eucharistic Adoration.

It was a regular Core Team  morning.  We had coffee and breakfast, (some of our members with cooking talents are generous!), and we were talking about Corpus Christi.  Our priest had not ever attended a Core Group meeting, so we were surprised when he popped in to the hall and accepted our invitation to see how a meeting goes and have a cup of coffee.  As we discussed Corpus Christi, one of our teachers quite suddenly blurted out. “Father, why can’t we have adoration here?”  And the rest is so fuzzy in my mind that I won’t attempt to write it down.  We were discussing location, times, dates, as the impossible became possible!

Now, my husband and I had been wanting adoration at our parish for years, but as a small parish without much desire for adoration we couldn’t ever figure out how it would work.  Right before my eyes, all those details were being ironed out.  I had just finished reading St. Therese’s biography, and I don’t remember asking specifically for her intercession in regards to adoration.  But as the Core Team discussed implementing adoration at our parish with Father, a woman brought a beautiful bouquet of white roses into the room we were in.  She set them down, then left.  Knowing that St. Therese often sends roses as a sign of her favors, I started to tear up.  I knew this was a sign.  Adoration was meant to be at our parish, and Core Team was the vehicle to get it here.  There was no reason for Father to drop by.  There was no reason for the woman to set her flowers down in our room before returning to pick them up. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit inspired the happenings that day at our meeting.  And now on Tuesdays, our parish offers Eucharistic Adoration!

Because the individuals on our Core Team love the Church and have seen the benefits of Family Formation, it has become a close-knit group.  I would have never gotten to know the individual members as I do now without Core Group.  We’ve done Lectio Divina together, meditating on the daily readings.  We’ve prayed a litany, mentioning each of our families by name.  For me, it’s like a mini-retreat once a  month because it offers another prayer experience, not just alone or with my family, or with a big group at mass, but with an intimate group of believers.  In this way it’s blessed me deeply.

Is it necessary to have a Core Group?  Probably not.  Family Formation could probably function without the guidance, prayer, and feedback provided by Core Group.  But most parishes didn’t choose Family Formation just to get by.  Chances are that parishes chose Family Formation  to help families grow in faith, to inspire vocations, and to all around develop a love for Jesus and his bride the Church.  If that is truly the goal of a parish, then Core Team can’t be overlooked.  I’m amazed at what God has done with our little bit of time each month.


Having a Core Team: covering your program in prayer

May 3, 2012

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.

Developing a Core Team: A little Family Formation history lesson

May 2, 2012

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 can’t find the words to describe the power that has been in the room when we meet. It almost always feels like a new Pentecost each month.

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.

Trudy Swanson

Having a Core Team: building up your parish

April 27, 2012

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.



Having a Core Team: coordination of efforts

April 25, 2012

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.

Having a Core Team: an unexpected benefit

April 23, 2012

A brief testimony from one of our Core Team members:

I don’t know if I can adequately express what being part of the core team has meant to me.  I thought the people there were only those who really knew their Catholic Faith and I knew I was not one of those people.  I said yes anyway, because I was so honored to be asked and because I wanted what they had.  The meetings would not have kept me coming, although the food and fellowship were wonderful.  It was the prayer time each week that I strongly desired.  Who knew that the Lord could speak to you if you just sat quietly and open your heart.  Not me!  Core Team meetings opened the door to my personal prayer life and participation in other ministries within our church.  I’m not the same person I was when I first joined, thank goodness!  I will be forever grateful for the invitation to participate in the core team and to those who spiritually nurtured me along the way.

For more about having a Core Team, check here.

On the Road!

March 23, 2012

We recently had the opportunity to visit Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, NE where Family Formation has been making a difference in their parish and family life since September.  The prayers and commitment of the staff and Core Team there, under the direction of Fr. Andrews, have laid a solid foundation for the successful transition to family-based catechesis.  It has not been without frustration and roadblocks along the way, however, hard work, dedication, commitment to the goal, and a lot of prayer and teamwork have been met with an outpouring of God’s abundant blessings.  What has already transpired there is nothing short of amazing and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for them in the coming years!

Father Andrews along with Jane, Laurie, and Deb (from Ham Lake) and Norfolk's Core Team.

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