Adult Faith Formation

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It's nice to see someone taking RCIA seriously. Three years ago all I got were dumbed down, poorly written booklets. An introduction to Kreeft then would have really helped me.

Please, please don't be afraid to give your participants difficult and more thoughtful books.

Yes, I notice details. Because, to me, they matter.

For adult faith formation of any kind, terms that reflect a classroom model can reduce the effectiveness. It's not just an issue of "correct" language, it's a reflection of what it is we are offering the folks who have responded to the Spirit's (or somebody's) prompting.

Yes, there is an intellectual component to adult faith formation, especially if the questions and the life experience of the individuals seeking formation have a big influence in setting the topics for the sessions. (Yes, sessions, not classes.)

There are no teachers and students here, really. There are resources, including books, but not in the way a calculus class has a textbook.

But the main assessment tool is discernment, not quizzes and exams.

We solved this long ago: knowledge alone does not save. Anyone can take a course in religious belief and practice, but assisting conversion journeys is a much more challenging (and rewarding) enterprise.

There is a difference between Adult Faith Formation and RCIA. Yes, RCIA can be formative two but that happens in a different place and context.

Information and knowledge is an important detail that often gets lost in pastoral approaches, but I believe it is particularly unpastoral not to let people in on the truth.

Also, the Faith Formation CLASS is for anybody, not just those who wish to become Catholic.

Yes, we are taking care of other human and pastoral values in other contexts.

Great choice, Father. I read it a few years ago and like it better than Fundementals of Faith, which is a little too ecumenical for the purpose. Wish you were running RCIA at the parish my friend is taking RCIA through.

"For adult faith formation of any kind, terms that reflect a classroom model can reduce the effectiveness."

Or they can increase the effectiveness.

I have been dismayed more than once at taking what I thought would be an opportunity to learn about something from someone who was more learned in that area than I -- only to find a "faciliator" who was more ignorant than I, and an attitude that no on way of thinking was "batter" than any other, as if there were no such thing as objective truth.

If it is about history or architecture this relativism (or indifferentism) is nothing but a minor dissappointment. But if it is church and parent mandated "faith formation" it is downright dangerous.
The refusal to actually impart information, or facts, or Truth, to which those of us who grew up in American Catholic culture in the '70s were subjected, was a scandal, the effects of which are expanding as we fail to educate the next and the next generation.

"no one," and "better" of course. Pardon.

From my experience in being on RCIA teams, one of the most difficult parts of accompanying inquirers, catechumens, and candidates at various steps of their journeys is helping them find the types of prayer that they can integrate into their daily lives. Both for those newly coming to Christianity and those who have some background find this difficult.

It's great when the sponsors and the candidates are similar enough in style to have the sponsor assist with this, but that's not something that one can count on. This is also a great ad for having a genuine RCIA team of differing experiences and styles to share about the ways they pray.

Father Jeff in a former life was fond of criticizing a neighboring parish whose neophytes had no idea how to prepare for or participate in the sacrament of reconciliation. That's another challenge that books of facts may not cover well!

Because of you I have spent more money on books. I like Dr. Kreeft. Real good stuff.

I'm sorry if I was confused.

What is the difference between RCIA and Adult Faith Formation?

Veering way off-topic.

"fond of criticizing a neighboring parish whose neophytes had no idea how to prepare for or participate in the sacrament of reconciliation."

I attended a very interesting diocesan workshop on liturgy a few weeks ago.
The Notre Dame nun who conducted it was quite good.
She talked about preparing for each Sunday by really recognizng tha Paschal mystery, by thinking of every week as ending with its own "mini-Triduum," an idea I found interesting and workable.
She talked about the kinds of things one can do on every Friday and Saturday, as preparation, as penance, as cleasing, etc. (House-keeping, giving up jelly doughnuts...)
But I was surprised, and said so at the Q & A, that she hadn't mentioned what I would have thought a most obvious means of prepration and penance and cleansing -- the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
She dismissed it saying "we" don't really aim for weekly or even monthly confession any more (very kindly, I don't want to imply that there was any smirking about "pre-VCII" habits such as that often aimed at little old ladies who prefer to use "the box.")
Now I am kind of the vanguard of the no-need-to-go-to-confession-anymore generation -- literally, my older siblings were taught to go every week, and the rest of us kind of were taught how to make a confession either just before or even shortly after our 1st communion, and then it never came up in religious ed. again.
But it seems to me that every few months there is an article from CNS or Zenit, or coming from the USCCB or the Vatican extolling the need for and the joys of the Sacrament of Penance, and bemoaning the fact that "nobody" goes anymore.
I guess my point is, with the mixed signals coming from Catholic "authority figures," it is scant wonder that a lot of neophytes are clueless about the sacrament, because there are plenty of cradle Catholics with nary a clue to spare.

There are innumerable anecdotes of inadequate faith formation situations: one extreme would be a sterile classroom model that ignores the necessity of cultivating conversion and spiritual growth; another extreme would be a warm fuzzy model that ignores the necessity of passing on and understanding the deposit of faith. Both extremes have their amazingly rigid proponents.

Of course, as Father Jeff indicates, the classroom setting should be only one part of a personís total faith life within the parish.

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on September 3, 2004 7:57 PM.

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