Articles Under: Pedagogy & Methodology

“T here seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones . The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not bear it .” Jeremiah 20:9 An Unexpected Call In September, 2018, I received a bemusing phone call from Anthony Gordon, the director of Catholic schools in a rural Australian Diocese. He asked me whether I would consider applying for the position of Diocesan Director of Religious Education and Mission. At the time, I was working in my “dream job” as a professor of religious education at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, Australia... Read more
Continuing from the previous issue, Dr. Farey reflects on the Directory’s practical implications. It is an unswerving Catholic conviction that “The Christian community is the origin , locus and goal of catechesis” (DC 133, my emphasis). This phrasing is taken directly from the catechetical directory of 1997 (GDC 254). Other Christians would not claim this so explicitly. They are more likely to say that Christ is the origin, Scripture the locus (the fundamental place for learning and receiving the Word of God for one’s life), and heaven is the goal. The reason the Catholic Church holds this conviction is, in... Read more
Una proclamación de la salvación Introducción Durante las últimas décadas, los teólogos que enfocan la evangelización en general, y en particular, al momento de la catequesis – que es una parte de la evangelización- han puesto esfuerzos considerables de pensamiento y atención al tema del kerigma, y con justa razón. El kerigma puede entenderse aptamente como el resumen del Evangelio; y, como tal, siempre merece estudio de mayor cercanía, particularmente en una época cuando el catolicismo está menguando en muchos lugares. En esta serie de tres partes, explico lo que es el kerigma y porqué es importante. En esta primera... Read more
A Proclamation of Salvation Introduction Over the last several decades, theologians who focus on evangelization in general, and the moment of catechesis within it in particular, have given considerable thought and attention to the topic of the kerygma, and rightly so. The kerygma can be aptly understood to be the summary of the Gospel; and, as such, it is always deserving of closer study, especially so in an age when Catholicism is waning in many places. In this three-part series, I’ll explain what the kerygma is and why it’s important. In this first installment, I’ll provide a basic overview of... Read more
Recientemente, en una conferencia para dirigentes católicos, me preguntó un joven sacerdote a qué me dedicaba. Le dije que ayudo a las parroquias a inventar estrategias para crear una cultura de discipulado en su parroquia. Me preguntó cómo hago eso. Le contesté que nos gusta enfocar principios, no balas de plata, y capacitar a un grupo de dirigentes en la parroquia para producir un cambio cultural al proyectar una visión, edificando un camino claro hacia el discipulado, movilizando a los líderes, y alineando ministerios claves con una visión orientada hacia el discipulado. Decayó su semblante. ¡Me preguntaba qué había hecho... Read more
Recently, at a conference for Catholic leaders, I was asked by a young priest what I do. I told him that I help parishes strategize around how to create a culture of discipleship in their parish. He asked me how I do that. I told him that we like to focus on principles, not silver bullets, and train a group of leaders in the parish to create culture change by casting vision, building a clear path to discipleship, mobilizing leaders, and aligning key ministries with a discipleship-oriented vision. His face fell. I wondered what I had said to offend him!... Read more
Evangelization is a primary function of Catholic schools. Although they provide quality education in a variety of subject areas, as agents of the Church, they share the larger mission of the Church: forming disciples of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools should and must be more than public schools that also happen to have religion classes. Speaking about the role of the Catholic school, the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis states, “But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according... Read more
At the beginning of my second year of teaching religion in a Catholic high school, I began prompting my students in each lesson with a question that helped them apply that lesson to their own life circumstances. One day, in the middle of a lesson on original sin, I asked the students to write a letter to Jesus telling him what the “forbidden fruit” was in their lives and asking his help to resist it. Because students knew I would be collecting and reading their responses, I did not anticipate anything very serious. I was surprised, therefore, when “Monica” wrote... Read more
By definition, Catholic schools are an extension of the Church’s saving mission of evangelization, with a special responsibility to provide “a privileged environment for the complete formation of her members” within that context. [1] That “complete formation” must have as its goal a lively and enlivening relationship with Christ specifically in the Eucharist, around which all apostolic work and even the other sacraments are centered ( CCC 1324 ). Turning that belief into practice is one of the most critical activities in which a Catholic school must engage if it is to fulfill its own identity within the larger context... Read more
What makes a school Catholic? Is a school Catholic because it exists with the permission of the bishop of the diocese, or it is a member of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), or it is an extension or an outreach of a parish community, or it has a crucifix in every classroom and religious artwork throughout the building, or because its curriculum includes religious studies, or because the pattern of its practices align with the National Standards and Benchmarks of Effective Catholic Schools , or because Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are celebrated for the student body during... Read more