Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mom and Pop Theology

Saint Christopher Parish
Rev. Fr. Romeo Seleccion, MS
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

August 24, 2006

St. Christopher parish is blazing a new Faith Formation Trail. This year for the first time in the history of the Diocese of San Bernardino the Faith Formation Process of a parish has begun its new season with sessions for the parents of the children who are registered in the Faith Formation process, both for sacramental preparation and Christian Pursuit of Holiness. The participants and the Catechist Faculty are actually working as one to make it succeed.

For quite some time now Dr. Isabel Dion, D.Min, Director of Faith Formation at St. Christopher has been seeking ways to implement the pastoral letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Our Hearts were Burning within Us."

She started by holding discussion meetings about the letter with the Adult Faith Formation team that she formed. One of the fruits of that effort was the organization and operation of a one week symposium of presentations of Catholic Teachings just for adults during the last week of January, 2006. The success of that event spawned new ideas and new events, not the least of which is the one that has just begun.

In order to make this "Mom and Pop Theology" season a success, Dr. Dion shopped around for a well organized, solidly logical, systematic and comprehensive program of adult theology 101 themes. She spent many months, supported by her able staff, reviewing samples of programs that caught her attention. Finally, she and her staff decided to invite the Southern California salesperson, Peter Poppleton, of the Harcourt Publishing Company which publishes the program that most appealed to them all.

They invited the key catechists from the English speaking and the Spanish speaking teams to the Facilitators' Training Session presented by the Harcourt Sales representatives of Southern California. Everyone saw the potential of the source material that was presented. Dr. Dion then ordered more training kits for the parish, set up training sessions with the preferred Catechist Facilitators, worked on the schedule and implemented the program with which everyone agreed.

You can perhaps imagine the reaction of the parents who came in to register their children for the Faith Formation Process when they heard that THEY had seven sessions of simple theology to experience before their children would start to attend.

Some were shocked. Many (anecdotally, most) were happy. Finally, someone was paying attention to them. Some had forgotten that just seven short months before, they had been told by their children, "Dr. Dion says that this week, you have to go to Faith Formation."

So now, we have begun. We have 1,400 children registered in the Faith Formation Program. We estimate that we have about 850 families represented in this number.

In the first week of these parents’ sessions, the program generated more than 400 parent attendees. Each day represents between 4 to 6 meetings, 20 to 60 people. Each session is 90 minutes. We start on time and we quit on time. Cookies and crackers and a simple beverage are available for strength restoration along the way.

We practice "Adultagogy" and the give-and-take is spirited. The source material that we have is conducive to interactivity. We have seven topics (one per week) which we tried to construct as an overview of what the children will be exposed to over the rest of the year. Some of the topics will be repeated during our January week of Adult Faith Formation sessions.

We thank the Lord for His initial blessings. We trust that He will continue to inspire the Chosen People of St. Christopher to continue their dedication to the Pursuit of Holiness that they have begun.

We are thankful to the Catechists who are faithful and dedicate and commit themselves to this Growing Faith Experience. We are also grateful to the Youth Community of the parish under the direction of Terry Rodriguez, Youth Coordinator, for providing the baby-sitting services.

Six more weeks to go. May God continue to bless us.

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