What makes a catechist like yourself effective? Obviously there is no one correct answer. Of course, a basic knowledge of the traditional content of our faith and of sacred Scripture is an important and necessary prerequisite. My intention here, however, is to go beyond these basics to point you in the direction of enjoying your relationship with God and walking with others as they too enjoy God in ever more creative ways (and often in ways that are different from your own).
For thirty-five years the ministry of catechetics has formed the context of my life: as college instructor, catechist, administrator, consultant, and author. It has been an exciting trip from pre-Vatican II updated versions of the Baltimore Catechism to the creative and highly effective curricula and resources of today.
What has sustained me during all these years is the exciting presence of the mystery we so glibly call God. I have learned that it is important to search for God in creative ways, to enjoy God in multi-dimensional experiences, and then to share what I enjoy through creative teaching. I have also learned that it is important to stay close to earth—to all of creation—because this is where we find mystery; this is where we live.
This oneness with creation lies at the heart of our Catholic Christian faith, our sacraments and our popular traditions. After all, our God “became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14).
I invite you to allow the themes of mystery-presence and closeness to creation to come alive in your teaching in creative ways. Let them give rise to a wholistic spirituality that can ground your faith as well as the faith of the youngest child and oldest parishioner. —Greg Dues, 1999
1. Let God Surprise You . . . 7
2. Interpret Your Experiences. . . 11
3. Discover God’s Dream for You. . . . 15
4. Enjoy God in Your Catholic Traditions. . . 19
5. Identify Your Sacred Time & Space. . . 24
6. Use Your Imagination. . . 28
7. Stay in Touch with Ritual. . . 31
8. Teach the Path of Prayer. . . 36
9. Be Confident & Enthusiastic. . . . 41
Through the Year with Matthew’s Gospel: Lectionary Year A (2017) by Steve Mueller
Here is your chance to deepen your faith this coming year (2017) through a richer knowledge of Matthew’s Gospel, the primary Lectionary readings for Sunday Mass. This handy 40 page booklet in digital (PDF) format is ideal for downloading to your computer, iPad, Kindle, etc. It has several resources that will help you become a more knowledgeable reader of Matthew’s Gospel and share what you learn with others. This clear and easy-to-read booklet contains:
An Overview of Matthew’s Gospel: A Handbook for Disciplizing All Nations This section gives you the basic background information about Matthew’s Gospel: author, audience, the original situation that inspired Matthew to write his Gospel, its structure and style, relation to the other Gospels, Matthew’s distinctive portrait of Jesus and of Christian discipleship (including An Outline of Matthew’s Gospel and Pope Francis’s Advice for Encountering the Biblical Text).
A Brief Reading Guide to Matthew’s Story of Jesus This section offers a basic guide to help you read Matthew’s Gospel for yourself, taking you through the Gospel section by section and indicating how Matthew is developing his version of the story of Jesus and its meaning for us who desire to be his disciples.
The Gospel Is for Sharing: Resources for Sharing the Gospel Message This section provides concrete helps about how to go about sharing what you are learning with your own household members or with a faith-sharing or a Bible study group by using a method based on the fourfold eucharistic pattern: Take, Bless, Break, Share (including Some Basic Questions for Exploring Any Scripture Passage that can stimulate both personal reflection or group discussion).
Questions for Personal Reflection and/or Group Sharing In this section there are a series of questions about Matthew’s Gospel to use either for personal reflection or as the starting point for a group discussion in your household or with a faith sharing or a Bible study group. They should be helpful for:
all adults desiring to get more from hearing the Sunday Gospels for this coming liturgical year
catechists in their catechetical ministries or in training
adults in families or in faith-sharing or Bible study groups
those investigating the Christian faith for the first time or catechumens in the RCIA
inquisitive young adults in college or high school
Matthew’s Gospel in the Lectionary: Year A—2017 This section contains a brief explanation of the structure and content of the Church’s Lectionary for Sunday and a list of the Lectionary readings from Matthew’s Gospel with dates for 2017.
Through Holy Week with Matthew: A Journey to the Heart of Our Faith This section outlines a plan for setting aside time each day during Holy Week to read and reflect on Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection (chapters 21–28).
Looking for short, to the point, excellent and free resource for encouraging catechists to the read the Bible. Check out Reading the Bible: The Journey that Will Change Your Life. This handy booklet encourages you to overcome your fears and choose this special biblical trip from among the many possible ways you can spend your time. Download this free resource and complete the Catechist’s Learning Page for two (2) hours of certification credit.
To receive your free copy, email eCatechist@gmail.com. You will receive your copy within two business days. Thank you.
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Wolfe’s explorations are located in the sometimes fraught, always fruitful intersection of art and faith—with a profound openness to divine mystery. “Mystery lies in the borderland between the knowable and the unknowable,” Wolfe writes. These essays cover a wide range of topics and engage the work of many artists and writers, from C.S. Lewis to Ingmar Bergman to Christopher Hitchens. Whether his subject is ancient cave painting, the writing of Samuel Johnson, Andrei Tarkovsky’s filmography, or childhood asthma, he strides toward this “borderland” and shows us it is teeming with life.
If you are looking for a painless way to boost your spiritual energy, you might consider the handy little booklet from All Saints Press called Words of Grace.
A quarterly booklet of Daily Reflections and Prayers for Catholics, it connects the daily Scripture readings from the Mass with the treasury of wisdom found in the Church’s rich spiritual tradition.
Besides offering a brief daily reflection related to the Mass readings with a thought-provoking prayer or discussion starter question, this easy-to-use booklet also offers a variety of other engaging daily features such as Bible backgrounds explaining aspects of the readings, what happened on this day in catholic history, quotations offering food for thought, occasional prayers from the saints, and brief explanations of various terms related to Catholic liturgy, theology and spirituality.
It is a helpful resource for anyone looking to deepen his or her spiritual life. It is especially helpful for catechists, parish ministers, lectors and prayer groups. Another neat thing is that its convenient 4 by 6 inch size makes it fit easily into your pocket, purse or car so you can use it anywhere or anytime.
Available September 2016
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So What’s the Good News? The Catechist’s Guide to Reading the Gospels
The aim of this book is to help you read more competently and so experience more richly the four New Testament Gospels as the original and still most helpful catechetical resources we have for deepening our relationship with Jesus and growing in our understanding of our Christian beliefs and practice.
Part 1, God’s Good News, provides some necessary background material about the New Testament social world that will allow you to understand better the historical situation in which the Gospels were composed and what the authors were trying to accomplish through their different versions of God’s Good News.
Part 2, The Good News in Four Versions, offers a brief reading guide to each of the Gospels that will help you to become familiar with each author’s story of Jesus and his Good News of our salvation.
Part 3, The Good News that Stays News, suggests several helpful resources that will help you use the Gospels for
Steve Mueller, PhD, author of the five books in The Catechist’s Guide reading series from Faith Alive Books, has taught Philosophy, Theology, Scripture and Catholic Studies. He helped develop and taught for many years in the renowned Denver Catholic Biblical School and was formerly editor-in-chief of the monthly periodical for Eucharistic spirituality Living with Christ and a managing editor for Morehouse Education Resources for lectionary-based catechesis and sacramental preparation. He is the current editor for Words of Grace: Daily Reflections & Prayers for Catholics for All Saints Press (www.AllSaintsPress.com).
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Do you want to know what the Bible is? How to read it? What Catholics believe about it? In a simple, accessible style, Steve Mueller addresses many of the problems and concerns that catechists, parents and adult learners commonly face as they begin their journey of faith through Scripture. This guide is perfect for those who are new to Bible study as well as for those who want to increase their knowledge of the Bible.
Steve Mueller, PhD has taught Philosophy, Theology, Scripture and Catholic Studies, and helped develop and taught for many years in the renowned Denver Catholic Biblical School. He was formerly editor-in-chief of the monthly periodical for Eucharistic Spirituality Living with Christ and a managing editor for Morehouse Education Resources. He is the current editor for Words of Grace: Daily Reflections & Prayers for Catholics for All Saints Press (www.AllSaintsPress.com)
Reading Your Bible is a magnificent resource and guide for all catechetical ministers who desire to come to know, understand and deepen their familiarity with God's Word in history and in mystery. It is certain to enrich, broaden and transform our catechetical initiatives.
-Edith Prendergast, RSC,
Director Religious Ed., Archdiocese Los Angeles
Concise and comprehensive, this book can go a long way toward taking away fear of the Bible and educating every reader to a deeper, more accurate and less naive reading of the Scriptures. Catechists and many others will love this book.
-Frank DeSiano, CSP
Paulist Evangelization Ministries, Washington, DC
Every parish catechist should have this excellent practical guide to discover Jesus more deeply by approaching the Bible without fear. Through a process of discovery, planned reading and small-group sharing, both beginning and experienced catechists can develop a deeper understanding of the richness of Scripture.
Catechetical Associate, Diocese of Joliet
The Catechist’s Guide to Reading Your Bible: A Catholic View by Steve Mueller is really not just for catechists involved in faith formation programs.
Any adult would find this book to be a valuable resource to have on the shelf. As the book itself states in the opening pages, we are all catechists in that we share our faith with others.
It is a comprehensive guide, peppered with marvelous quotes from saints and Church documents. Anyone who has tried to buy a Bible and has been confused by all the different options will love the clear guide provided in the section on Bible translations.
There are many books that assist in reading specific books of the Bible, but this book focuses instead on an overview with lots of references if you want to explore more.
Questions for discussion are included with each chapter so if you are organizing a faith formation program in your parish and wish to use this book for catechist formation, you will be pleased.
Pope Francis has been encouraging all Catholics to read Scripture and become more familiar with God’s word. This book will get you well underway.
Mary Lemire-Campion, Pastoral Associate for Lifelong Faith Formation, St. Agatha Parish, Archdiocese of Boston
The Catechist’s Guide to Reading Your Bible: A Catholic View by Steve Mueller carves a straightforward and easy path for the first time reader to the seasoned disciple. It offers readers courage to journey into the Bible, prepares them for the journey, and ultimately makes the most of their Bible reading within their own personal and unique spiritual paths.
Mueller provides quotes from saints, popes, theologians, and Catholic Church documents to guide and strengthen the reader in knowledge about the Bible. It is thoughtfully organized and visually appealing. It includes charts and directives that are great tools that provide simple direction and insights into the content of the Bible, how to get the most out of your Bible reading, and ways to bring the Living Word of God alive in your life!
In the Women of the Word (WOW), a small Christian Community that I lead at my parish, we began reading this book a few weeks ago. The reflections and questions at the end of each chapter have prompted great conversations among our multi-generational group of women who range in age from early 20’s to the 70’s. It has helped us find new meaning within the Bible, and apply this to our mission of being Christ to our families, Church, and world.
Some of the women from WOW, including myself, are catechists at our parish. The Diocese of Grand Rapids has approved six (6) clock hours of credit in area of professional theology for the reading of this book and filling out the Catechist’s Learning Page from the back of the book for each chapter.
As a busy wife and mother this has been a great way to earn certification credit from the comfort of my own home, with little financial cost, or time away from my family.
The Catechist’s Guide to Reading Your Bible has provided me new insights, deepened my faith, and enriched my life profoundly. I am excited to be sharing it with my friends and I hope you will consider reading this book and sharing it with those in your own faith communities!
Carla Niziolek is a member of Our Lady of Lake Parish in Holland, MI where she serves in roles of catechist for the youth and RCIA, violinist in the music ministry, and facilitator of Women of the Word (WOW) a weekly book and Bible study. In the spring of 2016 she completed studies in Theology from Catholic Distance University and earned a Master Catechist Certification through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Carla is a wife and mother of five children who has a passion for reading, learning, and growing in faith and ministry.
Carla converted to the Catholic Church as a teenager and her conversion story was recently published in Our Sunday Visitor.
Many of us are familiar with the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. But what do they mean for us? Fr. Max Oliva shares stories and insights from decades of ministry around the globe with people whose lives are enriched by giving and accepting mercy. Each chapter contains questions for reflection and discussion to help us discern how God, the source of mercy, calls us to extend mercy to others, to his own creation, and especially to ourselves. Even the smallest works of mercy, says Fr. Oliva, are graced experiences of God alive within us.
"A nice collection of Biblical, literary and personal stories reaffirming our commitment in becoming people of mercy.
"Becoming a Person a Mercy is an ideal selection for a parish-wide reads programs, inviting folks to come together for discussion and faith-sharing." Dan Pierson
Hope for Common Ground: Mediating the Personal and the Political in a Divided Church
Julie Hanlon Rubio
Georgetown University Press
In Hope for Common Ground, Rubio draws on Catholic Social Thought to explore ways to bring Catholics together. Despite their differences, Catholics across the political spectrum can share responsibility for social sin and work within communities to contribute to social progress.
Rubio expands this common space into in-depth discussions on family fragility, poverty, abortion, and end-of-life care. These four issues, though divisive, are part of a seamless worldview that holds all human life as sacred.
Hope for Common Ground is an ideal book for parish adult faith formation that may include book discussions and presentations on the themes of the book.
Through dialogue and understanding Catholics and people of all faiths can come together to explore ways that will lead to faithful citizenship and personal responsibility as they live out the Catholic social virtue as presented by the Catholic Church and Pope Francis.
For more information: Georgetown University Press
First published in 1979, this groundbreaking book established Edward Hays as a pioneering spiritual writer and teacher, and has since sold over 150,000 copies. This new edition with a new preface by the author celebrates the "domestic church"—a family worshiping together at home—with a collection of prayers and blessings that remain as fresh and creative today as they were over twenty-five years ago.
Ed Hays website
The purpose of the Augustine's Confessions Mobile App is to serve as an annotated interactive sourcebook based on the Boulding translation of the 13 books of St. Augustine's Confessions.
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The heart of Christianity is not a body of teachings but a magnetic personality whose lure is simply that of holiness—the right relationship with God and others. Thus the most challenging question each Christian has to face is that asked by Jesus: Who do you say that I am? To help answer this life-changing question, this book first situates Jesus in his first-century environment and then considers the important relationships that reveal Jesus’ identity as the human son of Mary and Joseph, the Israelite son of Abraham and son of David, the messianic son of Man and the unique son of God. Then the focus shifts to his public ministry, first examining Jesus’ goal of proclaiming God’s forthcoming kingdom and the tasks, roles and strategies he adopted to achieve it, and then the significance of his suffering, death and resurrection. Finally, we explore the application of what we have learned to becoming Christ’s followers today. Included also are some suggested resources for further study of the Gospels and some questions to use for either personal reflection or small group discussion.
Steve Mueller, PhD author of The Catechist’s Guide to Reading Your Bible, A Catholic View (Faith Alive Books, 2014) has taught Philosophy, Theology, Scripture and Catholic Studies, and helped develop and taught for many years in the renowned Denver Catholic Biblical School. He was formerly editor-in-chief of the monthly periodical for Eucharistic Spirituality Living with Christ and a managing editor for Morehouse Education Resources. He is the current editor for Words of Grace: Daily Reflections & Prayers for Catholics for All Saints Press (www.AllSaintsPress.com).
The Catechist’s Guide to Jesus in the Gospels is a rich, relevant and accessible resource for those in their catechetical ministry, as well as those simply seeking to grow in their faith, understanding of the Gospels and relationship with Jesus Christ. Mueller takes the reader on a journey that facilitates an encounter with Jesus by inviting the reader to encounter Christ not only in his lifetime but here and now, in our culture and in our ministry contexts today. Thus he honors the catechetical approach as one that through content and community seeks to nurture relationship with Jesus Christ.
—Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catechesis and Evangelization &
Faculty Coordinator of Distance Learning Systems, Loyola Institute for Ministry
Steve Mueller takes us not only to the world of Jesus, but to that of the Gospel writers and their first readers. Such a thoroughly researched and clearly organized book will surely be a valuable reference for religious educators and anyone looking to develop both their knowledge of and their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Religion Faculty, Boston College High School & Spiritual Writer at margaretfelice.com
During Lent we are surrounded by visual reminders of Jesus' last hours. In Stations of the Cross, renowned author and spiritual master Timothy Radcliffe, OP, offers readers a thoughtful meditation on this powerful devotion. Through word and image Radcliffe offers a profound experience of reflecting on the Stations of the Cross that is both visually and spiritually inspiring. With each reflection, he draws from stunning art commissioned by award-winning liturgical artist Martin Erspamer, OSB.