‘Let My People Come’ series: continuing ed for catechists

By: By Jennifer Willems

You don’t have to wait for the Diocesan Summer Institute next June to learn more about sacramental preparation, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or your Catholic faith in general. In fact, Dr. Vincent McClean hopes you won’t.

The director of the diocesan Office of Catechetics, McClean has been working with the six regional directors of religious education and priests of the Diocese of Peoria to plan a new round of continuing education programs in the “Let My People Come” series. It started earlier this month and will continue through next October.

“What we’ve done is establish six events in each of the six regions of the diocese,” he explained. “Each area will have three presentations on either a doctrine, a devotion or sacramental preparation.”

In addition to these presentations, McClean said there would be open discussions focused specifically on preparation for confirmation, reconciliation and first Communion, and the RCIA.

“What we want to get out of those discussions is best practices,” he told The Catholic Post. “We’re not trying to pull things together so we can regiment everybody, but share ideas so that the best programs can be offered.”

The goal is to produce a brochure recommending essential elements for sacramental preparation and RCIA, listing the best practices surfaced during the open discussions, and offering resources, McClean said.

Among those resources are DVDs by Father Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, on the Eucharist, the call to holiness, and theological questions and answers. His newest resource is a series on Catholicism that “seeks to explore, through a global journey, the living culture of the Catholic church” and the first episode will be part of “Let My People Come.”

Father Barron will be one of the featured speakers at the Diocesan Summer Institute in 2011.

Eventually the Office of Catechetics will be providing workshops about the new Roman Missal, McClean added. “All of those things are in the works.”

Everyone is invited to participate in “Let My People Come” programs and there is no charge to attend.

The Catholic Post will publish a list of those programs on a quarterly basis. Following is information about the programs offered in October, November and December:

— Saturday, Oct. 30, 9:30 a.m., St. Mary’s Church, 410 W. Central Blvd., Kewanee. The topic is preparing parents for their child’s First Communion, and organizing a parent meeting and a roundtable discussion of the materials and activities that are available for the parents.

— Saturday, Nov. 6, 9 a.m., St. Malachy’s Church, 595 E. Ogden Ave. This will be a roundtable discussion of methods for catechizing junior high students who haven’t attended faith formation classes or received sacraments.

— Monday, Nov. 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Epiphany Church, 1006 E. College Ave., Normal. The first episode of Father Barron’s Catholicism series will be presented.

— Thursday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m., Immaculate Conception Church, 415 N. High St., Lacon. A simple soup supper will be followed by a video presentation of Father Barron’s “Seven Lively Virtues.”

— Tuesday, Dec. 7, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., St. Patrick’s Church of Merna, 1001 N. Towanda Barnes Road, Bloomington. This session will be devoted to an RCIA roundtable discussion.

— Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Holy Cross Church (mezzanine), 405 W. Clark St., Champaign. An RCIA roundtable discussion is planned.

For more information on these or any session in the “Let My People Come” series, call the Office of Catechetics at (309) 671-1550.

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