Psalms to be focus May 5 when Cavins returns to diocese

Jeff Cavins is back.

For five years Cavins gave people throughout central Illinois a brand new way to study the Bible and savor Scripture with major presentations at the Diocesan Summer Institute. After two years away, he is returning on Saturday, May 5, to give an overview of a new Bible study, “Psalms: The School of Prayer.”

Scheduled for the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria, the day will begin with registration at 8 a.m. The seminar will follow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The psalms are like the rosary — very basic elements of a good prayer life,” said Dr. Vincent McClean, director of the diocesan Office of Catechetics, which is sponsoring the seminar.

The creator of The Great Adventure Bible Study System, Cavins serves as director of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute based in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to the foundational program, “The Bible Timeline,” he has presented overviews of studies on the Gospel of Matthew, the Acts of the Apostles, the Book of Revelation and First Corinthians in the Diocese of Peoria.

“The people of the Diocese of Peoria are amazing. They have a sincere passion for God, and a thirst to know him in his Word,” Cavins said. “I cannot wait to return this year to share with them the powerful insights of the Psalms . . . . Being able to unlock the mysteries of the Psalms is a key to understanding our Catholic faith.”

With “Psalms: The School of Prayer,” The Great Adventure moves from telling the story to making it personal and opening the way to an honest, intimate dialogue with God. Collaborating with Cavins on the 10-part study were Sarah Christmyer and Dr. Tim Gray.

“If our catechists walk away with some things in their hands that are essential to prayer life — like the rosary, like the psalms and the Eucharist — I think we’ve equipped them with some powerful tools not only for their personal spiritual lives but for their students,” McClean said.

Cavins returns to a reconfigured Diocesan Summer Institute, which has been broken into three parts.

“We are trying to create a continuing education program for the catechists and for the laity,” McClean explained. “Our idea is that it’s easier to focus on one event at a time rather than trying to have multiple events.”

Highlighting Cavins as the keynote speaker for the first of those events
offers “a better focus,” McClean told The Catholic Post.

The second event, which is now being called the Summer Institute, will take place on Saturday, June 9, and feature Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. He will talk to the catechists, directors of religious education and other interested lay people about “Evangelization and Catechesis: Keeping Christ at the Heart of Catholic Identity.”

McClean said Bishop Malone has agreed to be part of a panel discussion and expects some good interaction between the bishop and Summer Institute participants.

The daylong program will also be held at the Spalding Pastoral Center and run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What had been the training component of the Diocesan Summer Institute is planned for Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Spalding Pastoral Center. That conference will focus on curriculum guidelines developed by the Office of Catechetics and how they dovetail with materials being used in the parishes, McClean said.

“We’re working with them to improve their instructional methods, improve their content knowledge and to build up their self-confidence and understanding of how important this vocation is,” he said.

The cost for “Psalms: The School of Prayer” is $50, which includes seminar materials and lunch. Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is recommended in order to guarantee a seat and lunch.

Make checks payable to The Catholic Diocese of Peoria and send them with you name, address and phone number to Psalms Seminar, The Catholic Diocese of Peoria, 419 N.E. Madison Ave., Peoria, IL 61603.

The cost for the Summer Institute is also $50 and includes lecture materials and lunch. Registration is due by June 1 and may be made by sending the registration fee and your contact information to Roberta Gifford, Office of Catechetics, 419 N.E. Madison Ave., Peoria, IL 61603.

For more information on either event, contact Gifford by email at or by phone at (309) 671-1550.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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