The Journey So Far
Where We’ve Been and Where We are Going
Source Book on Adolescent Catechesis, Volume 1
To begin the conversation on adolescent catechesis in the United States, the PAC published the first volume in a series entitles Source Book on Adolescent Catechesis. This volume contained background articles by Maura Hagarty Thompson, Dan Mulhall, and Jeffery Kaster, contextualizing articles by Michael Theisen, Laura Henning, Bill Dinges, Fr. Michael Lee, and reflections by Michael Warren and Michael Horan. These are now available for free download on this site.
National Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis
The four day National Symposium was held near Baltimore in Linthicum Heights, MD in November, 2008 and served as the second step in a seven year National Initiative facilitated by the Partnership for Adolescent Catechesis, a collective effort by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, the National Catholic Educational Association, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, with support from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Symposium began with a provoking question: “What is necessary for effective adolescent catechesis in the Catholic Church given the current and emerging environments in the United States?” It was hoped that the answers would serve to break free the dam and allow the living waters of adolescent catechesis to flow in new and necessary ways throughout this country.
The one hundred and eighteen academicians, practitioners, and national leaders attending the National Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis proved to be an impressive think tank. Together they represented fifteen national organizations, ten universities, seven publishers, and numerous parishes, schools, diocesan officials and bishops from over thirty-five dioceses. During the Symposium, participants heard from experts in adolescents and catechesis as well as reflections on those practicing in the field and even of young people themselves through video interviews and a live “fish bowl” session. Symposium participants joined in table groups for facilitated discussions covering issues such as the critical cultural realities facing young people, outcomes of effective catechesis, characteristics of the formative community, systems and approaches of catechesis, and emerging directions.
Virtual Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis
In the course of planning the National Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis members of the PAC received many calls from people who were interested in the process and wanted to participate. Desiring to respond to their interest, the PAC envisioned a Virtual Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis that would be available on-line for any interested group.
Providentially, a new Catholic media initiative, MyCatholicVoice.com, approached one of our member organizations in regard to a completely different project. Through this discussion it was realized that MyCatholicVoice.com was the perfect fit for our needs. They graciously agreed to design and host the Virtual Symposium online at no cost to the PAC.
Participants in the Virtual Symposium are encouraged to go through a guided process which includes pre-reading and reflection, watching Symposium videos, and discussing pertinent questions. At the end of their local Symposiums, they are able to submit their thoughts and insights to NIAC via an online survey or mail-in form.
December 2008 through July 2009
Initiative Groups Meet to Write White Papers
Seven initiatives arose from the National Symposium. These were advocacy, cultural considerations, formation and training, models and methodologies, parent engagement, research, and resources. Symposium participants met via conference call to discuss the issues regarding these areas and propose practical tasks to address the issues. The result of these conversations were the seven White Papers which the PAC used to develop the strategic directions of the National Initiative on Adolescent Catechesis.
Vision and Outcomes Statement
A sub-group of the “Models and Methodologies” initiative group worked over several weeks to develop a vision and outcomes statement that would be used as a lens through which the rest of the initiatives would be seen. This statement had to be grounded in the vision of catechesis as articulated by the Church and the US Catholic Bishops and also had to reflect the diverse realities in which our young people live. A copy of this document is available here.
Source Book on Adolescent Catechesis, Volume Two
The second book in the series contains the papers presented at the National Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis. The articles contained in Volume Two are not only informative, but also challenging and inspiring. Authors include: Bishop Richard Malone, Michael Horan, Fr. Allan Deck, SJ, Tom Groome, Tom East, Tim O’Malley, and Sean Reynolds. Volume Two also includes an outline for implementing a Virtual Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis in your parish, school, or diocese. These articles are also free to download on this site.