July 8, 2008

Faith Formation Update is a free monthly
e-newsletter for catechetical leaders with a focus on parish
catechesis beyond textbooks and classrooms. We are in catechetical
hiatus. This is the season for restoration and renewal. Faith
Formation Update
invites you to consider summer playtime as your
holy cause. We offer some thoughts on the call to restore yourself
by enjoying a few playful endeavors. Share your views and program
ideas about this month’s topic on our online bulletin board,
Faith Formation Forum.”

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Up, Up and Away
– Play Is Holy



representatives of the Church, we catechists must walk the fine line
of speaking for the Church and honoring our own beliefs about
contemporary issues. The last decade of the Church’s story has been
filled with controversy and negative press. What the Catholic Church
needs now more than ever is hope and encouragement. The catechist
can be that vehicle of grace. The manner in which we teach and pray
can offer that hope. It is time to see the positive grace of Church,
to teach with an eye for what is good rather than with a focus on
the Church’s failures. It is also a time for that spirit of
Pentecost to encourage and build up this Church. Jesus promised that
we would always be accompanied by the Holy Spirit. As we teach, it
is important to pass on the message of Christ as a living, hopeful
message that cannot be overcome by the darkness.








The Greeks
have a word for the balance of body, mind and soul: arête.
Achieving arête is the homework for every catechist this summer.
While most of us are adept at one or the other parts of our self—we
may easily find time to pray, sort out our issues or exercise—to
keep all three in good balance requires discipline and mindfulness.
This summer break is the perfect time to devote to a bit of body,
mind and spirit work.

In a profound sense this
connection can be called dancing with the divine. Susan Saint Sing,
a member of the U.S World Rowing team, writes of this balance in her
book Spirituality of Sport: Balancing Body and
: “A child at play is in
touch with the purest essence of the energy of God…an athlete in
touch with an inner core of peace and strength has an advantage by
tapping into the energy of the universe—the playfulness of God.”
This connection is at the heart of all sport, play, dance and
competition. It has a restorative effect. Many athletes believe they
are most closely present to God in the activity of their
As we look forward to this
summer’s Olympics, I encourage you to engage your body in some
energetic play. Arête is a balm for the spirit of a weary catechist.
Walk, swim, dance and play with gusto. Saint Sing says, “To know
that we are…more than just body is a gift. To know that we are body
and soul is to live in the hope and the fact of the Resurrection.”
Summer’s grace is leisure. Summer’s hope is personal





Media Resource
for Holy Play


and “In the Good Old Summertime.” What other songs that speak of the
ease and fun of summer come to mind?
The summer months invite us
to adopt a slower pace, to take a break from the breakneck speed of
our work and play a little bit.

Yet it’s difficult for some
of us to play, especially when there are so many important things
that need to be done. And sometimes we’re convinced that we’re the
only ones who can do things right.
As catechetical leaders,
spouses, parents, members of religious communities, etc., we carry a
lot of responsibilities. Yet we never have to carry any load alone.
That is a key message of our Christian faith—one that we work so
hard to convey to others through our ministry.
Franciscan Father Richard
Rohr has something to say to those of us who find ourselves in the
trap of trying to earn our salvation, who sometimes forget that
grace is a gift. He reminds us that surrender is critical to our
growth in relationship with God. It’s part of discovering “the true
way of spirituality, the true way of wisdom.” Click here (Windows Media |
RealMedia) to listen to
a selection I’ve chosen for you from Father Rohr’s audio
presentation, Letting
Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction
Use this for your summer
“reading.” Share it with others who are also seeking better balance
in their lives. Give yourself time and permission to rest in God,
trust in God, enjoy the awesome gift of your life. In the long run,
it’s likely the most crucial thing on your summer “to do” list.
Don’t waste any more time. Begin right now.






A Season of New Beginnings



Summertime is
always such a hopeful time, with all the celebrations of graduations
and—most especially—weddings. With all the smiling faces, words of
encouragement and congratulations, and all the new beginnings, you
can’t help but feel good about the prospects for success and
happiness in abundance. But once the “new” wears off, the reality
can often be daunting. 
One area that is often
overlooked until later in a relationship is how the individuals
involved in a marriage relate to their faith. Two books from St.
Anthony Messenger Press take an eye-opening look at this reality.
Father Bob Hater’s book, When
a Catholic Marries a Non-Catholic
, explores the challenges
that spouses share when one of them comes from another Christian
denomination, another faith or no faith at all. Father Hater offers
helpful insights for those couples who are confronting these
challenges in their own marriage. 
But what about the believer
whose spouse doesn’t share the other’s appreciation for faith and
religion in his or her life? Together
But Alone: When God Means Something Different to Your
, by Donna Erickson Couch, helps you take an honest
look at this trying situation. With practical suggestions about how
to compromise about expressions of faith, resolve scheduling
conflicts and talk about spiritual issues that may separate spouses,
this book can be extremely helpful.
A reminder: A complete list
of suggested resources for the Year of Paul can be found in our
special resources for the Year of Paul
in our online catalog. Take a
look at what we have to offer. 




Faith Formation



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on adult faith formation at our online bulletin board.
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from others’ ideas. Submit your ideas by clicking here.





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