More than 110 catechists from across the Diocese of Venice spent time during the summer earning basic certifications on topics including: “Scripture,” “Sacraments,” “Morality and Doctrine,” and “Methodology.”
These workshops, presented at 10 different Parishes in June and July were offered by the Diocesan Office of Religious Education through a partnership with Franciscan at Home. At each location there was a moderator who guided the group through the process of following the Franciscan at Home program which included instructional videos, as well as time for personal and small group discussion.
The group settings served to benefit everyone, as observed during one of the July 25, 2021 workshops on “Methodology” which took place at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. Participants reflected upon the entire summer series and praised the presentation of the work and the opportunity to learn as a group.
“This was very helpful,” said one participant who has been a catechist for more than 20 years. “I learned as much from the videos as from everyone else in the group. It provided me a new and exciting way to approach my students.”
Students covered the broader topics of the day in three one-hour session, breaking the programs broader topics into compressed, manageable parts while at the same time having the opportunity to learn and absorb the lessons in a more formal setting.
Sitting in for a portion of the final session at St. Joseph, their Pastor, Father Rafal Ligenza, praised the group for taking part in the workshops and their willingness to continue to learn the Faith. He expressed confidence in the long-term benefits to those in the Parish religious education programs.
“There is a saying in Poland about teaching,” Father said. “You teach Johnny so that you can form John. What you do will make a difference in the lives of your students whether they are small children in First Communion classes or participating in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). Thank you for what you do.”
Anne Chrzan, Diocesan Director of Religious Education, said the Franciscan at Home program helps catechists meet basic certification requirements. The four courses covered during the summer are just a few of the more than a dozen available to all catechists online. The summer offerings were made available in the classroom setting because there had been some hesitancy by some to participate online. Therefore, Chrzan, along with the directors of religious education from eight Parishes, created the four-session summer series.
The topics of “Scripture,” “Sacraments,” “Morality and Doctrine,” and “Methodology” were the focus of the summer sessions, but Chrzan said there are a dozen other Franciscan at Home classes available online. Given the success of the summer classes, it is likely that a similar program will be offered in the future.
“The response was overwhelmingly positive,” Chrzan said. “Not just from the people taking the classes but from the DRE (directors of religious education) who led these sessions.”
Chrzan explained that of the 1,000 or so catechists in the Diocese the Franciscan at Home program offers a quick and easy way to help educators to learn about and be grounded in the Faith. This serves as a foundation for their success, and the success of their students, moving forward.
The Parishes which hosted the summer Franciscan at Home program were St. Ann and St. John the Evangelist in Naples; Resurrection and St. Cecilia in Fort Myers; St. Katharine Drexel in Cape Coral; Sacred Heart in Punta Gorda; St. Thomas More and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Sarasota; as well as St. Joseph and Sacred Heart in Bradenton (in Spanish).
For more information about upcoming offerings from the Diocese Office of Religious Education, please contact Anne Chrzan at 941-484-9543 or email@example.com.