One Catholic 'Ohana
For over thirty years the Catholic Church has offered a comprehensive and compelling vision of faith formation and learning – lifelong, for all ages and generations, rooted in the life of the Church. The wonderful image of catechesis from the General Directory for Catechesis- “the model for all catechesis is the baptismal catechumenate” (GDC#59) reflects and approach to faith formation and learning that immerses people into the life of the church.
Catechesis across the United States is still struggling under the burden of an outdated model of faith formation and has created more problems than it has solved. Last year, St. Michael’s embraced the vision of faith formation in the General Directory of Catechesis by moving away from the schooling paradigm to a community or “whole church” model of faith formation called Intergenerational Family Catechesis. In 2009, St. Michael’s building on last year’s model, introduced Generations of Faith. We call this model Generations of Faith.
The goals of Generations of Faith are to accomplish the following:
- Move from a focus of children only by implementing lifelong formation for all ages, including and especially adults.
- End “start and stop” catechesis by implementing lifelong and continuous faith formation through involvement in the events of church life.
- Overcome age segregation by continuing intergenerational faith formation, making connections among the generations in learning programs and parish involvement.
- Move beyond the focus of “textbook as the curriculum” for all ages and generations.
- Change the attitude of blaming families for our current situation by nurturing family faith at home as integral to faith formation.
- Change the practice of catechesis as a separate “program” by implementing a collaborative process that involves all the parish’s ministries in faith formation and vies catechesis in connection with liturgy, sacraments, justice and service, and prayer.
Generations of Faith, as our process of faith formation at St. Michael’s is event-centered. The lifelong curriculum and individual learning experiences are developed around the events of our shared life as church: Church Year feasts and seasons, sacraments and liturgy, prayer and spirituality, justice and service, and community life. We can discern distinct patterns of events in the life of our community around which we structure our learning. They are predictable from year to year. These patterns of events provide a regular ordering of church life.
Generations of Faith is formed around the natural pattern of the faith community’ s life as experienced throughout the year. The events form a spiral that immerses people more deeply each year into the faith of Christ. It takes years to immerse people into their meaning and practice.
The Generations of Faith curriculum for faith formation is a multiyear plan of events. It is set on a six year cycle. The lifelong curriculum of church events presents the Gospel message and Catholic tradition the following six major content areas:
Church Year Feast and Seasons: “The history of salvation, recounting the ‘marvels’ of God, what He has done, continues to do and will do for us in the future for us is organized in reference to Jesus Christ, the ‘center of salvation history.’”(GDC #115)
Sacraments: The sacraments spring from the paschal mystery of Christ. They are also a whole. They form ‘an organic whole in which each particular sacrament has its own vital place.’ In this whole, the Holy Eucharist occupies a unique place to which all of the other sacraments are ordained. The Eucharist is presented as the ‘sacrament of sacraments.’(GDC #115)
Justice and Service: “Jesus in announcing the Kingdom, proclaims the justice of god. He proclaims the justice of god and our responsibility…The call to conversion and belief in the Gospel of the Kingdom- a kingdom of justice, love and peace and in whose light we shall be judged-is fundamental for catechesis.”(GDC #102)
Prayer and Spirituality: “The Our Father gathers up the essence of the Gospel. It synthesizes and hierarchically structures the immense riches of prayer contained in Sacred Scripture and in all of the Church’s life.” (GDC# 115)
Creed: “The Apostles Creed demonstrates how the church has always desired to present the Christian mystery in a vital synthesis. This creed is a synthesis of and a key to reading all the church’s doctrine, which is hierarchically ordered around it.” (GDC #115)
Morality: The double commandment of love of God and neighbor is- in the moral message- a hierarchy of values which Jesus himself established.’ On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Mt. 22:40). The love of God and neighbor, which sum up the Decalogue, are lived in the spirit of the Beatitudes and constitute the magna carta of the Christian life proclaimed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, (GDC #115)
Each time we gather as a community to celebrate Generations of Faith, we prepare, engage and reflect on the event. Preparation empowers us to participate meaningfully in the event. It provides the learning experiences and activities that help us learn what we need to know and be able to participate fully. Preparation programs are designed to help people of all ages to know what, why and how. Engagement is the heart of the learning experience. By participating in the learning experience, hearts and lives can be changed. Reflection helps people share, assess the significance, apply the meaning, and report.
Generations of Faith gatherings are for all families. It is the official faith formation program of St. Michael’s Parish. The gatherings would normally be once a month for 8 months but because of our logistics, we are meeting 5 times during the year. This year’s events are based on the theme of Justice and Service and are scheduled for October, December, February, March, and May.
Generations of Faith celebrations begin with a simple meal.As always, we are fed and then we are sent. We gather in our tent for prayer and introduction to the theme after which the age-related activities occur. Groups are divided into the following: Pre-school; children from grades 1 thorough 5 with parents; middle school; teens; young adults; adults. After these activities, the large group assembles in the tent for reflection, sharing, and closing prayer.
Each Generations of Faith event is 3 hours long. That adds up to only 12 hours of faith formation in a year. However, each family receives a homekit with activities and reading materials in order to help them continue the process in the home. We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children when it comes to forming them in their faith. Generations of Faith provides parents only with the tools for what takes place in home.
There are three groups having sacramental preparation in addition to their participation in Generations of Faith. They are the First and Second Year Confirmation Groups and those preparing for First Communion.
As a parish we live, work and worship as Generations of Faith. We invite all to come and see; come and experience the joy of community with us. If you have questions about Generations of Faith, call the office at 808-326-7771.
General Directory for Catechesis USCCB, 1997
The Center for Ministry Development
Generations of Faith Resource Manual by John Roberto, 2005
by Cynthia Miller, Pastoral Associate
Please note that this website is no longer the official site of St. Michael the Archangel Church. I will continue to maintain this site to share information from my parish, to support our capital campaign, up-to-date info on our Youth Ministry, and most importantly, share and spread the good news.
The articles here are from the archived pages, and because the old site had so many informative pages, I've decided to re-publish some of them. The views expressed in this page are (mostly) mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of St. Michael the Archangel Church (Kailua-Kona). Some sections are taken from projects I'm currently working on (capital campaign) with Fr. Lio, our Pastor.
Special "Mahalo" to Tony Ambut, who are still willing to provide captivating photos of our parish life. To Kristen Kam and Allie Bennett-Moran for the current construction photos. They are amazing!
The following social media outless were established to enhanced the multimedia experience and complement the website:
So remember, "Like" One Catholic 'Ohana" on Facebook for daily reflection and current parish activities, view parish life photos on Google+ Photos, and finally, go to our YouTube channel to watch our Youth Group share their talents and do community service projects - all for the glory of God.
Mahalo and God Bless,
Walter N. Bacxa
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