Parish Sacrament Team: Forming catechetical leaders

April 30, 2013

HOUSTON — The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis (OEC) serves the Archdiocese in directing and moderating the evangelizing and catechetical activity of Galveston-Houston in order to draw people into a deeper communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ. Included in the office is the Parish Sacrament Team Formation ministry.

According to Juan Carlos Moreno, associate director with OEC, the ministry offers a variety of formation programs to develop catechists, Catholic school religion teachers, directors of religious education, coordinators of religious education and adult faith formation directors and teams.
“This year, our flagship formation program — Formation Toward Christian Ministry — will expand to offer online sessions through the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation,” Moreno said. “This will offer another venue for formation available anytime via the Internet.”

Moreno said the ministry offers a full range of services to assist the catechetical mission of the Archdiocese.

“We provide guidance in textbook selection, sacramental preparation, ministry with persons with disabilities, family catechesis, ethnic catechesis and much more,” he said. “The office works in cooperation with other Archdiocesan offices to develop sacramental norms and guidelines. (We) worked to develop the Catechetical Framework for Life-Long Formation, which was previewed to parish and school leaders earlier this year, and will be soon promulgated by (Daniel) Cardinal DiNardo.”

Throughout the year the ministry hosts special events for training, including catechist days, retreat days, professional growth days and adult formation training.

“In these offerings, we train catechists and parish catechetical leaders to support them and assist them in their ministries, in addition to adult learners from varied backgrounds,” Moreno said.

Other ministries in OEC include:
• Formation Toward Christian Ministry offers theological formation for various parish ministries for adults. Knowledge of Scripture, spirituality, sacraments, Church history and doctrine is covered so that parish ministers can serve more effectively. The program is three semesters in length, is taught by approved master catechists and is available in various parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

• Ministry Formation Programs form catechetical leaders in their own knowledge of the faith and methodologies to teach at all levels of the life cycle in their parish and school faith formation process. Programs are available for the beginner as well as the advanced catechist.

• Ministry with persons with disabilities assists parishes in opening their doors to invite, welcome and accept persons with disabilities into the full life of the Church. Presentations inform how to provide religious education and sacramental preparation in ways that best serve persons with different learning abilities.

• After School Catechesis in public schools helps parishes set up programs in their community schools, providing an opportunity to reach children and youth not in catechesis. This benefits parishes, which may lack sufficient space for their catechetical needs, and parents who cannot provide transportation from school to parish. Parishes sponsoring After School Catechesis have found significant increase of families actively participating in parish catechesis and Sunday worship.