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Handing on the Faith

On Saturday, Sept. 17, v Over 300 catechists from over twenty parishes took part in a bilingual day of formation and prayer at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Birmingham. The day kicked off with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Raica, during which he offered a special blessing for those catechists present. Mary Ann Wiesinger and Dr. Mark Ginter from Franciscan University promoted the new diocesan partnership with "Franciscan at Home," freely offering dozens of online formation courses for catechists and families. Lucia Luzondo, an attorney, practical theologian, and noted Catholic speaker, presented on challenges families face, offering advice on how to accompany families and students in appreciating their whole person as a gift from God, particularly in response to various forms of gender ideology. Sisters Madeleine Marie Van Dillen and Rita Marie, S.s.E.W., led a group of children through two introductory classes from the "Come Follow Me" catechetical program, demonstrating how to closely attend to each child's interests and how to invite them to deeper reflection and prayer. Catechetical resources for the Hispanic community were offered. Director of discipleship and mission Alex Kubik presented some of the findings from the diocesan synodal process, helping catechists better understand the needs and opportunities expressed in their communities. The day provided many great ideas, living examples and accessible materials for catechists to use as they begin a new year of handing on the faith.