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As part of NCCL's practice of sharing catechetical research and insights on Catholic practices, the following white papers were developed. Specifically, these documents were compiled in preparation for NCCL Conferences, where the authors presented and discussed their subject of expertise.


As part of NCCL's practice of sharing catechetical research and insights on Catholic practices, the following white papers were developed. Specifically, these documents were compiled in preparation for NCCL Conferences, where the authors presented and discussed their subject of expertise.

From Discipleship to Apostleship: Creating Witnesses in Faith

by Terrie Baldwin, 2016

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis lays out a plan to fill the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus and encourages the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by joy, while pointing out paths for the Church’s journey in the years to come (EG,1). The hope of this paper is to actively join in this vision, to take a brief look at the present day situation of the church, to delve deeply into the connections between evangelization and catechesis of the past and present, and to propose a simple catechetical method for the future to assist and encourage others to become witnesses of faith.

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Evangelizing the Catechized:
The Indispensable Role of Kerygma in the New Evangelization and the Development of a Kerygmatic Catechesis

by Vincent J. Reilly, 2016

This paper explores what it means to have an adult catechetical program that is rooted in the kerygma. First, I examine the definition of kerygma and kerygmatic catechesis, particularly in relation to the creation of a dynamic discipleship. Secondly, a process of proclaiming the kerygma is proposed based on the Systematic Integral New Evangelization (SINE) model of Fr. Alfonso Navarro. Finally, this kerygmatic model is reimagined for the entire parish to offer events that invite all people to encounter Jesus Christ that is beautiful. This paper uses examples from St. Catherine Catholic Church in Orange Park, Florida, the parish in which I am the Director of Faith Formation, to provide concrete ways that this model can be implemented.

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Forming Lifelong Disciples through Developmentally-Responsive Catechesis

by Joseph D. White, Ph.D., 2016

As a child and family psychologist, I am continually amazed by the new information we can each day about how people grow and learn. In recent years, advances in the neurosciences, especially, have contributed to our understanding of human development and the ways in which our brains integrate physical, emotional, intellectual and social experiences. As a catechist, however, I am often disappointed at how little we have integrated this rapidly growing knowledge of human development into our ministry of faith formation. In fact, our catechetical texts and methods have changed very little in the past twenty years, even as our knowledge of child development, especially at the neurobiological level, has exploded. By becoming better informed about the research in human development and family functioning, we could make learning about the faith more efficient, more effective, and better integrated into the everyday life of the individual person and the family, which after all is the goal of faith formation in the first place.

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Lady Wisdom:
A Catechetical and Moral Model for Feminine Identity and Discipleship

by Colleen Campbell, 2016

It is necessary to consider a renewed vision for feminine discipleship. The Catholic tradition is full of feminine imagery that has been employed successfully throughout Church history; however, to address the current cultural climate of women and girls, the Church needs to draw from her tradition an example of womanhood that is adaptable to Catholic women in the present moment. This renewed vision of femininity would be a catechetical tool that aimed to empower women and girls to seek God boldly through the identification and practice of their own individual gifts, discernment of how to use their gifts in their vocation, and discipleship through service to the human person. Most importantly, this vision would enable female disciples to affirm their own dignity as women in order to serve Christ, the Church, and the world. I offer, then, the renewed vision of radical, feminine discipleship and identity in the person of Lady Wisdom as both a catechetical and moral model.

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Lectio Divina:
An Essential Spiritual Practice for Catechist Formation

by Therese Recinella, D.Min., 2016

Catechist formation programs must include a component that assists catechists in developing a prayer life centered on Scripture. This paper aims to examine the spiritual practice of lectio divina, prayed reading of Scripture, as an essential tool that can be integrated into catechist formation as a help for catechists to pray with and integrate Scripture in their lives and in their lessons.

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To The Heart

by Ellen Voegele, 2016

COR is a center for evangelization designed to strengthen parishioners in intentional discipleship, provide a safe environment for inactive parishioners to be reintroduced into the faith community, and reach out to the rest of the community whose hearts are longing for the good news of Jesus Christ. COR at 220 East is a downtown storefront building located in the heart of Waterloo, Iowa and a ministry of four Catholic parishes in Waterloo that have a longstanding tradition of collaboration. 

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“I Shouldn’t Be Here”:
Implications of Catholic Deconversion Narratives for Catechesis

by Jennifer Owens, 2016

I am increasingly convinced that Catholic catechists have much to learn from Catholic deconversion narratives. In this article I will argue that the three deconverts you'll meet practice a kind of spiritual integrity stemming from an inability to sustain conflicting worldviews and a desire for consistency between belief and action. The experiences of these three participants weave one thread of the tapestry; they do not speak to the wide and varied experiences of all deconverts from Catholicism. That said, it is a thread worth tugging on for the reasons I will outline in the paper.

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Nurturing Religious Potential

by Amy Winkler, 2016

God has created each person with a deep religious potential, a potential in the season of nurturing. In our ministry, we encounter a challenge to see the people in front of us as beloved children of God. We may even be invited to help God nurture the religious potential that they already have within themselves. In this paper I will explore ministry through the lens of religious potential, building off of Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi’s work with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as well as engaging the directives of our bishops in an effort to engage the role and benefits that a nurturing attitude and disposition can have in the catechetical life.

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Reigniting the Light

by Sarah Swisher, 2016

In this paper, I will suggest an approach to reach young adults who embraced their faith in high school, but now feel lost, abandoned and “weird” post-graduation. This vision intends to help answer the question: How can I, as a young adult, continue to express my Catholic faith beyond the doors of my Catholic high school campus? In order to accommodate young adults across the country, this vision is solely based in the virtual world – a blog series. Blog posts can be shared through various social media platforms, and can also provide a discussion forum for young adults to connect on similar views or perhaps even spark a healthy debate. The mission of this vision is to provide a new way in approaching young adults to help them carry out their baptismal calling. 

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Cultural Catholics, Popular Piety, and Inculturation:
A Vision for Meaningful Encounter

by Sara Blauvelt, 2016

Traditional modes and models of catechesis - as experienced in the Sunday homily, in adult formation and children and youth ministry programs - simply cannot reach cultural Catholics and those nominally practicing the faith who do not come on to Church property. Therefore, catechetical leaders need to, once again, scrutinize “the signs of the times” through the light of the Gospel to consider how best to bring people into a personal encounter with Christ and his Church. This essay suggests that attentiveness to the popular piety of those in our community and conscientious application of the best principals of inculturation may aid us in the task of calling our cultural Catholics home. After clarifying terms, this paper will consider the interrelated, yet distinct roles of evangelization and catechesis in order to propose evangelizing catechesis as a model for formation that brings Catholics back to the ecclesial community. Secondly, this paper will briefly explore the vast teachings of the Church to better understand the role of popular piety and inculturation. The paper will conclude by considering ways that authentic popular piety and inculturation could be a means to reach the 43% of cultural Catholics and encourage them to reconsider the Church.

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Parents as First Preachers:
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church

by Mary E. Pedersen, D.Min., 2015

This paper is a call for catechetical leaders, at service of the Christian family, to awaken and inspire parents to assume their role as first preachers to their children and to adequately equip parents to carry out this vital ministry. Indispensable to this worthy goal is providing parents with a preaching method that is effective with children. Parents will also need a new understanding of preaching the Gospel.

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Ministerial Applications of Evangelii Gaudium for the Domestic Church

by Lauri Przybysz, D.Min., 2015

How can catechetical and pastoral ministers assist Christian families in their mission to cultivate the kingdom of God in society, in other words to be active agents of evangelization? This paper will explore what we mean by the Domestic Church and how families of all kinds can carry the joy of the Gospel to the world, beginning at home and radiating outward. Then, it will describe some challenges they experience, so that we may be sensitive to their concerns. The aim of this discussion is to suggest concrete ways ministers can accompany families for joyful lives in Christ.

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The New Evangelization: Involving Families, the Domestic Church

by David M. Thomas, 2015

The nature of family is changing. Thus the need for clear-sighted pastoral and catechetical vision to accommodate this. Families come in diverse sizes and arrangements (which has always been true to some degree). And they will always be needed to provide that stable and trusted social milieu, a community of trusted and reliable love especially for the very young and those nearing the end. In other words, the vulnerable, who are especially valued by Pope Francis. What does the pope offer as a vision for the future of the church in The Joy of the Gospel? What is the well from which he draws nourishment and vitality? Is he not someone energized by hope? The answer is obvious. He exudes vitality and hope – as well as joy. And what feeds his enthusiasm, his joyfulness about the future? He gives us a glimpse into his spiritual vision toward the end of his exhortation on evangelization. “Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past. It is a vital power which has permeated the world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. ... Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.” (EG, 276)

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