Editor’s note: This is a re-post for the sake of explaining how to utilize the resource. A copy of this week’s worksheet is available here (OT 5 A Lectionary Catechesis).
Fr. Alan Hartway, C.PP.S., in collaboration with Joan Blossom, Director of Adult Education, both at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Mead, Colorado, have developed a process of Lectionary Catechesis for adults. The main goal is to share the following Sunday readings from the lectionary in connection with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), using the method of the new evangelization. Some of the five parishes currently using this material find it helpful for RCIA Breaking Open the Word, and some pastors use this simply for homiletic preparation.
Small groups of adults meet for one hour fifteen minutes, sitting in circles as they use a weekly worksheet to discuss the readings. Hospitality is always important, so they share some sort of beverage and light snack. The four part structure of the questions is taken directly from Evangelii nuntiandi (The New Evangelelization): Know your Faith, Live your Faith, Share your Faith, and Worship. Having a leader or facilitator is not necessarily required because people are usually eager to engage in faith sharing.
Fr. Hartway said that he found that it is helpful to use the responsorial psalm for the opening prayer, together or alternating voices, because the responsorial psalm is often overlooked by the homilist.
After the opening prayer, the group looks to the Gospel. Someone reads it aloud and then they either go over the worksheet’s questions or they look up especially significant CCC references. On the worksheet, if the CCC uses a verse from the Sunday readings to make a faith statement, the citation of that verse is given right along side of the paragraph citation from the CCC. (Reminder: the CCC number does not refer to a page, but a paragraph number within the Catechism.) Fr. Hartway says that this is the only part that takes a little preparation. He says the groups make a serious attempt to give every one a chance to share and if they start with the questions, sometimes it is useful to do all the “Live your Faith” questions straight through the readings and sometimes they just do the questions for that one reading.
“The questions are not fixed in stone. In fact,” Fr. Hartway says, “it happens that they may not even get to the questions made up on the sheet—they’re there mainly to be conversation starters for people to share. Because we never get through all the readings, people take the sheets home and can use them in their families or as personal study or even to help guide their prayer through the week.”
Fr. Hartway says that on the worksheet, “Most of the comments about a CCC citation are the gist of what is said,” however, quotes are used when actually quoting from the CCC. Because of this, he goes on, “it is a good idea to go back and actually read the catechism statement itself, especially on any significant or controversial point about out faith.”
Fr. Hartway asks that people email ideas and their experiences to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use the worksheets he would appreciate knowing where they are being used, please email him and let him know. (edit)