Monday, June 30, 2014

Pope Francis: Mission Versus Task Work

During his Friday homily, Pope Francis focused on our callings.  “When the Lord wants to give us a mission, when He wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well, just like he prepared Elijah. And the most important part of this is not that he has encountered the Lord: no, no, that's a given."

Francis elaborated on his theme: 

        What is important is the whole journey by which we arrive to the mission entrusted             to us by the Lord. And this is the difference between the apostolic mission given to us 
        by God and a regular task. When the Lord gives a mission, He always has us enter 
        into a process, a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of 
        obedience, a process of prayer.”  

Is your life right now focused on tasks or a Mission from God?  God Prepares Us for Mission
A song by Dan Schutte . . . comes to mind as we read the Pope’s message --  "Here I Am, Lord"

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Catechetical Weekend 2014 (Sept. 21-22)

Catechetical Sunday -- Materials available from the NCCL

The 2014 theme -- "Teaching About God's Gift of Forgiveness" ("Enseñando sobre el regalo del perdón de Dios") -- focuses on the beautiful message of God’s love and compassion.

The NCCL's 2014 catechetical pin expresses several paths of God’s forgiveness, the most powerful of which is the cross. The word "Ephphatha", meaning, “be opened,” which is embossed on the pin.  "Ephphatha" is heard in the final rite of the Elect before their initiation as their eyes and ears are blessed to hear and profess the Word of God. The white area surrounding the cross, on the pin, suggests not only a victory wreath of forgiveness, but also healing that unbinds us and sets us free. “ ‘Ephphatha – Be opened,’ sums up Christ’s entire mission.” Pope Benedict XVI, September 9, 2012. (The pin is 1" in diameter.)

The NCCL’s 2014 journal for reflection is a great gift for all parishioners, especially those who share in the RCIA and adult formation, catechists, parents preparing their children for sacraments, and all those who desire to think more deeply about their faith. This resource offers meditations for Sundays, Holy Days, and liturgical seasons, as well as questions to consider, lines to write contemplations, and ideas to act on your faith.  This year’s reflection journal is a Special Memorial Issue remembering Lee Nagel.

Posters, Certificates, Catechist Prayer Cards, and Family Commitment Cards 

These are also available from the NCCL.  Help your catechists and parents to reflect on their roles, by virtue of their Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.  

Order Catechetical Sunday 2014 pins, reflection books, and other materials here:


SAD NEWS: Death of Lee Nagel, Executive Director of the NCCL

'From the Heart: Remembering Leland Nagel'

by Tom Quinlan
Director of the Religious Education Office, Diocese of Joliet and former member of the NCCL Board 
of Directors.

Over the years, Leland (Lee) Nagel served our diocese in a number of ways. He facilitated catechist formation events, gave leadership retreats and even facilitated a process for those involved in Catholic schools planning in the diocese a few years ago.

Sadly, Lee passed away during late May after overseeing a successful NCCL annual conference.

Leland Nagel

While Lee often expressed his fondness and appreciation for the Diocese of Joliet, our diocese was
not unusual in having been blessed by his giftedness. The ultimate performer, a story-teller par
excellence, a catechist’s catechist, and man of deep faith, Lee was in great demand all across the

During his seven years as executive director of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership,
Lee generously continued to accept invitations to present in dioceses, something he enjoyed doing. He loved to connect with people, to touch their hearts, and bring them to laughter and tears as he endeavored to reveal the wide and beautiful panorama of God’s grace active in the world.

Lee had a wonderful career in the Green Bay Diocese as the head of Total Catholic Education long
before I first met him. He was an advocate for Catholic schools and parish faith formation operating out of a common vision set forth in our universal Church’s and our nation’s catechetical documents. He would want us to continue to strive each day for this goal.

I had the joy of serving on the NCCL board that hired Lee back in 2007. I worked closely with Lee
during his first three years in that role and in the ensuing years on various projects for the
organization. Lee gave of himself so generously, even heroically, throughout his time as NCCL
executive director. He loved the organization and believed in its mission to serve catechetical
leadership in the U.S. He worked as a close partner with other national Catholic organizations and
the USCCB, building bridges all along the way.

The national catechetical landscape, because of Lee Nagel, is more vibrant, more colorful, more hope-filled . . . indeed more Catholic in the richest sense of the term. Lee may have been larger-than-life, a boisterous personality that demanded our attention. And yet, in the legacy of Lee Nagel is the invitation for each of us to be true to ourselves…and in doing so, to make the difference we are uniquely called to make for Christ.

The NCCL is establishing a Memorial Fund in Lee’s name. Details will follow. 

To Correspond with the NCCL Office:

Associate Director Gina Garroway is responding to the many e-mails and phone calls at the NCCL. Make contact with her at:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Evangelization: Try These Three

     1. Catholic Evangelization Blogging

     Blog pieces authored by members of the NCCL Evangelization Committee, and invited guest writers,
     explore evangelizing approaches, practices, resources, and programs at web address below.

     One new piece will be added each week. Sign up to receive blogs posts via e-mail as they are
     produced. An initial trio of articles can be found on:

             "An E-Mail Retreat: Moving into Daily Life" - by Kristina M. DeNeve, Archdiocese of

             "An Embarrassing Lack of Urgency" - by Fr. Frank DeSiano, Paulist Evangelization Ministries

             "Six Keys to Evangelizing Baptismal Ministry" - Thomas Quinlan, Diocese of Joliet

     2.  Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) Study Guide: 
         Companion to Pope Francis's Encyclical

       Author: Jared Dees
       Publication:  Ave Maria Press, September 2013
       Price:  $2.99                                                    
       Digital Edition available via

       A guide to Lumen Fidei, the first encyclical by Pope Francis. Contains rich commentary and reflection
      questions for personal study, book clubs, RCIA candidates, and/or adult faith-formation groups.

     3. Faith-Formation Learning Exchange -- May 2014


       New Blog Posts

       "Blogging: More Work Than One Thinks, More Promise Than We Realize" -- by Kyle M. Oliver
       "Bait for Young Adults -- by Jim Merhaut
       "Using the Arts to Craft Your Faith" --  by Jolene Roehlkepartain
       New Article
        "The Spirituality of Our Children: Pray-ers Today, Prophets Tomorrow" -- Janet Schaeffler, O.P.


Monday, May 12, 2014

OLFE Staff Member Earns Master of Arts in Theology

          The staff of the Office for Lifelong Formation and Education (OLFE), and all who work in and for the Archdiocesan have cause to celebrate.

          During a solemn but joyful commencement exercise was held at Saint Meinrad's Seminary and School of Theology, on Saturday May 10 on the school's campus in southern Indiana.

          Veteran adult catechesis and RCIA consultant at OLFE, Ms. Maureen Grisanti Larison, was awarded a Master of Arts diploma in Theology (M.A.).

          Another staff member of the Archdiocese, Ms. Carrie Fuchs Williamson, received a Master of Theological Studies degree (M.T.S.).

          Carrie is the associate director for Vocations for the Archdiocese. She also regularly leads a number of small groups of parish ministry leaders in pastoral supervision sessions on behalf of OLFE.


          Degree Recipients at Saint Meinrad from left to right: Janet Kleier Millen, Carrie Fuchs Williamson, Maureen Grisanti Larison, Bernie Schum, Dustin Hungerford.

          Mr. Hungerford and Ms. Grisanti Larison received a Master of Arts in Theology.

          Ms. Millen received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology.

          Ms. Williamson and Mr. Schum received the Master of Theological Studies degree.

          One student, Jay Paradis, was not present for the picture but also received a MA in Theology.

          Brandon DeToma, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville earned a Master of Arts in Catholic Philosophical Studies.

          Congratulations to all.