Church of St. Mary - Arlington, Minnesota
Adult Faith Formation
Includes Area Faith Community Participation
During the years when we were clustered with St. Brendan – Green Isle, St. John – Belle Plaine, St. Thomas - Jessenland and St Joseph - Henderson, these churches were always invited to participate in St. Mary’s large planned events. With the formation of the Area Faith Community – St. Brendan, St. Michael - Gaylord and St. Mary, large group events were planned with the consultation and approval of the existing education committees of the individual parishes.
Today the Church recognizes good adult faith formation at the heart of family and vibrant catechetical programs. During the 60’s through the 90’s diocesan enrichments were made available for parish ministries – Area Faith Community members participated in the catechist formation program of the 60’s, the lay ministry classes of the 70’s and 90’s, the Renew sessions of the 80’s and Renew 2000. The effect of these sessions continues to be felt within the parishes even today.
The diocese continues to empower local leadership for parish life through its’ Foundations and Together in Communion classes offered and located within the diocese through the professorship of St. Mary’s College, Winona. A diocesan planned weeklong parish retreat drew in a full church. The annual March Bishop Lucker Lecture is yet another opportunity for parish members. Together in Ministry sessions enhance our local lay ministries.
Following Renew 2000, St. Mary’s Parish Council adopted the following resolution and officially recognized the church’s call for adult formation:
Two dimensions of outreach to adults will continue to be developed, welcoming newcomers
and opportunities for ongoing faith formation.
Welcoming packets will be created and an inviting hospitality will be nurtured for newcomers.
Ongoing faith formation opportunities in the form of small faith-sharing groups, bible study
and large group enrichments will continue to be offered. Adult Faith Formation opportunities will
be integrated with the liturgical year and the fabric of parish life.
Recognizing the importance of hospitality, St. Mary’s Council of Catholic Women assisted by planning the annual ‘Welcoming Newcomers Sunday,’ the first Sunday of October.
With the help of St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s Education Committees, the volunteer Adult Faith Formation Coordinator, planned an annual event designed to inspire, educate and nurture community. Lenten Faith-Sharing groups continued to meet and bible studies were offered by both St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s. An occasional event would bring both students and adults together, usually during a religious education evening - a speaker, inspirational entertainment, etc. Alpha, an evangelical family program, was offered during 2008-09.
Prior to Renew 2000, St. Mary’s Education Committee planned an annual adult faith formation opportunity, often focusing on strengthening family life, in the form of marriage enrichments. A five day parish retreat invited the surrounding area and drew in approximately 75 members. The committee also developed a parental enrichment component for the first communion and confirmation preparation classes.
Amidst all of the above, the parish pastor played/s a key role in adult faith formation through his weekly homilies, the marriage preparation classes, baptism classes and preparing new members to come into the church.
The diocesan newspaper, The Prairie Catholic, informs and updates us on available enrichment offerings.
St Mary’s Education Committee recommends that St. Mary’s Adult Faith Formation Coordinator receive a stipend per major event planned.
Current area faith community and diocesan offerings for adult formation:
Orientation to Catholic Faith Pre-Marriage Classes
Bible Study Upcoming Lenten Sessions Faith Formation Day Together In Ministry
Bishop Lucker Lecture
For additional information, please contact:
New Ulm Diocesan Adult Formation Director
Written and submitted by Dee Czech, St. Mary’s Parish
Immediate past adult faith formation coordinator