Generations of Faith

Some of you are aware of this effort. One reader suggested it would be a valuable topic for a post. I confess I’m not even sure where to begin. But I’d like to start a series of posts on Generations of Faith, lensed through my participation as a staff member, a liturgist, and as a parent of a participating family at my parish.

As I offer these perspectives, I urge your own participation through the comment boxes. Do you use Generations of Faith in your own parish? Or perhaps something similar?

As I’ve attended various workshops and been involved in three years’ of implementation, GOF strikes me as a well-tested, well-organized effort to introduce something that has been missing from Catholic parish culture for the past several decades: the all-inclusive, intergenerational approach of old ethnic parishes and small-town communities.

I see this as a great effort to swim against the current of contemporary secular culture, and even against the drifting mainstream of Catholicism. Too many Catholic schools have bought into the culture of sport and elitism. Masses have become ghetto-ized into conflicting rather than cooperating specialty groups. Suburbanites have forsaken community involvement and personal commitment for a “You-will-service-us” approach with their large parish.

GOF would be one piece of the puzzle to restore something of a community orientation to parish life. As such, I cannot endorse the effort highly enough. Or recommend you and your parish address the issue in your own community in some significant way.

I think the tried-and-not-so-true religious ed courses of parish schools and “CCD” are pretty much spent themselves out. “CCD” worked when it was driven by a core of dedicated and insightful catechists. Parish school worked when they were part of the center (and not the center) of a Catholic culture that also included a generations-wide embrace of worship, social life, and “Catholic action,” or charity.

In this series, I’d like to explore opportunities within contemporary Catholicism. Obviously, my experience with large parishes will color my presentation. Just as obviously, I would like to point out where Catholic neo-conservatives might be missing the boat when they do not sign on with and endorse GOF. Lastly, I hope your commentary in the boxes will give me some needed corrective where my own limited experiences run up against reality as lived elsewhere.

Meanwhile, anybody else in commentsville doing GOF? And what would you like to see discussed in the days and posts ahead?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to Generations of Faith

  1. Tony says:

    GOF would be one piece of the puzzle to restore something of a community orientation to parish life. As such, I cannot endorse the effort highly enough. Or recommend you and your parish address the issue in your own community in some isgnificant way.

    We have enough community orientation at my parish, thank you. We need more devotion to Christ in the Eucharist.

  2. Todd says:

    A Catholic parish by definition orients itself to Christ. You’re free to make comments about your own parish’s lack of devotion or even your particular devotion, but comments about parishes with which you are unfamiliar are gossip at best and sinful uncharity at worst.

    Let’s keep on point, Tony. Consult a confessor as needed.

  3. aplman says:

    My parish has been working with GoF for three years now and after three years we are still working at getting the kinks out! The three best features of GoF are: 1) it’s an approach to religious education that welcomes and reaches parishioners of all generations; 2) it begins to return responsibliity for faith development to those who properly own it: parents; and 3) it offers regular opportunities for adult faith development – and the adults are already there!

    A number of parishioners want us to return to the older classroom, C.C.D. model but in a majority of these have never or only infrequently participated in GoF. Although GoF is a monthly commitment, it seems a bigger one for folks to make than weekly C.C.D.

    As a pastor, I’m hoping others will report their experience/success/problems with GoF.

  4. Tony says:

    but comments about parishes with which you are unfamiliar are gossip at best and sinful uncharity at worst.

    Oooohhh… Todd. Where did I mention any other parish than my own? Remember what our Lord said about “sin” and “stones”.

  5. Marilyn says:

    Our Generations of Faith was given a really concerted effort for a few years but my family held back from joining based on what members were saying…that their children were not learning the teachings of the faith and they as parents were not hearing anything they didn’t already know…as well as what the volunteers were saying…that they were over-worked for such a small segment of the parish population.

    Sporting events are great ways to bond with fellow-Catholic parents…relying on one another through carpooling and encouraging the children of those we attend Mass with is a really special privilege that unites us beyond the ballfield.

    With our change in pastors, a committed core of volunteers has re-visited CCD for grades 1-8, with a dedicated segment directing middle school and high school theology classes working through the very substantial Didache series. My daughters, one in each of these classes, appreciate the truth and devotion they are learning and practicing with their peers from both the parish school and public school.

  6. Marilyn says:

    I do just want to comment on point 2 from Aplman…that faith formation is the responsibility and ownership of the parents. Well, I’m indebted to those teachers who affirm and uphold what my children learn at home and in Mass. Often, hearing something from other sources allows something to ‘click’ and my children often attest to some new revelation learned in school that I had discussed with them previously at length. This is one of the primary reasons I am active and have my children involved in parish programs…so that we are not apart but part of a whole community of like-minded people. I think that others teaching my children helps them accept and grow well in the faith.

  7. Todd says:

    Tony, good point. Sorry to have taken it the wrong way. My apologies.

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