By Liz Sullivan
A large group of catechetical and youth ministers from across the Diocese of San Jose gathered on May 12 at Saint Francis of Assisi Church. The training entitled, “Adults at the Center” challenged the parish leaders to shift the focus of faith formation from primarily child/youth sacramental preparation to adult spirituality and discipleship.
The event was led by Diocesan Director of Catechetical Ministry, Wendy Scherbart, along with Robert Rodrigues, Director of Faith Formation at the Church of the Resurrection in Sunnyvale.
The day of reflection and conversation was made possible because of donations made through the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA). “It is so rewarding to support the growth of faith of adults through a successful Annual Diocesan Appeal,” said Bill Matthews, Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese. Scherbart’s department is funded by ADA.
“I have come to believe that our Church can’t thrive without engaging adults and attending to their lifelong faith formation. Adults have the greatest responsibilities and capacity to live as disciples and to make disciples,” said Scherbart.
“In many parishes today, the focal point of faith formation places children and youth in the center of the picture. It is essential to put adults at the center because it is their lived faith that is the foundation for the faith formation of children and youth,” Scherbart said. In his address to the participants, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath said, “There is no doubt in my mind that adult faith formation will energize and strengthen every ministry in the Church.”
“I see an urgency to focus faith formation on adults,” said Scherbart. “Our world is wounded and we are in need of healing, the healing that only the Good News of Jesus Christ can bring. Adult disciples can listen to and accompany the suffering.”
The morning session of the event focused on laying the foundation for the priority of adult faith formation. In the afternoon, the parish leaders, along with Scherbart’s and Rodrigues’ guidance, reviewed a roadmap of strategies, tools and resources to support adult faith formation efforts in the parishes.
“I am encouraged by all of this because I believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit,” said Scherbart, “and it is resonating with those who lead parish faith formation.”
All made possible, along with many other events at the Diocesan and parish levels, because of ADA donations.
Learn more about ADA by visiting, www.dsj.org/ada.