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Sharings


Too optimistic?

Dear Editor,

The “Forming Adults in Faith” article by Maureen Shaughnessy was very interesting (ML 27:10). However, I believe her article is, to a large extent, too optimistic in its overall tenor for the future of adult faith formation in the Catholic Church. The document Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us should be a wake-up call to the current crisis of adult formation in U.S. parishes. I wonder, although the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has strongly advocated adult faith formation as the center of the church’s catechetical ministry, if their espoused theory (how they think they act) is linked with their actual behavior. For example, the bishops of the United States have said that “adult faith formation is a priority” and have called dioceses to prepare the leaders. Nevertheless, how many bishops have created an adult formation office in their diocese? How many bishops are providing education for the catechists of adults? The success of adult formation depends on the training of adult catechists. Yet, most adults do not know how to teach or catechize other adults. Any diocese that hopes to succeed with adult formation in this tough secular world must resolve this basic dilemma. …

Adult education providers must bring dialogue into the adult learning structure and develop an emancipatory pedagogy that brings about Gospel living and works for a just society. The challenge of adult formation is to engage the adults in their learning. Hence, before any steps can be taken, adults must participate in the actual planning and implementation of these formation plans. This process will not happen on its own. It must be skillfully and intentionally planned with the input of many participants.

Jo L. Dresden
Batavia, Ill.
ML

What do YOU Think?
Send an e-mail to ML Editor or post an entry on the ML Current Issue Discussion Board. (All submissions become the property of RPI and may be edited for length.) 

—ML

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