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Adult Education Spreading its Wings

Monday night I held my third parent/child CCD class. This is my attempt to get the parents more actively involved in their child’s religious education as well as to inspire them to seek out a little adult education as well. Parent attendance is completely voluntary. I usually get a little anxious before these sessions, wondering if anyone will show up. Monday night was no different. After all, the parents had already been to two of these classes. What if they decided it just isn’t worth their time? And to top it off, the public schools were out for a teacher work-day on Monday so CCD attendance was likely to be low. I just pushed these anxieties aside and figured the Holy Spirit would take care of getting folks to attend. I just needed to prepare my presentation.

The bell rang for class to begin and I had three parents and three students out of my class of sixteen students. I put on a smile and told my brave souls that we were going to wait five minutes before starting so any stragglers could join us in the opening prayer. Well, five minutes later, the floodgates opened. Parents and children poured in until I had 13 parents and 13 children. Glory be! I think the presentation went very well. You can read a summary here. I chose to speak on sacramentals to prepare the families for Candlemas. Candles, statues, icons, and religious pictures help create a Catholic environment in our homes and reinforce our Catholic identity. After class, several parents thanked me for providing these classes. It was very encouraging.

I am actually very encouraged with the progress in adult education at our parish. I have been leading a group study of The Apostles by Pope Benedict XVI. Another group will be starting soon to begin a study of the Catechism using Peter Kreeft’s book Catholic Christianity. Our pastor is on board and wants to eventually see adult education during every CCD session. That would mean some kind of adult education on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evenings. What a concept!

I think my little experiment with my CCD class has shown the adults are interested. However, I also think they need a personal invitation. Just putting a blurb in the bulletin isn’t going to draw people in. We need to reach out and personally invite folks. I saw the same thing happen with the study group for The Apostles. The dividends of catechizing the adults will be enormous. Parents will provide initial catechesis so CCD class will be an enrichment more than and introduction to the Faith. Well-catechized adults will want and will support an authentic Catholic culture in the parish and in the community. We have a long ways to go before such a vision is a reality, but our fledgling adult education program has tried out its wings. I believe someday we will really be able to fly.


Barb, sfo said…
That is great news!

Our new pastor announced on Sunday that once the parish merger is complete (end of June) we can expect some new adult faith-formation programs in our combined parish. We've got nothing on that score right now. I'm excited about what is to come!
Michelle said…
Awesome, Denise. I'm very happy for you. I will definitely remember this idea should I ever get involved in CCD again. I wonder how many parents would love to attend CCD, but think they aren't welcome. And 7th grade CCD for grownups is better than no CCD for grownups.
Anonymous said…
Hi Denise,
I think there is a huge market out there for adult catechesis. I know that whenever I am with my adult siblings and fellow Catholic moms, we lament about the lack of religious education for adults. In fact, just last week a fellow friend confided that she recently learned that the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary, not Jesus (she does teach CCD which is kind of alarming). I guess that's the influence of the 70s for you.
Keep up the good work!
Stina said…
Ditto on the other comments about wanting grown up CCD. Thank you for doing what you are doing.

I can't remember if I have ever commented on your blog, but I really enjoy it and because of that, I have "tagged" you for a book meme. I'm sure you have some great books!
Jim said…
Congratulations, Dr. Hunnell, on the success you've experienced. I hope you continue to write on the subject of catechizing adults. As Anonymous/Marie has so very accurately pointed out, there is such a great need for adult religious education in the United States today.

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