Campus Ministers and Religious Education staff from across the District and beyond come together for this inaugural gathering
10/10/10 – Morristown, NJ – Meeting in the quaint village of Morristown, New Jersey, 30 campus ministers and religion teachers from across the District of Eastern North America (DENA) gathered together for the first annual Brother Luke Salm, FSC, Religious Education Workshop which took place October 10th through 12th at the Loyola House of Retreats. In addition, Lasallian educators from the Districts of New Orleans-Santa Fe and San Francisco participated in the Workshop.
Sponsored by the DENA Office of Mission and Ministry, the goal of the Luke Salm Workshop is to enhance and support the evangelization and catechesis of Lasallian students by providing professional development for and accompaniment to District religious studies teachers and campus ministers. “Lasallian Evangelization and Catechesis in the 21st Century” was the workshop’s organizing theme. In his Opening Remarks, Dennis Malloy, FSC, Visitor, observed: “Your ministry of religious education whether in the classroom, retreat house or in community service is at the heart of who we say we are as “ambassadors and ministers of Jesus Christ.”
Boston College’s Thomas Groome, Director of the Institute ofReligious Education and Pastoral Ministry and Professor of Theology and Religious Education served as the principal speaker to launch this major District initiative. A world-renowned thinker and practitioner in pastoral theology and religious education, Groome’s three presentations clearly displayed a pastoral inspiration and intent to aid Lasallian educators in cultivating an integrated and imaginative approach to doing evangelization and catechesis today. Given his heavy duties and responsibilities at Boston College, Groome accepts only 11 or 12 guest speaking engagements a year. He told workshop participants that he accepted the District’s invitation to headline the Luke Salm Workshop because he sees Catholic Lasallian schools as a “strategic community” within the Catholic Church. Additionally, he knew Brother Luke as an earnest theologian and religious educator.
In his opening talk on Sunday evening, “To Teach as Jesus Did,” Groome observed that though we live in challenging times for “handing on the faith,” to succeed in these times “depends on how, why, what and where we teach it.” During Monday morning, Groome offered two presentations. The first was focused on “The Bishops’ Framework for High School Catechetical Curriculum,” providing a rich pastorally oriented theological and pedagogical critique of the document. The second talk, “A Shared Praxis Approach to Religious Education,” was centered on his Shared Christian Praxis model, an approach he has designed for practicing religious education. This process for learning as five movements:
- Discovering Life Experiences
- Reflecting on Life Experiences
- Sharing the Faith Story
- Integrating the Faith Story Into My Life
- Living the Faith Story
On Monday afternoon, Patrick Tiernan, Religion Department Head at Boston College High School, delivered a plenary talk on the “Depth and Design in the Bishops’ Curricular Framework.” He described and explained his department’s response to the Bishops’ Curriculum Framework. He conveyed to participants a sense of confidence and courage about Boston College High School’s approach. Fittingly, the clear and confident sensibility conveyed by Tiernan mirrors Superior General Brother Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria’s charge: that Lasallian schools and centers of education be attentive to “educational innovation so that our work does not appear to be so neutral. We need to be clear about what we do, who we do it for, and why we do it the way we do it.”
Later in the afternoon and evening, the participants split into two tracks: campus ministry and religion teachers. Patrick Tiernan and Steven McGlaun of St. Mary’s Press facilitated the track for religion teachers while Maryann Donohue-Lynch, Principal of St. Raphael Academy and Michael Shubnell, FSC, Director of Campus Ministry at De La Salle Collegiate, facilitated the track for campus ministers.
One of the final sessions of the Workshop on Tuesday morning consisted of a inviting presentation by James Dries, FSC, Director of Vocation Promotion, on why vocation promotion in the Lasallian school remains important. The final session facilitated by John Crawford, FSC, an Assistant Professor in La Salle University’s Religion Department focused on what it means to do Lasallian religious education in the 21st century. This session was a way to try pulling together the fruits of the inaugural Brother Luke Salm, FSC, Religious Education Workshop.
It is our vision and hope to create with you a new associative community within the life of the District of Eastern North America that is concerned first and foremost with the ministry of the Word, with the school as a “means of salvation” and with the evangelization and catechesis of our young people. Practically, we hope to bring you together face-to-face and virtually so that you might know and be encouraged by one another, share your wisdom and best practices, create and innovate new practices, and become in the words of Dr. Thomas Groome, a strategic community for the life of your ministry and for the apostolic vision and ministry of the District of Eastern North America.
– Br. Dennis Malloy, FSC, Visitor
District of Eastern North America
Article provided by Br. Ernest Miller, FSC – Associate Executive Director for Mission and Ministry