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Re: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In

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  • Tom Rinkoski
    Tuesday 1 July 2008 Greetings from Gainesville! Irregardless of canonical position, I do not want to go there (tracking Mass attendance) from a variety of
    Message 1 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
      Tuesday 1 July 2008
      Greetings from Gainesville!
      Irregardless of canonical position, I do not want to go there (tracking Mass attendance) from a variety of positions:
      * I am a terrible police person.  It is enough work to be a good teacher.  I do not desire the paperwork of policing.  I am barely provided the time and budget to do effective teaching, let alone the the additional tasks of policing.
      * The not so hidden factor in Mass attendance is parents.  I have no control over that.  Last year our Confirmation Parents rose to amazingly creative, almost adolescent, in their ability to deliver excuses on why their teens cannot come to Confirmation classes, retreats, etc.  I am unsure my heart is capable of hearing them pushed to producing justifications for not being at Mass the past two Sundays.
      * To borrow a scriptural metaphor my 'task' is planting seeds.  I have to let go the harvest and results to others.  It is my fondest hope to motivate these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful relationship with Jesus, but I fully realize, given my circumstances, I will probably never know if this happens.  Keeping track of Mass attendance as some criterion of religious affiliation is a dangerous short term illusion.
      * Keeping track of Mass attendance does not confirm anything good either in the confirmandi, nor the church.
      * The sacraments are a basic right of every Catholic.  We should be very wary of imposing our human judgements and criterion on the worthiness of anyone to receive.
      * What if the laity finally decide to impose some criterion on us in exchange?  Making homilies more relevant and meaningful?  Using music that has more 'relevance' to teens in liturgy?  Utilizing  more contemporary media use in classrooms?   Now that would be very interesting!
      Just some thoughts.  

       
      in the smiles and stories of Jesus,
       
      Tom Rinkoski, Director
      Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
      St. Augustine Parish & Student Center




      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@...>
      To: DRE-talk <dre-talk@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 7:04:12 AM
      Subject: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In


      Another question.... what is your opinion on having Confirmandi sign in at mass to 'keep track' of their attendance. I thought I read somewhere, possibly in canon law, that this is not acceptable. I also thought it's a public display of sin for those who don't sign in. That is being pushed at my parish though I'm very uncomfortable with it. thanks!
       
      Diana

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Louise DiCarlo
      Tom - I always look forward to your responses. Your insights are always right on. I often think that your parish (and more importantly - their youth) is
      Message 2 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
        Tom -



        I always look forward to your responses. Your insights are always right on.
        I often think that your parish (and more importantly - their youth) is
        extremely blessed to have you!















        Louise DiCarlo | Director of Religious Education | 429 Route 25A Setauket,
        NY 11733 | 631-751-7287 | Fax: 631-751-7056

        _____

        From: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dre-talk@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of Tom Rinkoski
        Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 9:21 AM
        To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In



        Tuesday 1 July 2008
        Greetings from Gainesville!
        Irregardless of canonical position, I do not want to go there (tracking Mass
        attendance) from a variety of positions:
        * I am a terrible police person. It is enough work to be a good teacher. I
        do not desire the paperwork of policing. I am barely provided the time and
        budget to do effective teaching, let alone the the additional tasks of
        policing.
        * The not so hidden factor in Mass attendance is parents. I have no control
        over that. Last year our Confirmation Parents rose to amazingly creative,
        almost adolescent, in their ability to deliver excuses on why their teens
        cannot come to Confirmation classes, retreats, etc. I am unsure my heart is
        capable of hearing them pushed to producing justifications for not being at
        Mass the past two Sundays.
        * To borrow a scriptural metaphor my 'task' is planting seeds. I have to
        let go the harvest and results to others. It is my fondest hope to motivate
        these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful
        relationship with Jesus, but I fully realize, given my circumstances, I will
        probably never know if this happens. Keeping track of Mass attendance as
        some criterion of religious affiliation is a dangerous short term illusion.
        * Keeping track of Mass attendance does not confirm anything good either in
        the confirmandi, nor the church.
        * The sacraments are a basic right of every Catholic. We should be very
        wary of imposing our human judgements and criterion on the worthiness of
        anyone to receive.
        * What if the laity finally decide to impose some criterion on us in
        exchange? Making homilies more relevant and meaningful? Using music that
        has more 'relevance' to teens in liturgy? Utilizing more contemporary
        media use in classrooms? Now that would be very interesting!
        Just some thoughts.


        in the smiles and stories of Jesus,

        Tom Rinkoski, Director
        Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
        St. Augustine Parish & Student Center

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. <mailto:dianal320%40yahoo.com> com>
        To: DRE-talk <dre-talk@yahoogroup <mailto:dre-talk%40yahoogroups.com> s.com>
        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 7:04:12 AM
        Subject: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In

        Another question.... what is your opinion on having Confirmandi sign in at
        mass to 'keep track' of their attendance. I thought I read somewhere,
        possibly in canon law, that this is not acceptable. I also thought it's a
        public display of sin for those who don't sign in. That is being pushed at
        my parish though I'm very uncomfortable with it. thanks!

        Diana

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jcaschetta
        Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to attend. At the
        Message 3 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
          Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
          the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
          attend.
          At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
          candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
          name and sponsor, mass attendance).
          Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
          Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
          the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
          time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
          the weekends.
          While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
          RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
          parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
          is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
          parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
          children on things they have no control over.
          So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
          five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
          Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
          ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
          They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
          they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
          This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
          out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
          RE program.
          This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
          it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
          welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
          parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
          why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
          are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
          prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
          We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
          so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
          of the Body of Christ.
          Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.
        • me_sullivan
          I concur....our task as catechetical leaders is to plant seeds and invite and challenge our student/parents to deepen their relationship with Christ at
          Message 4 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
            I concur....our task as catechetical leaders is to plant seeds and
            invite and challenge our student/parents to deepen their relationship
            with Christ at whatever point they are in their journey of faith.

            I think that mass sign is would simply push people away from the
            church, not bring them in. It would also reinforce the already
            misunderstand Sacrament of Confirmation as being an end of faith
            development instead of being a beginning.










            -- In dre-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Louise DiCarlo" <louise@...> wrote:
            >
            > Tom -
            >
            >
            >
            > I always look forward to your responses. Your insights are always
            right on.
            > I often think that your parish (and more importantly - their youth)
            is
            > extremely blessed to have you!
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Louise DiCarlo | Director of Religious Education | 429 Route 25A
            Setauket,
            > NY 11733 | 631-751-7287 | Fax: 631-751-7056
            >
            > _____
            >
            > From: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dre-talk@yahoogroups.com] On
            Behalf
            > Of Tom Rinkoski
            > Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 9:21 AM
            > To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In
            >
            >
            >
            > Tuesday 1 July 2008
            > Greetings from Gainesville!
            > Irregardless of canonical position, I do not want to go there
            (tracking Mass
            > attendance) from a variety of positions:
            > * I am a terrible police person. It is enough work to be a good
            teacher. I
            > do not desire the paperwork of policing. I am barely provided the
            time and
            > budget to do effective teaching, let alone the the additional tasks
            of
            > policing.
            > * The not so hidden factor in Mass attendance is parents. I have
            no control
            > over that. Last year our Confirmation Parents rose to amazingly
            creative,
            > almost adolescent, in their ability to deliver excuses on why their
            teens
            > cannot come to Confirmation classes, retreats, etc. I am unsure my
            heart is
            > capable of hearing them pushed to producing justifications for not
            being at
            > Mass the past two Sundays.
            > * To borrow a scriptural metaphor my 'task' is planting seeds. I
            have to
            > let go the harvest and results to others. It is my fondest hope to
            motivate
            > these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a
            meaningful
            > relationship with Jesus, but I fully realize, given my
            circumstances, I will
            > probably never know if this happens. Keeping track of Mass
            attendance as
            > some criterion of religious affiliation is a dangerous short term
            illusion.
            > * Keeping track of Mass attendance does not confirm anything good
            either in
            > the confirmandi, nor the church.
            > * The sacraments are a basic right of every Catholic. We should be
            very
            > wary of imposing our human judgements and criterion on the
            worthiness of
            > anyone to receive.
            > * What if the laity finally decide to impose some criterion on us in
            > exchange? Making homilies more relevant and meaningful? Using
            music that
            > has more 'relevance' to teens in liturgy? Utilizing more
            contemporary
            > media use in classrooms? Now that would be very interesting!
            > Just some thoughts.
            >
            >
            > in the smiles and stories of Jesus,
            >
            > Tom Rinkoski, Director
            > Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
            > St. Augustine Parish & Student Center
            >
            > ----- Original Message ----
            > From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. <mailto:dianal320%
            40yahoo.com> com>
            > To: DRE-talk <dre-talk@yahoogroup <mailto:dre-talk%
            40yahoogroups.com> s.com>
            > Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 7:04:12 AM
            > Subject: [dre-talk] Mass Sign-In
            >
            > Another question.... what is your opinion on having Confirmandi
            sign in at
            > mass to 'keep track' of their attendance. I thought I read
            somewhere,
            > possibly in canon law, that this is not acceptable. I also thought
            it's a
            > public display of sin for those who don't sign in. That is being
            pushed at
            > my parish though I'm very uncomfortable with it. thanks!
            >
            > Diana
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Diana Solomon
            I agree with everyone that sign-in  for Mass just doesn t seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don t know how
            Message 5 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
              I agree with everyone that sign-in  for Mass just doesn't seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative' to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in good company!
               
              diana

              --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@...> wrote:

              From: jcaschetta <janet@...>
              Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
              To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM






              Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
              the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
              attend.
              At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
              candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
              name and sponsor, mass attendance).
              Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
              Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
              the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
              time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
              the weekends.
              While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
              RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
              parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
              is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
              parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
              children on things they have no control over.
              So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
              five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
              Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
              ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
              They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
              they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
              This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
              out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
              RE program.
              This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
              it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
              welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
              parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
              why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
              are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
              prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
              We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
              so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
              of the Body of Christ.
              Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.


















              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Tom Craig
              Perhaps what s needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish, and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of Eucharist
              Message 6 of 20 , Jul 1, 2008
                Perhaps what's needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish, and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of Eucharist and Sacraments, how it is freely given and freely received. Good luck
                 
                Tom

                --- On Tue, 7/1/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@...> wrote:

                From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@...>
                Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 1:38 PM






                I agree with everyone that sign-in  for Mass just doesn't seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative' to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in good company!
                 
                diana

                --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com> wrote:

                From: jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com>
                Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM

                Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
                the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
                attend.
                At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
                candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
                name and sponsor, mass attendance).
                Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
                Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
                the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
                time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
                the weekends.
                While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
                RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
                parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
                is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
                parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
                children on things they have no control over.
                So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
                five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
                Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
                ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
                They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
                they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
                This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
                out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
                RE program.
                This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
                it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
                welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
                parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
                why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
                are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
                prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
                We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
                so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
                of the Body of Christ.
                Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Kevin Cody
                I d like to offer a perspective for following up on confirmandi s commitment to their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament...including
                Message 7 of 20 , Jul 8, 2008
                  I'd like to offer a perspective for following up on confirmandi's commitment to their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament...including participation in the Mass.

                  A problem that we face more today than ever before are families and young people who are so busy that going to Mass has become just another choice amongst many. When commitment to these other activities is required and conflicts with attending Mass, then the family will often opt out of the Mass.

                  We take the perspective that participation with their faith community in the celebration of the Mass by those who are looking to become full members of that community is at least as important for their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation as sitting in a classroom. Consequently, attending Mass is part of the formation program. We take attendance in the classroom (I don't think anyone has a problem with that). As with the Mass, young people are dependant upon adults to get them there. Why can't we have the same expectation with getting them to Mass? We try to get an idea of their commitment to the program and their faith by tracking their envelopes. It becomes one factor in our discussions and discernment with them as to whether they have a genuine desire to be confirmed at this time.

                  It has become evident to us that young people and their families are used to having demands made upon their time, and unless we are one of those organizations saying that this is important enough for us to make demands of you, then they do not take it seriously.

                  Unless we challenge and impress upon young people and their families the importance of coming together as a faith community, then how do we motivate these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful relationship with Jesus? Jesus is calling us to gather around the table in community. Confirmation is a completion of the baptismal promise to be a follower of Jesus within His Church....To live our lives as Catholics with the help of the Holy Spirit. How can we tell the bishop that our confirmandi are ready to be fully initiated into the Church when they don't join their faith community at Mass?

                  Reception of the sacraments is not a basic right. It is our obligation as ministers of the Church not to ignore someone who is not properly disposed to entering into the sacrament. We are not doing those we serve a favor by allowing them to go through the motions with a once-in-a-lifetime sacrament without at least a discussion. What a difference we have seen when someone comes to us later when they have genuine desire to be confirmed!

                  It's a fine line we walk between being pastoral and providing our parishioners what they want, and also sometimes prayerfully challenging them on what we see Jesus asks of them (and us).

                  Together in Christ,

                  Kevin



                  Tom Craig <deacontc83@...> wrote:
                  Perhaps what's needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish, and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of Eucharist and Sacraments, how it is freely given and freely received. Good luck

                  Tom

                  --- On Tue, 7/1/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@...> wrote:

                  From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@...>
                  Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                  To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 1:38 PM

                  I agree with everyone that sign-in for Mass just doesn't seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative' to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in good company!

                  diana

                  --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com> wrote:

                  From: jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com>
                  Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                  To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                  Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM

                  Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
                  the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
                  attend.
                  At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
                  candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
                  name and sponsor, mass attendance).
                  Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
                  Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
                  the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
                  time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
                  the weekends.
                  While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
                  RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
                  parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
                  is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
                  parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
                  children on things they have no control over.
                  So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
                  five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
                  Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
                  ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
                  They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
                  they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
                  This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
                  out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
                  RE program.
                  This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
                  it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
                  welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
                  parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
                  why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
                  are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
                  prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
                  We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
                  so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
                  of the Body of Christ.
                  Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Karin Frederickson
                  Confirmation is not a right --it is a GIft --a gift of grace from God as are all the Sacraments. At one of our last district meetings with the Archdiocese it
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jul 9, 2008
                    Confirmation is not a "right"--it is a "GIft"--a gift of grace from God as
                    are all the Sacraments. At one of our last district meetings with the
                    Archdiocese it was made clear to us that yes, we are walking a fine line
                    with the expectations we put on those receiving the Sacraments--especially
                    First Holy Communion and Confirmation and the fact that the sacraments are
                    gifts and we need to be very careful how we communicate our program
                    requirements in order to receive these Gifts.

                    In our program--especially for Confirmation we have the teens and parents
                    sign a commitment form--on the form it says that they will attend class and
                    participate in discussion, participate in the Retreat, receive the Sacrament
                    of Reconciliation, use the teachings of the Church in living a moral life
                    and most importantly attend the Sunday liturgy. It is on their conscience
                    for all of these--we keep one copy on file and we have them keep one at home
                    preferably on the refrigerator.

                    At the end of the program, we spend about 1 hour with each of the teens and
                    one of the areas of focus is the Liturgy and the greatest form of prayer we
                    have...the Mass. One of the questions...When you began the Confirmation
                    program, you signed a Pledge of Commitment that you would attend Mass and
                    participate on Sundays and holy days. At this time, tell me honestly how
                    well you fulfilled that commitment and why you feel the Mass is
                    important/not important in your life. The teens are very honest. We have
                    seen an increase in Mass attendance during the year with the teens and you
                    know.....

                    We are only planting the seeds----

                    Karin Frederickson
                    Director of Religious Education
                    Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish
                    formerly St. Clare, North Lake / St. John, Monches
                    Reply to: karin@...
                    Office: +1 (262) 966-7010
                    Fax: +1 (262) 966-1829

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                    _____

                    From: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dre-talk@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    Of Kevin Cody
                    Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:22 PM
                    To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In



                    I'd like to offer a perspective for following up on confirmandi's commitment
                    to their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament...including
                    participation in the Mass.

                    A problem that we face more today than ever before are families and young
                    people who are so busy that going to Mass has become just another choice
                    amongst many. When commitment to these other activities is required and
                    conflicts with attending Mass, then the family will often opt out of the
                    Mass.

                    We take the perspective that participation with their faith community in the
                    celebration of the Mass by those who are looking to become full members of
                    that community is at least as important for their faith formation and
                    preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation as sitting in a classroom.
                    Consequently, attending Mass is part of the formation program. We take
                    attendance in the classroom (I don't think anyone has a problem with that).
                    As with the Mass, young people are dependant upon adults to get them there.
                    Why can't we have the same expectation with getting them to Mass? We try to
                    get an idea of their commitment to the program and their faith by tracking
                    their envelopes. It becomes one factor in our discussions and discernment
                    with them as to whether they have a genuine desire to be confirmed at this
                    time.

                    It has become evident to us that young people and their families are used to
                    having demands made upon their time, and unless we are one of those
                    organizations saying that this is important enough for us to make demands of
                    you, then they do not take it seriously.

                    Unless we challenge and impress upon young people and their families the
                    importance of coming together as a faith community, then how do we motivate
                    these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful
                    relationship with Jesus? Jesus is calling us to gather around the table in
                    community. Confirmation is a completion of the baptismal promise to be a
                    follower of Jesus within His Church....To live our lives as Catholics with
                    the help of the Holy Spirit. How can we tell the bishop that our confirmandi
                    are ready to be fully initiated into the Church when they don't join their
                    faith community at Mass?

                    Reception of the sacraments is not a basic right. It is our obligation as
                    ministers of the Church not to ignore someone who is not properly disposed
                    to entering into the sacrament. We are not doing those we serve a favor by
                    allowing them to go through the motions with a once-in-a-lifetime sacrament
                    without at least a discussion. What a difference we have seen when someone
                    comes to us later when they have genuine desire to be confirmed!

                    It's a fine line we walk between being pastoral and providing our
                    parishioners what they want, and also sometimes prayerfully challenging them
                    on what we see Jesus asks of them (and us).

                    Together in Christ,

                    Kevin



                    Tom Craig <deacontc83@yahoo. <mailto:deacontc83%40yahoo.com> com> wrote:
                    Perhaps what's needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish,
                    and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of
                    Eucharist and Sacraments, how it is freely given and freely received. Good
                    luck

                    Tom

                    --- On Tue, 7/1/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo.
                    <mailto:dianal320%40yahoo.com> com> wrote:

                    From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. <mailto:dianal320%40yahoo.com> com>
                    Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                    To: dre-talk@yahoogroup <mailto:dre-talk%40yahoogroups.com> s.com
                    Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 1:38 PM

                    I agree with everyone that sign-in for Mass just doesn't seem to be
                    appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just
                    don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The
                    pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable
                    with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative'
                    to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in
                    good company!

                    diana

                    --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com> wrote:

                    From: jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfran kfort.com>
                    Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                    To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                    Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM

                    Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
                    the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
                    attend.
                    At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
                    candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
                    name and sponsor, mass attendance).
                    Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
                    Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
                    the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
                    time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
                    the weekends.
                    While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
                    RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
                    parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
                    is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
                    parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
                    children on things they have no control over.
                    So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
                    five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
                    Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
                    ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
                    They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
                    they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
                    This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
                    out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
                    RE program.
                    This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
                    it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
                    welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
                    parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
                    why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
                    are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
                    prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
                    We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
                    so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
                    of the Body of Christ.
                    Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Margo Morin
                    Karin, So, I m curious- what happens if a teen comes to their interview and says we haven t been to Mass ? -Margo
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jul 9, 2008
                      Karin,
                      So, I'm curious- what happens if a teen comes to their interview and
                      says "we haven't been to Mass"?
                      -Margo
                    • Karin Frederickson
                      I have never had a teen come in and say that--and keep in mind that this is only one question of the many we use during the interview. Karin Frederickson
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jul 9, 2008
                        I have never had a teen come in and say that--and keep in mind that this is
                        only one question of the many we use during the interview.


                        Karin Frederickson
                        Director of Religious Education
                        Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish
                        formerly St. Clare, North Lake / St. John, Monches
                        Reply to: karin@...
                        Office: +1 (262) 966-7010
                        Fax: +1 (262) 966-1829

                        This email and any files transmitted with it are CONFIDENTIAL and intended
                        solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
                        Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If
                        you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply
                        e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.




                        _____

                        From: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dre-talk@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                        Of Margo Morin
                        Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 12:03 PM
                        To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In



                        Karin,
                        So, I'm curious- what happens if a teen comes to their interview and
                        says "we haven't been to Mass"?
                        -Margo





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Tom Rinkoski
                        Wednesday 9 July 2008 Kevin, Thank you for your e-mail.  I think you point toward a significant dilemma in religious education.  There is, of course, the
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jul 9, 2008
                          Wednesday 9 July 2008
                          Kevin,
                          Thank you for your e-mail.  I think you point toward a significant dilemma in religious education.  There is, of course, the cultural issue, which you highlight in noting the busy-ness and overocmmited nature of high school youth.  These cultural issues keep changing all the time.
                          Another, is meeting the theological goals of religious education within programming goals.  As theology continues to inform me that the task of catechesis is "assisting the person in forming a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and/or "inviting them into participation."  These are beautiful goals, but amazingly hard to measure.  As a teacher, and as an administrator, I am constantly called to measure and monitor progress.  This is a profound dilemma for me.  I tend to call on the parable of planting seeds as a referant point.  Nonetheless, I do lots of evaluations and studies to try and verify the effectiveness of what I and my fellow catechists are doing, but it is not easy to quantify "a personal relationship with Jesus."  Balancing faith as "invitational"  with attendance and learning outcomes is tightwire act we are constantly asked to walk.  Taking attendance at Mass is a part of this dilemma.  Of course, I think they should go to
                          Mass as an integral part of being Catholic, but I think my task is to motivate them to do so, nor monitoring their attendance.
                          The best I can bring to this dilemma is my insight as a parent that sooner or later I need to let go, because I have no ultimate control.  Secondly, and this hints back to the cultural perspective, I do not perceive Religious Education as a system to produce Catholics in the same way captilism is a system that produces products.
                          The only portion of your statement I have trouble with is that of sacraments not being our right.  I do believe participation in the sacraments is an essential right of being Catholic.  I need to do my best to prepare those who come forward, further I will urge and cajole families to prepare to their utmost, but in the end I trust it is only the grace of God which makes it work.  I do accept, however, this is an arguable point.
                          Ouch.  This is not an easy subject to deal with because there are so many people with so many different needs wrapped up there. It surfaces many memories, points to many pastoral dilemmas, and hints at the recurring shortness of our imperfection.
                           
                          in the smiles and stories of Jesus,
                           
                          Tom Rinkoski, Director
                          Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
                          St. Augustine Parish & Student Center

                          Gainesville, FL



                          ----- Original Message ----
                          From: Kevin Cody <kevcody@...>
                          To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 12:21:59 AM
                          Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In


                          I'd like to offer a perspective for following up on confirmandi' s commitment to their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament... including participation in the Mass.

                          A problem that we face more today than ever before are families and young people who are so busy that going to Mass has become just another choice amongst many. When commitment to these other activities is required and conflicts with attending Mass, then the family will often opt out of the Mass.

                          We take the perspective that participation with their faith community in the celebration of the Mass by those who are looking to become full members of that community is at least as important for their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation as sitting in a classroom. Consequently, attending Mass is part of the formation program. We take attendance in the classroom (I don't think anyone has a problem with that). As with the Mass, young people are dependant upon adults to get them there. Why can't we have the same expectation with getting them to Mass? We try to get an idea of their commitment to the program and their faith by tracking their envelopes. It becomes one factor in our discussions and discernment with them as to whether they have a genuine desire to be confirmed at this time.

                          It has become evident to us that young people and their families are used to having demands made upon their time, and unless we are one of those organizations saying that this is important enough for us to make demands of you, then they do not take it seriously.

                          Unless we challenge and impress upon young people and their families the importance of coming together as a faith community, then how do we motivate these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful relationship with Jesus? Jesus is calling us to gather around the table in community. Confirmation is a completion of the baptismal promise to be a follower of Jesus within His Church....To live our lives as Catholics with the help of the Holy Spirit. How can we tell the bishop that our confirmandi are ready to be fully initiated into the Church when they don't join their faith community at Mass?

                          Reception of the sacraments is not a basic right. It is our obligation as ministers of the Church not to ignore someone who is not properly disposed to entering into the sacrament. We are not doing those we serve a favor by allowing them to go through the motions with a once-in-a-lifetime sacrament without at least a discussion. What a difference we have seen when someone comes to us later when they have genuine desire to be confirmed!

                          It's a fine line we walk between being pastoral and providing our parishioners what they want, and also sometimes prayerfully challenging them on what we see Jesus asks of them (and us).

                          Together in Christ,

                          Kevin



                          Tom Craig <deacontc83@yahoo. com> wrote:
                          Perhaps what's needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish, and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of Eucharist and Sacraments, how it is freely given and freely received. Good luck

                          Tom

                          --- On Tue, 7/1/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. com> wrote:

                          From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. com>
                          Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                          To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                          Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 1:38 PM

                          I agree with everyone that sign-in for Mass just doesn't seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative' to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in good company!

                          diana

                          --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfra n kfort.com> wrote:

                          From: jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfra n kfort.com>
                          Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                          To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                          Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM

                          Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
                          the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
                          attend.
                          At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
                          candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
                          name and sponsor, mass attendance).
                          Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
                          Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
                          the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
                          time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
                          the weekends.
                          While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
                          RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
                          parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
                          is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
                          parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
                          children on things they have no control over.
                          So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
                          five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
                          Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
                          ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
                          They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
                          they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
                          This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
                          out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
                          RE program.
                          This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
                          it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
                          welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
                          parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
                          why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
                          are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
                          prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
                          We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
                          so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
                          of the Body of Christ.
                          Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Diana Solomon
                          Along this line, I had a parent in to see me yesterday. She was concerned that the requirements for Confirmation i.e., weekly Mass attendance, service hours,
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jul 10, 2008
                            Along this line, I had a parent in to see me yesterday. She was concerned that the "requirements for Confirmation" i.e., weekly Mass attendance, service hours, etc. would become just "more stuff to do and keep track of" rather than bringing spiritualitiy and an understanding of what it means to be confirmed to her teen. I am DRE of elementary and essentially can only make suggestions to those in charge of the Confirmation program, but I was in serious agreement with what she was saying. In this day and age, an approach must be taken which can meet these teens where they are in their lives and faith, and draw them into the beauty of the Holy Spirit, which is what Confirmation is all about. Yes, Mass attendance is a must, as are all the other requirements that seem too harsh to the busy parents and teens. However, if the teens and parents dont' understand why they are important, they do become just more "stuff to do".
                             
                            Explaining fully and deeply at a level the kids can understand why these requirements are put in place, what we hope they will learn from them, as well as showing them the beauty of the Catholic faith can help them want to be at Mass, as well as want to accomplish the other commitments asked of them. As we were talking, I noticed that this mother didn't quite understand what the required service hours were meant to do for her child. I moved the discussion toward this explanation, and I asked her to sit with her child, find out where his interests and concerns lie regarding the world around him. Once I suggested using his interests and concerns as a starting point, she began to get excited and told me she understood and was sure she could get him to want to do something that would fulfill this requirement happily.
                             
                            I know the faith is more complicated than merely helping a child reach out to someone in a nursing home or working on an enviromental situation in his area, but it's a beginning. I've seen kids get excited about those things, which became the catalyst for their wanting to attend Mass without a complaint as the realization of how all things connect to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit sank in through this work of service. Sharing our faith with families is much harder now than it was just a few decades ago. The families who put the Church, faith and God first are fewer and far between as sports and other activities push them out. This makes our job even harder as we try and pull teens and families back to the point of God being the center.
                             
                            My next job is to try and convince those in control of the Confirmation program that they have to stop making this preparation about the requirements and make it more about the sacrament. In our program, the Holy Spirit and meaning of the Sacrament is completely lost amonst the rules and requirements. Finding ways to help the teens understand that this sacrament is meant to complete their baptism and enrich their lives with the Holy Spirit should be the main focus of Confirmation prep, in my opinion. They need to do more than recite the words 'Come Holy Spirit". They need to learn to meaningfully call out  "Come Holy Spirit" and use the gifts with which the Holy Spirit has blessed them. Mass attendance and everything else will make much more sense to them if they do.




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • lastdazeman
                            I picked up a quote from my friend Kyle that puts a whole different spin on the attendence thing. isn t something you come to, but something you go
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jul 10, 2008
                              I picked up a quote from my friend Kyle that puts a whole different
                              spin on the attendence thing. "isn't something you 'come to,' but
                              something you 'go from.'" - Kyle

                              This may be a different way to present attendance to folks. Don't
                              think of it as something you have to come-to as something that sends
                              you out, like a launching pad.

                              LastDazeMan

                              --- In dre-talk@yahoogroups.com, Diana Solomon <dianal320@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Along this line, I had a parent in to see me yesterday. She was
                              concerned that the "requirements for Confirmation" i.e., weekly Mass
                              attendance, service hours, etc. would become just "more stuff to do
                              and keep track of" rather than bringing spiritualitiy and an
                              understanding of what it means to be confirmed to her teen. I am DRE
                              of elementary and essentially can only make suggestions to those in
                              charge of the Confirmation program, but I was in serious agreement
                              with what she was saying. In this day and age, an approach must be
                              taken which can meet these teens where they are in their lives and
                              faith, and draw them into the beauty of the Holy Spirit, which is
                              what Confirmation is all about. Yes, Mass attendance is a must, as
                              are all the other requirements that seem too harsh to the busy
                              parents and teens. However, if the teens and parents dont'
                              understand why they are important, they do become just more "stuff
                              to do".
                              >  
                              > Explaining fully and deeply at a level the kids can understand why
                              these requirements are put in place, what we hope they will learn
                              from them, as well as showing them the beauty of the Catholic faith
                              can help them want to be at Mass, as well as want to accomplish the
                              other commitments asked of them. As we were talking, I noticed that
                              this mother didn't quite understand what the required service hours
                              were meant to do for her child. I moved the discussion toward this
                              explanation, and I asked her to sit with her child, find out where
                              his interests and concerns lie regarding the world around him. Once
                              I suggested using his interests and concerns as a starting point,
                              she began to get excited and told me she understood and was sure she
                              could get him to want to do something that would fulfill this
                              requirement happily.
                              >  
                              > I know the faith is more complicated than merely helping a child
                              reach out to someone in a nursing home or working on an enviromental
                              situation in his area, but it's a beginning. I've seen kids get
                              excited about those things, which became the catalyst for their
                              wanting to attend Mass without a complaint as the realization of how
                              all things connect to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit sank in through
                              this work of service. Sharing our faith with families is much harder
                              now than it was just a few decades ago. The families who put the
                              Church, faith and God first are fewer and far between as sports and
                              other activities push them out. This makes our job even harder as we
                              try and pull teens and families back to the point of God being the
                              center.
                              >  
                              > My next job is to try and convince those in control of the
                              Confirmation program that they have to stop making this preparation
                              about the requirements and make it more about the sacrament. In our
                              program, the Holy Spirit and meaning of the Sacrament is completely
                              lost amonst the rules and requirements. Finding ways to help the
                              teens understand that this sacrament is meant to complete their
                              baptism and enrich their lives with the Holy Spirit should be the
                              main focus of Confirmation prep, in my opinion. They need to do more
                              than recite the words 'Come Holy Spirit". They need to learn
                              to meaningfully call out  "Come Holy Spirit" and use the gifts with
                              which the Holy Spirit has blessed them. Mass attendance and
                              everything else will make much more sense to them if they do.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • Barbara Prata
                              I couldn r agree more!  When we open the door to the understanding of the sacrament, the  requirements cease being required but become a natural part of
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jul 10, 2008
                                I couldn'r agree more!  When we open the door to the understanding of the sacrament, the  requirements cease being required but become a natural part of everyday life.  Our approach to service hours is a little different.  We don't require "hours" but activities.  We call our service "acts of Christian kindness" and each candidate is required to perform four activities each year of prep.  One activity in each of the following categories: one as an individual, one with their peers (friends, classmates, etc.), one with their family/adult, and one with the whole group.  We try not to specify particular projects as musts...but ask the candidates to look at their gifts and talents and use them.  The response has been tremendous.  We've had enormous activities like kids running car washes to raise money for a new wheelchair for a child, a bake sale to raise awareness of the plight of the African elephant, a tee shirt sale to raise money and awareness
                                of eating disorders...and more everyday activities like shovelling snow, raking leaves, taking out trash cans for elderly neighbors, tutoring, etc.  Many of our studens are required to perform service hours for school.  We don't ask them to duplicate those activities.  The purpose of this "requirement" for Confirmatio is to help the candidates realize their place and need and contribution to the Church and the world at large.  We don't want them to stop doing good when they have complete their "hours"...and, unfortunately, that was the case many times before.  We remind them that their gifts and talents are very much needed today.  We do not ask for documentation of what they did.  We give them reflection questions (printed right in the Confirmation handbook) to think about when they perform an activity.
                                 
                                How did I bring Christ to this activity?
                                How did I bring what the Church teaches in this activity?
                                Did I meet Jesus there?
                                How did I come away with a new understanding of Christ in my life by doing this (what did I learn)?
                                 
                                These reflection questions are asked of the candidates at their interview.  We let them pick the activity that they want to talk about.  This segues nicely into a reminder that acts of Christian kindness aren't going to end with Confirmation.
                                 
                                This approach seems to work with the candidates.  Mass attendance increases when they feel a sense of being needed.  Many post-Confirmation teens actively participate more in the parish as lectors, ministers of Holy Communion, peer ministers on retreat, and other parish and diocesan activities.  These teens need to feel that they are an important part of the Church now!

                                --- On Thu, 7/10/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@...> wrote:

                                From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@...>
                                Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                                To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 4:28 AM






                                Along this line, I had a parent in to see me yesterday. She was concerned that the "requirements for Confirmation" i.e., weekly Mass attendance, service hours, etc. would become just "more stuff to do and keep track of" rather than bringing spiritualitiy and an understanding of what it means to be confirmed to her teen. I am DRE of elementary and essentially can only make suggestions to those in charge of the Confirmation program, but I was in serious agreement with what she was saying. In this day and age, an approach must be taken which can meet these teens where they are in their lives and faith, and draw them into the beauty of the Holy Spirit, which is what Confirmation is all about. Yes, Mass attendance is a must, as are all the other requirements that seem too harsh to the busy parents and teens. However, if the teens and parents dont' understand why they are important, they do become just more "stuff to do".
                                 
                                Explaining fully and deeply at a level the kids can understand why these requirements are put in place, what we hope they will learn from them, as well as showing them the beauty of the Catholic faith can help them want to be at Mass, as well as want to accomplish the other commitments asked of them. As we were talking, I noticed that this mother didn't quite understand what the required service hours were meant to do for her child. I moved the discussion toward this explanation, and I asked her to sit with her child, find out where his interests and concerns lie regarding the world around him. Once I suggested using his interests and concerns as a starting point, she began to get excited and told me she understood and was sure she could get him to want to do something that would fulfill this requirement happily.
                                 
                                I know the faith is more complicated than merely helping a child reach out to someone in a nursing home or working on an enviromental situation in his area, but it's a beginning. I've seen kids get excited about those things, which became the catalyst for their wanting to attend Mass without a complaint as the realization of how all things connect to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit sank in through this work of service. Sharing our faith with families is much harder now than it was just a few decades ago. The families who put the Church, faith and God first are fewer and far between as sports and other activities push them out. This makes our job even harder as we try and pull teens and families back to the point of God being the center.
                                 
                                My next job is to try and convince those in control of the Confirmation program that they have to stop making this preparation about the requirements and make it more about the sacrament. In our program, the Holy Spirit and meaning of the Sacrament is completely lost amonst the rules and requirements. Finding ways to help the teens understand that this sacrament is meant to complete their baptism and enrich their lives with the Holy Spirit should be the main focus of Confirmation prep, in my opinion. They need to do more than recite the words 'Come Holy Spirit". They need to learn to meaningfully call out  "Come Holy Spirit" and use the gifts with which the Holy Spirit has blessed them. Mass attendance and everything else will make much more sense to them if they do.

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                              • Kevin Cody
                                Diana, I would guess that the people who coordinate your Confirmation program do not have their focus on the requirements. You may get that impression from
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jul 10, 2008
                                  Diana,

                                  I would guess that the people who coordinate your Confirmation program do not have their focus on the requirements. You may get that impression from parents who do make that their focus. Because there are requirements, does not mean that the primary focus of your Confirmation team is not on the Holy Spirit and meaning of the sacrament. I can say that we have requirements which point to our primary objectives.....to lead our young people into a special encounter with the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation, and to enter more deeply into relationship as a member of the Body of Christ.

                                  I agree with you that part of our task is to lead our young people and their families into a greater understanding of the importance of the Mass. We can try to explain over & over again in their classrooms, but unless they enter into the mystery of the Mass by actually attending and participating in the Mass, they will not be able to understand the value. They may actually want to go Mass on occasion, but they are being pulled away by other requirements.....Or they may just want to rest on a Sunday morning after a busy week. An example is my own teenage daughters. Sometimes they balk at having to go to Mass.....they'd rather not have to get out of bed, or shower and get ready, or do something else with their friends. If it were not a requirement within our household to go to Mass, they would not go many times......but, they have later expressed that they were glad that they did go. (These same feelings hold true for my wife & I). Sometimes we all need a push to do
                                  the right thing. Bottom-line: Catechesis must go hand-in-hand with necessary requirements, otherwise you're right, the requirements just become hoops to jump through.
                                  Your story also points to the need for adult faith formation for us to be effective.

                                  [It's sad when you see that to be a member of a football team requires 2 hour practices every day of the week, and you hear few complaints; and then you hear that an expectation to praise & worship the Lord in community 1 hour during the week is too harsh!]

                                  Diana Solomon <dianal320@...> wrote:
                                  Along this line, I had a parent in to see me yesterday. She was concerned that the "requirements for Confirmation" i.e., weekly Mass attendance, service hours, etc. would become just "more stuff to do and keep track of" rather than bringing spiritualitiy and an understanding of what it means to be confirmed to her teen. I am DRE of elementary and essentially can only make suggestions to those in charge of the Confirmation program, but I was in serious agreement with what she was saying. In this day and age, an approach must be taken which can meet these teens where they are in their lives and faith, and draw them into the beauty of the Holy Spirit, which is what Confirmation is all about. Yes, Mass attendance is a must, as are all the other requirements that seem too harsh to the busy parents and teens. However, if the teens and parents dont' understand why they are important, they do become just more "stuff to do".

                                  Explaining fully and deeply at a level the kids can understand why these requirements are put in place, what we hope they will learn from them, as well as showing them the beauty of the Catholic faith can help them want to be at Mass, as well as want to accomplish the other commitments asked of them. As we were talking, I noticed that this mother didn't quite understand what the required service hours were meant to do for her child. I moved the discussion toward this explanation, and I asked her to sit with her child, find out where his interests and concerns lie regarding the world around him. Once I suggested using his interests and concerns as a starting point, she began to get excited and told me she understood and was sure she could get him to want to do something that would fulfill this requirement happily.

                                  I know the faith is more complicated than merely helping a child reach out to someone in a nursing home or working on an enviromental situation in his area, but it's a beginning. I've seen kids get excited about those things, which became the catalyst for their wanting to attend Mass without a complaint as the realization of how all things connect to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit sank in through this work of service. Sharing our faith with families is much harder now than it was just a few decades ago. The families who put the Church, faith and God first are fewer and far between as sports and other activities push them out. This makes our job even harder as we try and pull teens and families back to the point of God being the center.

                                  My next job is to try and convince those in control of the Confirmation program that they have to stop making this preparation about the requirements and make it more about the sacrament. In our program, the Holy Spirit and meaning of the Sacrament is completely lost amonst the rules and requirements. Finding ways to help the teens understand that this sacrament is meant to complete their baptism and enrich their lives with the Holy Spirit should be the main focus of Confirmation prep, in my opinion. They need to do more than recite the words 'Come Holy Spirit". They need to learn to meaningfully call out "Come Holy Spirit" and use the gifts with which the Holy Spirit has blessed them. Mass attendance and everything else will make much more sense to them if they do.

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                                • Micheleiw@aol.com
                                  Greetings! I have been interested in everyone s perspective on Mass... People s input on what they do with service and the importance of engaging liturgies and
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jul 10, 2008
                                    Greetings!
                                    I have been interested in everyone's perspective on Mass...
                                    People's input on what they do with service and the importance of engaging
                                    liturgies and adult formation;
                                    Kevin's PS comment about parents not blinking when baseball, football, dance
                                    has requirements.

                                    Sunday we heard in the Gospel Jesus say, "Come to me all you are weary and
                                    heavily burdened." Our homilist presented a situation with a woman heavily
                                    burdened by the Church's teaching on divorce and re-marriage. Of course, we were
                                    thinking the Gospel was for her. He then shared Jesus's teaching on
                                    divorce--remarry you are committing adultery. Oh my gosh, how harsh! His point was that
                                    we live in a tension between compassion and understanding and the need for
                                    goals/standards/requirements. How gracefully do we maneuver in the tension? (How
                                    do we gracefully maneuver in the tension?)

                                    That said....we do have expectations of 'full, conscious and active
                                    participation in the mission of Christ and the life of the Church.' We explain to
                                    parents and youth that this means we gather with the Church weekly, but it also
                                    means we practice full conscious and active participation at home, school, work,
                                    the neighborhood, world. We explore what that might look like in all those
                                    places--not necessarily getting straight A's, but showing up, doing homework,
                                    getting help when they need it; not doing 'chores' at home, but pitching in
                                    willingly; becoming informed about issues and voting when they come of age;
                                    stepping up at work; moving from holding up the wall or hanging out in the balcony to
                                    sitting in the Assembly at Mass. Our interviews are about how that is looking
                                    in their lives. Hopefully we have planted seeds that will grow sometime.

                                    Our catechetical programs strive to provide opportunities for the young
                                    people to encounter Christ, purchase the best materials available, surround them
                                    with people of contagious faith, but we only plant seeds. The Spirit happens in
                                    the cracks.

                                    Someday let's explore infant baptism....once baptized people do have the
                                    right to every other sacrament (unless you are a woman...OOOPs.)

                                    Blessings.

                                    Michele



                                    **************
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                                  • Dan1schwie@aol.com
                                    Tom, Your comments are always so well?written and humbly presented.? Thanks. Mass attendance.....difficult.? We cannot force but we sure can have
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jul 29, 2008
                                      Tom,

                                      Your comments are always so well?written and humbly presented.? Thanks.

                                      Mass attendance.....difficult.? We cannot force but we sure can have expectations.?
                                      I liked your comment that we should make sure the laity have expressed their expectations of what we?leaders have?for a mass celebration: music that one can participate in and that makes you want to dance and sing, homilies that are well prepared and from the heart and not just a homily guide, ritual that moves forward and not done just because "folks" should be in mass for an hour plus...therefore four stanzas, long processions, "dishes" done on the banquet table (and then only by trained men), we are told to go in peace to love and serve while holding us for another three or four stanzas of a closing song, etc.

                                      I have generally tried to offer catechesis before Sunday masses so that the mass and catechesis flows together - especially given the busy and difficult time families have getting everything in.?This at time meant three or four sessions from 8 AM to 2 PM. ?Secondly, I make the expectation that catechesis and worship is one continuing event.? The younger children gather for the liturgy of the word following catechesis and then join the parents in church at the offering time...if they?exit through another door?at that point, well there is a limit to what expectation can accomplish.? If I meet these early exiting children outside, I ask them if they would have done the same to their grandmother - just kissed her and walked out the door - when visiting on Sunday!? Some say yes!

                                      The older youth are walked to the church for mass....if they go in but then out another door....I have the?same feeling that there is a limit to expectations.? Many of the parents find this "expectation" helpful to overcoming the resistance of themselves and the children of "going" to mass" ("going" - a left over word from the times when we didn't participate in the celebration which still too often happens from poor liturgical planning and leadership). Also, I have seen in the course of the years, that parents who "give in to this expectation" because they want their child in catecheses are?often have at least a small conversion and more frequently participate regularly in mass during the non-catechetical parts of the year.? Children are a good instrument for conversion.?

                                      Expectations for children are requirements in my family.? As a Christian family, I don't see anything wrong with mass being a requirements.? My kids would have stayed home from school most days of the week if it had only been an expectation....just like making the bed, helping around the house, etc. requires a bit more than expectations?for the child to grow into seeing its value....even if some of us end up seldom making our bed as adults! (I liked Sr. Hobdy (spelling?) who at a religious conference suggested that married couples shouldn't make their bed so that they were frequently tempted even during the day to have.....and it wasn't a nap!)? Thus, mass requirements in my mind?are a?doable thing although as Tom says, becoming a policeman isn't my job description.? However, working with catechists, liturgical folks, and parents it can be done in a less than?gestapo manor.

                                      I wish I could find a way to convince my pastor to offer a mass following the weekday evening catechesis?to encourage our weekday families to "celebrate the Lord's Day" when it happens for the family - on the weekday.? I'd like to think Sunday is the day for this but I find the modern American society with all its job requirements 7 days a week, no longer allows Sunday the role it use to take.? Families often need to "catch"? worship when it fits in...especially with $4 a gallon gas and the fact that many more live some distance from the church buildings.? Also, for many in our Hispanic community, Sunday is not the day of gathering for the Celebration but the day of a fiesta is the day for mass.? One of the Spanish translations for "Keep the Lord's Day Holy" is Keep the Feast day Holy.? For this thinking, any day you gather with the family for baptism, first communion, confirmation, funerals, 15th, etc. are feast days and a Day of the Lord to keep Holy!? We English speakers?might just learn something from this cross cultural thing!

                                      Dan





                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: Tom Rinkoski <tomrinkoski@...>
                                      To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 1:35 pm
                                      Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In






                                      Wednesday 9 July 2008
                                      Kevin,
                                      Thank you for your e-mail.? I think you?point toward a significant dilemma in religious education.? There is, of course, the cultural issue, which you highlight in noting the busy-ness and overocmmited nature of high school youth.? These cultural issues keep changing all the time.
                                      Another, is meeting the theological goals of religious education within programming goals.? As theology continues to inform me that the task of catechesis is "assisting the person in forming a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and/or "inviting them into participation."? These are beautiful goals, but amazingly hard to measure.? As a teacher, and as an administrator, I am constantly called to measure and monitor progress.? This is a profound dilemma for me.? I tend to call on the parable of planting seeds as a referant point.? Nonetheless, I do lots of evaluations and studies to try and verify the effectiveness of what I and my fellow catechists are doing, but it is not easy to quantify "a personal relationship with Jesus."??Balancing faith as "invitational"? with attendance and learning outcomes is tightwire act we are constantly asked to walk.? Taking attendance at Mass is a part of this dilemma.? Of course, I think they should go to
                                      Mass as an integral part of?being Catholic, but I think my task is to motivate them to do so, nor monitoring their attendance.
                                      The best I can?bring to this dilemma is my insight as a parent that sooner or later I need to let go, because I have no ultimate control.? Secondly, and this hints back to the cultural perspective, I do not perceive Religious Education?as a system to produce Catholics in the same way captilism is a system that produces products.
                                      The only portion of your statement I have trouble with is that of sacraments not being our right.? I?do?believe participation in the sacraments is an essential right of being Catholic.? I need to do my best to prepare those who come forward, further I will urge and cajole families to prepare to their utmost, but?in the end I trust it is only the grace of God which makes it work.? I do accept, however, this is an arguable point.
                                      Ouch.? This is not an?easy subject to deal with because there are so many people with so many different needs wrapped up?there. It surfaces many memories, points to many pastoral dilemmas, and hints at the recurring?shortness of our imperfection.
                                      ?
                                      in the smiles and stories of Jesus,
                                      ?
                                      Tom Rinkoski, Director
                                      Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
                                      St. Augustine Parish & Student Center

                                      Gainesville, FL

                                      ----- Original Message ----
                                      From: Kevin Cody <kevcody@...>
                                      To: dre-talk@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 12:21:59 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In

                                      I'd like to offer a perspective for following up on confirmandi' s commitment to their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament... including participation in the Mass.

                                      A problem that we face more today than ever before are families and young people who are so busy that going to Mass has become just another choice amongst many. When commitment to these other activities is required and conflicts with attending Mass, then the family will often opt out of the Mass.

                                      We take the perspective that participation with their faith community in the celebration of the Mass by those who are looking to become full members of that community is at least as important for their faith formation and preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation as sitting in a classroom. Consequently, attending Mass is part of the formation program. We take attendance in the classroom (I don't think anyone has a problem with that). As with the Mass, young people are dependant upon adults to get them there. Why can't we have the same expectation with getting them to Mass? We try to get an idea of their commitment to the program and their faith by tracking their envelopes. It becomes one factor in our discussions and discernment with them as to whether they have a genuine desire to be confirmed at this time.

                                      It has become evident to us that young people and their families are used to having demands made upon their time, and unless we are one of those organizations saying that this is important enough for us to make demands of you, then they do not take it seriously.

                                      Unless we challenge and impress upon young people and their families the importance of coming together as a faith community, then how do we motivate these young people toward a life of prayer in the light of a meaningful relationship with Jesus? Jesus is calling us to gather around the table in community. Confirmation is a completion of the baptismal promise to be a follower of Jesus within His Church....To live our lives as Catholics with the help of the Holy Spirit. How can we tell the bishop that our confirmandi are ready to be fully initiated into the Church when they don't join their faith community at Mass?

                                      Reception of the sacraments is not a basic right. It is our obligation as ministers of the Church not to ignore someone who is not properly disposed to entering into the sacrament. We are not doing those we serve a favor by allowing them to go through the motions with a once-in-a-lifetime sacrament without at least a discussion. What a difference we have seen when someone comes to us later when they have genuine desire to be confirmed!

                                      It's a fine line we walk between being pastoral and providing our parishioners what they want, and also sometimes prayerfully challenging them on what we see Jesus asks of them (and us).

                                      Together in Christ,

                                      Kevin

                                      Tom Craig <deacontc83@yahoo. com> wrote:
                                      Perhaps what's needed is to discuss what they possibly hope to accomplish, and also the concept discussed here about learning more about the gift of Eucharist and Sacraments, how it is freely given and freely received. Good luck

                                      Tom

                                      --- On Tue, 7/1/08, Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. com> wrote:

                                      From: Diana Solomon <dianal320@yahoo. com>
                                      Subject: Re: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                                      To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                                      Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 1:38 PM

                                      I agree with everyone that sign-in for Mass just doesn't seem to be appropriate nor is it what the sacrament of Confirmation is about. I just don't know how to get the Confirmation leaders to understand this. The pastor seems to be backing their sign-in process. I am very uncomfortable with this, as I mentioned, and was hoping to find something 'authoritative' to back my feelings. Thanks for all your comments. I am happy to know I'm in good company!

                                      diana

                                      --- On Tue, 7/1/08, jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfra n kfort.com> wrote:

                                      From: jcaschetta <janet@stanthonyfra n kfort.com>
                                      Subject: [dre-talk] Re: Mass Sign-In
                                      To: dre-talk@yahoogroup s.com
                                      Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 11:19 AM

                                      Our program hosts a Confirmation Orientation during the summer between
                                      the 7th grade and 8th grade years - the candidate and one parent has to
                                      attend.
                                      At the orientation, we explain everything that will be expected of the
                                      candidate throughout the year (service, retreats, paperwork, chosing a
                                      name and sponsor, mass attendance).
                                      Concerning mass attendance, we explain that we are all the Body of
                                      Christ, and they are missed when they do not attend. We explain that
                                      the beautiful rhythm and flow of the mass, can not be taught in class
                                      time, that is learned through experience. We welcome them to join us on
                                      the weekends.
                                      While this is all true, it is not practical in families today. We have
                                      RE families that have working parents, uncatechized parents, single
                                      parents, non-Catholic parents, non-practicing parents, etc. Our parish
                                      is not within walking distance for children. Children rely on their
                                      parents to drive them where they need to go. We can not judge the
                                      children on things they have no control over.
                                      So after explaining and understanding all this, we give each student
                                      five "attendance tickets". They are asked to attend at least 5 Weekend
                                      Masses from August through March at our church. They can place the
                                      ticket in the collection basket or give it to their catechist.
                                      They can come once a month or if they are regular Sunday attendees,
                                      they can fill them out five Sunday's in a row.
                                      This is an on your honor program, if a parent wants to fill the form
                                      out with out attending, that is for our Lord to judge, not our parish
                                      RE program.
                                      This has been successful for the past three years we have implimented
                                      it. Families do make it a point to attend, and many comment on how
                                      welcoming and wonderful the mass was. Sometimes it is the every week
                                      parents that complain: "you know we are here, you see us every week,
                                      why do we have to do this?" comments. We thank them and explain how we
                                      are trying to bring other families back to church and appreciate their
                                      prayers and support for others parents that it is a struggle for.
                                      We have to make sure our liturgy is inviting, engaging and hospitable,
                                      so when those who don't attend regularly do come, they feel like a part
                                      of the Body of Christ.
                                      Just another idea to encourage, yet not demand their participation.

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