At Franciscan University of Steubenville, I teach courses in Catechesis, Scripture, Church History, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and Music Ministry… so there is a wide range of topics that I can address. Here are some of the more popular workshops that I present on. The ideal time is 75-90 minutes to allow for Q&A.
Proclaiming Christ Crucified
St. Paul is rightly considered the greatest theologian of all time, yet he sought to convey one simple truth: “I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Like the beauty of a monstrance, it is easy to be distracted by the richness of the Church’s many doctrines and yet miss the simple heart of what we are called to proclaim. “On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’” (Francis, Evanagelii Gaudium164). This workshop examines numerous ways to proclaim that message.
Five Characteristics of Effective Catechesis
There is often a confusion within North America about the relationship of education and catechesis. Education is an indispensable part of catechesis, but catechesis seeks a loftier goal: “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae5). The goal of catechesis is not just information, but transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. It must be Christocentric, systematic, organic, kerygmatic, and beautiful. For, “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends” (CCC 25).
The Living Gospel: Catholic Social Teaching
The final teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew tells us that we will be judged by “that which you did to the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). Often misunderstood, the Church’s social teaching is not a partisan platform, an economic policy, or a political party, but rather an integral part of proclaiming and living the good news of Jesus Christ. As stated in the Catechism, “Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God” (CCC 1878). This workshop presents the Scripture and Tradition behind “the Church’s best kept secret”.
The History (and Future) of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the US
The history of the Catholic response to youth and youth culture (or, more accurately, cultures) in the US is a story of successes and failures, of innovation and obstinacy, of despair and hope. Today, the Catholic Church in America finds herself at a nadir in her relationship with youth and young adults. History gives us hope, for it is not the first time that the chasm between the Church and the young has seemed too wide to cross. Examining the successes of the past can provide a blueprint for the future. Will the Church have the courage and creativity necessary to reach young people today? Her survival depends upon it.
A Missionary Approach to Youth and Young Adult Ministry
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18). With the Great Commission, Jesus told a group of Jewish men to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. The Apostles had to learn how to preach the message to different cultures to make it effective, and we must do the same to the culture of young people. “What matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures—not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi20). This workshop examines characteristics of youth and young adult culture, as well as current trends, so we may be more effective in planting the seed of the Gospel.