A Message from the Publisher to the Offices of the Bishop
Welcome to Mother's House Publishing! This is the debut website for God Calls You By Name, the only text whose depth, span of knowledge, documentation, and joy has been approved by the USCCB for conformity to the Catechism.
As Catholics, we currently have serious issues before us concerning the consistent and accurate transmission of the richness of the Church's Deposit of Faith. Some deficits have occurred in that transmission due to inadequate catechesis that has taken place throughout several decades following Vatican II. Mother's House Publishing is committed to healing it with our premier texts for RCIA. It is our sincere desire to equip Inquirers, who become in many cases Catechumens and Candidates, with the strength of the Church's wisdom as codified in our Canon Law, Catechism, and other documents so that their Perseverance in the Faith lasts a lifetime.
Parishes often deal with limited means, oft-changing volunteers, and staff with varying backgrounds in the Faith. God Calls You By Name strives to mitigate these issues by bringing a comprehensive body of knowledge to the Catechist and Director that is fully documented and available for implementation through both by correlating lessons with the Sunday Liturgical Readings and through the familiar educational process of chapter by chapter learning.
The homepage of our website, which supplements our text, is filled with Catechist training support, from the 10 video shorts explaining aspects of RCIA, to The Art of Directing RCIA, a free download book written especially for the first year a person takes on the responsibility of managing or facilitating RCIA. Our gratitude is extended to our bishop, Michael Sheridan, our bishop emeritus, Richard Hanifen, Monsignor Don Dunn, and Deacon Pat Bidon for their generous contribution of time and presence in the video shorts.
Though not requiring every parish to provide the very same RCIA process, God Calls You By Name nevertheless provides a uniformity of quality and content to be utilized as each parish chooses.
Finally, Mother's House Publishing, recognizing that budgets can be a challenge, has established a way for even a parish of very modest means to present the same high quality information in Sessions for the purpose of permitting Participants the opportunity to come to know, understand, internalize, and fully embrace the Catholic Church. See the “Cost Comparison Chart” for more detailed information.
In the 21st Century, information has become the name of the age! Mother's House Publishing wants to make sure that the knowledge transmitted meets the demands of our Information Age while maintaining the Truth of the Church and making it available to every parish in every diocese in America. If you feel that this website will be of service to the parishes in your diocese, please forward the link to each of your DREs: Godcallsyoubyname.org.
Attached to this document is an article written by the author of God Calls You By Name for “The Colorado Catholic Herald”, newspaper for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and appearing in the September 3, 2010 issue, explaining the urgent need for healing the breech of catechesis before it is too late. It is printed here with permission.
The Joshua Generation -- An Urgent Call to 60-Something Catholics
Are you a 60-something Catholic? An urgent challenge beckons! Rarely, the specific time when people were born defines their ability to create change in a critical area of human endeavor. For a small cohort of Catholics, who were born around World War II and came of age during Vatican II, the time is now! The endeavor is Catholic catechesis. I call this cohort the "Joshua Generation."
Joshua, son of Nun, was born amid slavery and came of age during the Exodus. Joshua defeated Amalek while Moses prayed. (Exodus 17:8-13) He remained at Moses' side during the 40-year desert journey, then led the Israelites into the Promised Land. (Num. 27:19-23) (Jos. 1:1-3)
Today's "Joshua Generation" was born during a global crisis and grew amid historically unique circumstances. Flourishing Catholic schools of the 1950s provided challenging, Christ-centered education. We followed the Mass response, "And with your spirit" in Latin-English missals. The horrific atom bomb tugged at the leash of deterrence as the "Cold War" against communism took shape. Those not shepherded into moral rectitude by family or nuns were welded to the Ten Commandments by the threat of nuclear annihilation and eternal damnation. We grew up, certain that we wouldn't grow up! Vatican II convened in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Vatican II's first session climaxed in sacred pomp on December 4, 1962; the missile conflict eased into a chronically tense blockade. Life would go on!
Is the parallel taking shape? Consider the Joshua Generation's resume'. Teens challenged segregation through "freedom rides" and the 1963 March on Washington [and changed society forever]. Many fought to contain communism in Vietnam. We entered colleges, novitiates, and seminaries while Vatican II stretched through 1965. We devoured the momentous Constitution on the Liturgy and other documents, hot off the press, before contents were misinterpreted. Religious identity flourished in the fresh air of Vatican II. Open to the Holy Spirit, young Catholics initiated the charismatic movement and wrote songs that supported vernacular liturgical development. We became priests, parents, and educators. The permanent diaconate opened unprecedented opportunities for married men to minister. Schools of Theology offered innovative advanced degrees to Catholics interested in lay ecclesial ministry.
Tremendous dissent fermented during the maelstrom of clashing ideologies that mauled the meaning of Vatican II. Vocal dissenters of the 1960s through the 80s belonged to previous generations; some Joshua Generation members dissented by absconding. Religious congregations, revisiting their founders' charisma, broadened their ministry beyond parochial school systems; various individuals sought Christian life outside institutional affiliation.
The Joshua Generation's children entered a shifting milieu that valued freedom over discipline and preferred self-fulfillment to self-sacrifice. A society increasingly at ease with diversity also tolerated sin, expelling God from the classroom. Peer pressure favored sexual expression over virtue. The Mass was sometimes explained as a communal gathering rather than as the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary and sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ. Catechesis was reformatted to accentuate experience and feeling over sound doctrine and objective morality. Dogma was fragmented and glued to arts, crafts, balloons and butterflies. Parochial schools became expensive. Religion was studied an hour per week, 26 weeks per year. Children were cajoled rather than commanded to participate in Mass and classes. Documents of Vatican II, which directed us to return to the pristine Apostolic Tradition, were paradoxically misinterpreted as breaking from more recent traditions concretized by the Council of Trent (1545-1563). This dichotomy between continuity and contrast characterized the forty-year journey of the Church since Vatican II.
In the 1970s, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults was implemented. Its format followed patterns of feeling-oriented pedagogy similar to the children's programs. Consequently, adults becoming Catholic through RCIA received a highly emotive introduction to Catholicism, generally deficient in doctrinal content. Discouraging retention rates have resulted from exhilarating encounters that lacked permanent commitment.
The Joshua Generation's children's children have become immersed in the secular culture of self-indulgence, drugs and sexual expressiveness. Prayer is forbidden in schools; sinful lifestyles are treated as rights. Catholic schools educate a few, at a price. For most children, 26 hours per year of catechesis are taught by volunteers who possess limited knowledge of Catholic doctrine.
Meanwhile, forty soul-shaping years later, Joshua Generation members have become bishops, pastors, deacons, catechists, and loving grandparents. Time to retire? God has given us added years, health, a bit of wisdom, a unique perspective, and wonderful opportunities. Like Joshua, we must lead the church in fusing our apostolic roots with our future.
On the cusp of the third generation of post-Vatican II Catholics, we urgently need a robust catechetical renewal to prevent a widespread, long-term deficiency of basic formation in Catholic Faith and morals. Thanks to the very timing of our birth, God calls 60-something Catholics today! We must replace inadequate catechetical programs with methodologies that both conform to the teaching magisterium of the Church and inflame the heart. We should mentor young catechists. Grandparents, help parents hand on their faith. All can pray for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, consecrated life, and dedicated lay ministry.
The church will continue as Jesus promised. (Matt 16:18) However, it has alternatively thrived and struggled in the past. If we allow a third generation to grow up with inadequate formation, recovering a vibrant Catholic fervor will soon become extremely difficult. The future begs us Joshua Generation Catholics to hand on the Deposit of Faith we received from our predecessors. All too soon, we will become the predecessors.
©2010 Joyce Stolberg. Joyce Stolberg is the author of God Calls You by Name,
published by Mother's House Publishing of Colorado Springs, CO.