From the desk of Fr. Stegbauer

Happy Solemnity of Christ the King. This final Sunday helps us to re-orient ourselves to Him—Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord, enthroned on the Cross, is giving us the example of Christian discipleship. Everything we do is for Him, with Him, and in Him. All for the salvation of souls. He is our King and for that we rejoice!

Which is why I am excited to share some shifts within our Family of Parishes’ faith formation team and vision. Fr. McCullough has asked me to lead the faith formation team of Beth Pettigrew and Jose Martinez. Working as a team has enabled us to unite the vision across all of our parishes while at the same time being aware of the needs of each individual parish.

For years we have been forming students in classroom style models. We always had a diverse sampling of families represented. We have been hoping that teaching the children would filter up to the parents and the rest of the family—just hoping on a prayer that the parents would come know and love Jesus Christ and His Church. This wasn’t working. Our class sizes shrunk year after year. We needed a different approach.

We needed a shift in vision, an invitation and permission to think differently and creatively about evangelization and catechesis for the salvation of souls. For Jesus’ glory! We began Family of Faith—a family-based catechesis model. We have flipped our previous process upside down. We are now working on forming parents first and foremost. Parents, who at their children’s Baptisms promised to keep the light of Christ burning in their children and are the first and primary teachers of the faith for their children. We are bringing parents together so that they can learn from one another to more confidently live and teach the faith naturally at home to their children. We are asking different questions now. Rather than, how do we better form the young people and hope that they influence their parents? Now it is, how do we better form, evangelize, and catechize parents? How do we build the confidence of parents to naturally live and pass on the faith to their families? It is uncomfortable to think about faith formation differently than we have experienced previously. But it is worth it for the salvation of souls.

The faith formation team doesn’t have all of the answers. We, with the catechists, will be asking and re-asking these questions to make sure that we stay focused on the parents and, ultimately, focused on Jesus Christ. I am incredibly excited for the possibilities with this shift in vision. It’ll be a bumpy and messy journey, but along the way, I see new families joining our mission—families that we haven’t seen in a long time. I see more families confidently and naturally living their Catholic faith. I see a growing unity of our Family of Parishes as these families support one another across parish boundaries. I see a focus on Jesus Christ and the salvation of souls.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity will be our new patron for faith formation because of her passion for souls and the universal call to holiness. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray
for us!

In Mary’s Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Stegbauer