November 17, 2006

Go and Make Disciples / John Valenti

Meeting the needs of adult Catholics

There are the conventional parish programs: marriage preparation, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Vacation Bible School.

There are the unconventional programs: “Apologetics 101,” Lighthouse Media and “The Bible Challenge Quiz.”

Then there are the creative programs: M.O.M.S. (Ministry of Mothers Sharing), inter-religious neighborhood groups, the Catholic Adult Lending Library and special outreach classes for Spanish-speaking Catholics.

These programs are offered in a variety of parishes to respond to our call for life-long, adult faith formation. More specifically, they respond to the real faith and spiritual needs of our Catholic people.

According to Jonathan Chamblee, coordinator of religious education at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove, “Many of our Catholics feel they need comprehensible answers to some of life’s difficult questions, especially when it comes to explaining our Catholic faith to non-Catholics.”

“Apologetics 101” is taught by Matt Anglemeyer, a parishioner who offers a fast-paced adventure on defending the faith.

Another response is provided at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany. Using the resources from St. Joseph Communications, the parish Faith Formation Commission began offering free Lighthouse Media CDs on the Catholic faith in the church lobby. The program contains nine CDs and three brochures on various topics.

Many people say Catholics don’t know or read much Scripture. The remedy? St. Louis Parish in Batesville came up with “The Bible Challenge,” which tests knowledge of Scripture right on the parish’s Web site. Visit it at

St. Mary Parish in Indianapolis offers adult religious formation (formación religiosa para los adultos) for Spanish-speaking Catholics. Many bilingual opportunities are offered for adults, including the yearly tri-parish mission with neighboring Holy Cross and SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral parishes,

St. Philip Neri Parish in Indianapolis reaches out to the neighborhood during the Lenten season with its Neighborhood Cross Ministry. Each year, 40 volunteers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, erect large wooden crosses, made by parishioners, in their yards.

Lorianne Meek and Maria Southwood, members of SS. Francis and Clare Parish in Greenwood, helped create a responsive ministry for moms in the parish. The purpose of M.O.M.S. is to create an awareness of the inner sacred self in women, while at the same time teaching them new ways to inspire, encourage and affirm each other and their ministry as a mother.

St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis provides a Catholic Adult Lending Library, a resource of Catholic and Christian materials for parishioners, lay leaders and clergy.

Our Catholic identity is maturing toward a lifelong process of ongoing faith formation. Along with our systematic and age-appropriate offerings, programs supporting outreach and evangelization, intergenerational and family catechesis, and small Church communities are helping to develop a new generation of faithful Catholics.

(John Valenti is associate director of evangelization and faith formation for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. E-mail him at †

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