Posts Tagged ‘Archbishop Dolan’

The Catechetical Forums: not just for catechists

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Each autumn, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office sponsors two wonderful events that enable catechists and parish religious education leaders to sharpen their teaching skills, increase their knowledge of the faith, and pick up invaluable tips on turning a good parish religious ed program into an excellent one.

This events are called “The Forums” and they take place this month in two convenient sites: this coming Saturday, Saturday, Oct. 8, at Sacred Heart Parish in Monroe and Saturday, Oct. 22, at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Archbishop Dolan will celebrate the opening Mass in Monroe and Cardinal Egan will be the principal celebrant in the Bronx. Pastors and other clergy are cordially invited and encouraged to join them.

In addition to specialized workshops given by veteran religious educators for parish catechists and catechetical leaders, the Forums will offer presentations of interest to all Catholic adults interested in knowing more about the Faith. In this Year of the Mass, Msgr. William Belford, vicar for clergy and an expert on liturgy, will address the new Roman Missal. Another great liturgist, Sr. Janet Baxendale, SC, will lead a workshop titled “I Didn’t Know That!” Other workshop topics include Scripture, justice, media, guided meditation, Christian marriage annulments, vocations and more.

Find out more about the Forums and you wish to attend, you may pay at the door. See you there!


Parish Youth Minister? April 9 could be a big day for your students…and you, too.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

On Saturday, April 9, high-school age youth from around the archdiocese will gather at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains for their very own day of celebration, fun, and workshops on the issues and challenges that face their specific age group.

Depending on your youth group’s plans, it’s either a preliminary for this summer’s World Youth Day in Madrid or a special celebration for New York teens who are not traveling to Spain. The theme reflects the hope of us all for our youth, that they be “Rooted in Christ, Firm in the Faith (Colossians 2:7).” Archbishop Dolan will join in and celebrate Mass.

Organizer Cynthia Martinez, assistant director for Catholic Youth Ministry for the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, and her very energetic (you need to be when you are organizing events for high-school youth) committee are billing the day as “Madrid in New York.”

If you are a high school religious education director and/or youth minister, then this is the opportunity for your youth to join hundreds of other Catholic youth.  The teens get to celebrate who they are – today’s vibrant young Catholic voices – and you, the youth minister, get to network with catechists and youth ministers from across the archdiocese. Awesome music, interesting workshops, lunch and a cool t-shirt are included. Yes, you get a tee shirt, too.

More information, including registration, is here. Questions? Ask Cynthia at

Just remember one thing. The students cannot register individually. You, as the youth minister, have to register them.  See you at Stepinac!

A Treasures on Broadway and Fifth Avenue

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Broadway at 61st Street is the site of a museum that is receiving increasing attention from lovers of religious art…and art in general: The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) at the American Bible Society headquarters.

MOBIA’s current exhibition, which will run through June, is “Passion in Venice:  Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese.” It highlights a theme central to the history of Christianity and Christian art: Christ as the Man of Sorrows described in Isaiah 53. Its origins rooted in Byzantium, the figure entered Venetian art in the late Middle Ages after which it flourished locally for centuries, eventually acquiring its own name in dialect, Cristo Passo. This depiction of Christ, his head bowed down with suffering and death, was a particular devotion for Venetians.

It is truly a spiritual experience to walk through the exhibition room and take in all the representations of the Man of Sorrows. These treasures range from tempera on wood, to marble, even to a polychrome papier mâché depiction that somehow has survived for nearly 500 years.

The exhibit is not huge but it might be emotionally draining for some. On the other hand, our culture doesn’t like to look at suffering and death. Even we Catholics, who have been surrounded by crucifixes all our lives, have lost our sense of shock at the suffering Jesus endured for us. “The Man of Sorrows” might provide the jolt that we need in this season of Lent, a reminder of the Son of God who fulfilled what Isaiah said:

“…he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Speaking of treasures, more than 600 catechumens from all over the Archdiocese will come with their sponsors to St. Patrick’s Cathedral this coming Sunday afternoon. In the presence of Archbishop Dolan, these catechumens will sign the Book of the Elect, another milestone in their RCIA journey to the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist, which they will receive in their parishes at the Easter Vigil. The following Sunday, hundreds of baptized adults seeking full initiation in the Roman Catholic Church at Easter will gather at the Cathedral and three other large churches in Orange County, Dutchess County and Staten Island for the Call to Continuing Conversion.

Isn’t it fascinating that in spite of the bleak picture the mainstream media paints of the Church, people still want to join us!

Is someone calling you?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

If you have been baptized, yes. As I was reminded about a week ago in a homily, the lay faithful  are called to be priests, prophets and kings (or queens). Surprised? Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

All of us are expected to be evangelists; spreading the Gospel is the reason the Church exists. The trick is to be alert for and open to our call from the Holy Spirit, to listen to it, and to act on it.

Perhaps that call is inviting you to become a parish catechist. Oh, you might say, you don’t want to teach little kids. That’s fine. There are are adults and adolescents who want you to pass on the Faith to them in a lively and engaging way. In fact, there is a huge need for catechists of adults and adolescents.

That sounds interesting, you might also say, but you are not a teacher. You never took an education course in your life. If this is your concern, stop worrying. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office has a variety of resources and a training program for catechists that you can take either in live classroom settings or on line.

The Catechist Formation Program is divided into two parts. The first level of formation for a catechist provides you with opportunities for growth as a person of faith; you also learn effective teaching/facilitating skills and develop a plan for your ongoing training and developing spiritual life. The second level of formation deepens your training by focusing on essential areas of theological training, such as Scripture, the Creed, and morality. Your program will focus on the audience you wish to serve: children, adolescents or adults.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Archbishop Dolan will preside over the annual certification ceremony for catechists at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y. He will also award the Catechetical Medal of Honor to those who have given 25 or more years to the ministry of catechesis in the archdiocese. Twenty-five years may seem a very long time but the recipients always say that the years simply flew by.

Perhaps there is a certification ceremony in your future or even a Medal of Honor. If you want to know more about being a catechist and all the wonderful resources available to you, visit our website. Most important of all,  talk to your pastor or to your parish director/coordinator of religious education. Even you are not currently a catechist, take the courses anyway so that when your call comes, you’ll be ready to answer it.

Do we need a bigger Cathedral?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

One would think that St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which seats 2,500 people in the nave alone, would be sufficient for the Archdiocese of New York. But I am beginning to wonder.

Last Sunday and the Sunday before, men and women seeking full initiation in our Church this coming Easter poured into the Cathedral, accompanied by their godparents or sponsors, their pastors, by the parish RCIA teams who are shepherding them on their faith journey, by their families, and by their friends. They filled those seats.

On the first Sunday of Lent, at the Rite of Election, the catechumens – about 600 according to our registration numbers – made their way down the nearly 365-foot main aisle as their individual names were called, to sign the Book of the Elect in the presence of Archbishop Dolan. These catechumens hopefully will be baptized, confirmed and receive First Eucharist in their parish churches on the evening of April 3 at the Easter Vigil.

This past Sunday, undaunted by all the snow that had fallen, more than 700 already-baptized Christians arrived for the Call to Continuing Conversion. This Call is for Christians of other denominations who wish to join our Church, as well as for baptized Catholics who have not yet received the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist. Like the catechumens, these candidates are on a journey to the Easter Vigil, when they will receive those two sacraments.

In one of the great moments of this service, the candidates were called into the sanctuary to stand around Archbishop Dolan as he sat on his cathedra. Believe me when I tell you: there was not an unoccupied inch on the floor of the sanctuary. In fact, the crowd overflowed into the crossing aisle

I had the chance to sit and watch the service on the Cathedral television monitors. It was such a joy to see the happy faces of the candidates in the sanctuary and the proud smiles of their supporters in the pews.  Archbishop Dolan lifted up and held two small children, who gazed around and seemed totally unfazed by all the excitement.

Another 200 or so candidates were scheduled to attend the same rite in Newburgh, N.Y., at the Church of the Sacred Heart. But Newburgh, like all the rest of Orange County, was buried in snow. Don’t worry. It will happen next Sunday.

Even though we are deep in the penitential season of Lent, these two events were occasions for rejoicing.  Archbishop Dolan said he found hard to resist crying out, “Alleluia.” Never mind. We’ll all sing out our alleluias at Easter and again on Sunday, May 16, when all these wonderful, fully initiated members of the Catholic Church will return to the Cathedral for the 10:15 Mass.