February 2019
News and Views for
    Catechetical Leaders  
Published by  
The Catechetical Office 
  Department of Youth Faith Formation 
Archdiocese of New York  
This Month
All in Ministry
All in Ministry
Webmaster's Column
In Memorian
Photo Ops
Guest Columnist
Professional Corner

Save the Date 

Of Special Note   


  NYC Public Schools Sex Education Mandate  


Columns & Quick Links

Dear Director/Coordinator,       
     A few weekends ago, I attended a Woman's Retreat at the Pallotine Spirituality Center in Harriman Orange County, NY.
   While there, I was reading the writings of many great pastors. One in particular struck me as something I wanted to share with you. It was written by St. Vincent Pallotti, the founder of the Pallottine Congregation. MORE  
For All in Ministry  
Annual Professional Day -March 8

Priests and Deacons, Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Adult Faith Formation and the RCIA, this day is for you: the Third Annual Professional Day: Recapturing the Joy of Ministry.

When:  Friday, March 8, 2019,  

            9:30 am -2:30 pm 

Where: The Riverview

             One Warburton Ave,  


Fee:      $25 per person (includes morning hospitality and lunch)   


Come and hear from Katherine Angulo, MA, program director for Thriving in Ministry at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.   

    These are not happy days for our church, yet all who are in ministry are called to reflect what Pope Francis calls "The Joy of the Gospel." How can we do that? How can we recapture the joy of serving God and God's people?

    Spend a day with Katherine Angulo and your colleagues. Be sure to invite your pastor, parochial vicar and deacon, along with all the lay leaders who minister in your parish, too. It would be a real gift to them.  

     More information and registration are available here.


Directors and coordinators of religious education, along with pastors and catechists, can have all the offerings and news of the Catechetical Office on their smartphones and tablets. The Catechetical Office App, "Catechetical," available free at Google Play or the App Store, was created by the Catechetical Office webmaster, Jim Connell.

Visit our website 
Have you checked out the Catechetical Office website today? There are all sorts of informative and enlightening webinars and other learning opportunities, plus up-to-date information on all things catechetical. Be sure to visit www.nyfaithformation.org
Confirmation for Youth with Disabilities
St. Patrick's Cathedral - Sunday, April 28

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation upon a group of young persons with disabilities on April 28, 2019, at the 10:15 A.M. Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Although it is usually recommended persons with disabilities be integrated into their parish ceremonies, this is a special opportunity for the Archdiocese to recognize in a particular way young people with special needs.

    For all present in the Cathedral, it is a reminder of the unique gift each individual is in the Church community. The Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities (paragraph 6) encourages us to bring all baptized persons to the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is truly a joy for these young people and their families to partake in this celebration.
    The celebration of Confirmation for Youth with Disabilities was established more than 30 years ago by the late John Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York from 1984 to his death in 2000. As a young priest, the cardinal had prepared children with Downs Syndrome for First Communion. Children with developmental and physical disabilities remained close to his heart throughout his life.
   Those wishing to register a children for the Confirmation will find the information they need here.

By Jim Connell, Webmaster
"A picture is worth a thousand words."  If that's true, consider what a video may be worth!  There's nothing better than a short, well produced video to reinforce the point of a lesson or to help people think more deeply.  Internet services like YouTube and Vimeo have libraries worth of videos.  Although some may be inappropriate in a catechetical session, there are many that could enhance a lesson.  On the home page of www.nyfaithformation.org, there is space on the homepage called, Featured Video.  This video is changed frequently to provide catechists and catechetical leaders a sample of what is available to them.  If you click the link, "Visit our Video Archive," you'll find an archive of all the videos that have been featured.  Videos are selected with three criteria: they are often connected to the liturgical calendar, a doctrine or Catholic devotion; they are 5 minutes or less in length; and, they are creative/imaginative in presenting an aspect of faith.  Some are geared for children, others for adults.  Check it out and enjoy the show. 
In Memoriam
Sr. Rose O'Rourke, OP
Sr. Rose Michele O'Rourke, OP,  director of religious education at the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Monroe from 1978 through 2018, died on February 17.  For 40 years, she led a team of catechists and other volunteers who handed on the faith to thousands of children a nd youth, along with their families.   
   For the past several years, she and her colleagues hosted the Catechetical Forum for the upper counties of the archdiocese.  
  Her pastor, the Rev. Thomas Byrnes, said at her Mass of Christian Burial that Sr. Rose would be remembered for her hospitality. The Catechetical Office will always be grateful to her for her dedication and friendship.
Photo Ops 
Catechists' Communion Breakfast
On Saturday, February 23, more than 220 catechists and  catechetical leaders gathered at the Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson for the annual Catechists' Mass and Communion Breakfast. Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan was the principal celebrant of the Mass. He was joined by the Rev. Joseph LaMorte, Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and by the Rev. Anthony Ciorra, PhD, vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., who was the speaker at the Communion. Pastors from nearby parishes joined them. The theme for the day was "Francis, rebuild my Church."  
   Here are photos from the day by Chris Sheridan and Sr. Zelide Ceccagno, MSCS, regional director for Central Southern Westchester.  
   Mark your calendar for next year: Feb. 22, 2020. 
Guest Columnist
Hold A Child in Love
This month, as the Church and the World face the scandal of abuse of children, Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND, columnist for Rhode Island Catholic, writes that every time we hold a child in love, we are doing the work of God. But Jesus needs are hands, our feet and our voices to do his work, to show his love. And we must hold those who abuse children to account. MORE
Did somebody say newsletter?
Oh no. When would I have time?
Don't worry. It's not that complicated for a director/coordinator of religious education to put a out a small newsletter to catechists, parents or both groups. You can do it with Flocknotes, which is available to all parishes. The essential ingredient is news and that you usually have in good supply.  
     Of course, the best thing would be for you to provide the words and photos to a volunteer, who could format it. Perhaps one of your former students, now in high school, could assist. Start with a monthly publication. 
   Just one word of caution. Remember that the person to whom you send this newsletter may not be the only one to read it. So, let your pastor know you would like to do it and send it to him for review.