Good tools for passing on the faith

July 18, 2008

Bobz Book Reviews

“Learning Centers for Advent and Lent,”
by Doris Murphy

Doris Murphy is doing her best to make it painless for families to grow in their Catholic faith.

From her experience as Director of Faith Formation at St. Bridget Parish in River Falls, Wis., Murphy has gathered easy projects that parents can work on with their children, projects that will help these “first teachers” of their young ones develop the foundation for a life enriched by the knowledge and traditions of Catholicism.

As she has for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and the Whole Community in earlier books put out by Twenty-Third Publications, Murphy utilizes the learning center approach to enable parents to be those first teachers of the faith that they are called to be for the seasons of Advent and Lent, too. In the learning center methodology, the parish gathers needed material and instructions, then invites parents to use age-appropriate activities that have hands-on tasks, that invite talking with their children about their faith, all the time reinforcing material the children may be learning in their faith formation textbooks and classes.

It’s handing on the faith through example, through family rituals and through conversation. As important as the projects’ purposes are, maybe even more important is the time a parent spends with a child around something of a religious nature: It enables adults — the most influential people in a child’s life — to both tell and show a child that their own faith is important to them and that it’s a faith full of meaning and history, something to be greatly valued, remembered and cherished.

For Advent and Lent, Murphy’s workbook of just over 100 pages offers fun, easy, purposeful ideas that any parish, any director of faith formation, any catechist or any parent will find helpful.

It’s a how-to book from the word go, full of practical projects and turn-key materials, and DREs might find these ideas are worth a try. If they work in River Falls, Wis., maybe they’ll work for you. — bz

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About Bob Zyskowski

Bob is the Client Products Manager for the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A 42-year veteran of the Catholic Press, he is the former Associate Publisher of The Catholic Spirit. You can follow him on twitter or email him at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

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