Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Annual Catholic Conference includes sessions on catechetics, liturgy

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the Sept. 9, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

With a date of Oct. 30, the Diocese of Spokane’s annual Catholic Conference is fast approaching. And, as usual, the schedule is packed with dynamic speakers excited to share their knowledge and understanding of the Faith with Spokane Catholic community members.

Among those making presentations this year will be Sue Harmon, the Director of Religious Education at St. Augustine Parish in Spokane, and Father Steve Dublinski, chairman of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission.

Harmon will lead a workshop titled “Introducing Young Children to the Bible.” Harmon will offer ways to capture young children’s innate love of stories as they are introduced to the story of God’s love found in the Bible. She will offer ideas on which stories and passages to introduce and how best to share them.

“The idea is to share the story while being true to the story, but at the same time keeping it age-appropriate,” said Harmon.

Harmon believes that once children hear a story, they must follow up with a physical response in order to effectively learn the material. So, she will offer a variety of age-appropriate activities – including songs and crafts – and prayers for pre-school and early elementary children that will help catechists and parents share the Bible with young children.

Harmon said that young children really need to hear the Good News in the Bible.

“They are now at a point when they are discovering that there is a world outside of their immediate family. And as they’re discovering the world, this is the underlying thing they need. They can’t experience (the world’s) entirety without experiencing and knowing God,” she said.

Though the workshop is meant to help adults teach the Bible to young children, she hopes it also helps adults become more comfortable with Scripture.

“As adults, we need to be comfortable with Scripture so that we can share it with our kids,” she said. “All of us need to become more comfortable.”

Harmon has a wealth of knowledge and experience to help her prepare for this workshop. She has an M.A. in Catechetics from Santa Clara University and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Washington University. She has been involved in ministry for 20 years, served on the diocesan catechist formation team, and was a preschool teacher.

Besides his work with the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, Father Steve Dublinski is the diocese’s Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. He will lead a workshop on the role of the assembly in the liturgy.

“The assembly has a specific role in the liturgy that is distinct from that of the clergy or lay ministers,” said Father Dublinski. “The assembly is the most difficult role in the Eucharistic assembly. It calls for full, conscious, and active participation in the Paschal mystery… An assembly member who is actively participating must be open to being transformed himself, and to transforming the community.”

He said that since Vatican II there has been a rediscovery of the laity’s role in the celebration of the liturgy. This is most apparent during the Mass, with lay Eucharistic Ministers, readers, gift bearers and other roles distinct to the laity. However, Vatican II also called for a renewed appreciation for and better understanding of the role of the assembly in the liturgy, and this has been overlooked in the past few decades. Father Dublinski said that few people understand the importance of their role as members of the assembly.

Father Dublinski points out that parents who bring their young children to Mass are an excellent example of full participation by the assembly. Though they may spend most of Mass trying to keep their children quiet, and may often feel they are not as engaged as they might like, by making a conscious decision to participate in the liturgy as an entire family, they are embracing their role as part of the assembly. “This is part of your living the Paschal Mystery,” said Father Dublinski, “and the community needs to embrace it along with you.”

Father Dublinski encourages all members of the Catholic community to attend this workshop to “reflect more deeply on your role and the role of the entire assembly in the dying and rising of Christ.” He hopes clarify the role of the assembly, as well as address the need for better catechesis of that role.

Father Dublinski is also the pastor of the parishes in Rosalia, Oakesdale, St. John, and Tekoa. He has been pastor of St. Charles Parish, Spokane, and St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley. He completed his master’s degree in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2002.

Other presenters at this year’s Catholic Conference include:
• Msgr. John Steiner: “Sin and Forgiveness Make Sacrament: Changing Sacrament – Changing Mystery.”
• Sister Sharon Park OP: “Faith and Politics” and “Catholics in the Public Square.”
• Father Pat Kerst: “Restoring the Joy of Our Youth.”
• Leisa Anslinger: “Catechesis at the Tips of Your Fingers: Using the Internet as a Faith Formation Tool,” “Making Whole Community Catechesis Happen,” and “Just What Is Whole Community Catechesis?”
• Father Tom Caswell: “Films for Believers, Pray-ers, and Thinkers.”
• Sister Angela Ann Zukowski MHSH: “Dialogue: A New Way of Being Church,” and “Power of Images and Dialogue for Faith Formation.”
• Father Bob Egan SJ: “I May Not Be Religious, But I Am Interested in Spirituality.”
• Judy Butler: “A Tradition of Peace.”
• Dr. Terri McKenzie: “Living Tradition.”
• Kathy Finley: “The Liturgy of Motherhood: Every Day as Holy.”
• Don McKenzie: “The Liturgical Year: A Road Map for Your Spiritual Journey.”
• Peggy DeBord: “Preparing with Projects, Props, and Prayers.”

The Catholic Conference is an annual event meant to foster growth and understanding of the Catholic faith among all members of parish communities in the Spokane Diocese. This year, the conference will take place on Saturday, Oct.30, at the Ridpath Hotel in Spokane.

For more information, or to register, contact the Parish Services Office at (509) 358-7311, or check the web site.

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