On Aug. 15, the Feast of the Assumption, Bishop Richard J. Malone signed a decree making "Forming Disciples" the official diocesan faith formation curriculum. As a result, this curriculum was implemented in all Buffalo diocesan schools as of last month, and it will be in all of its parishes by September 2017.
In order to prepare catechetical leaders to make the best use of this material to teach and instruct Catholics for life, the diocesan Office of Lifelong Faith Formation announced last month that it will be offering some opportunities to learn more about the updated curriculum and ask any questions they may have.
Parishes have already been asked to formulate teams, including their pastors, catechetical leaders for children and adults, youth ministry leaders and others responsible for this task, to lead the effort. The diocese will also be scheduling on-site parish consultations to provide them with any needed support.
"I am so very grateful to Bishop Malone for his support of this project and his visionary leadership which continues to encourage all of us to place families at the center of our catechetical initiatives," said Mary Beth Coates, diocesan director of Lifelong Faith Formation. "This is a living document, and much study and planning is needed at the local level for it to inspire our youth and truly infuse our faith communities with an evangelizing spirit."
In addition to letting parishes schedule on-site visits to review the planning processes, the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation has organized a series of workshops to address various facets of the "Forming Disciples" curriculum:
"Making Parish Connections," Oct. 19, 6:30-9 p.m. at St. Gregory the Great Ministry Center in Williamsville - This workshop is ideal for those who were unable to attend the Summer Institute last June. It will discuss how this curriculum can be a tool to make connections across the entire scope of parish life.
"Innovating for the Middle School Years," Nov. 9, 6:30-9 p.m. at St. John Paul II Parish in Lake View - This workshop will look at ways to merge a faith formation and a youth ministry model in order to provide a holistic catechetical program for youth at a critical stage on their faith journey.
"Families Sharing and Growing in Faith Together, Feb. 15, 1-3:30 p.m., at the Catholic Center in downtown Buffalo - Explore different strategies for engaging parents as the first and primary catechists of their children in a way that advances the catechetical objectives and makes meaningful connections to the parish community at large.
"Publisher's Showcase" (early spring 2017) - After parishes have an opportunity to develop a plan for implementation of the new curriculum, the diocese will host a showcase allowing parish leaders to review resources that may be useful to meeting parish and curricular objectives. In addition to traditional publishers, other organizations with Catholic print and online resources will be present.
For more information, contact Maureen Poulin in the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation at 716-847-5514. For those who would like a copy of the finalized and approved curriculum, pastors will be receiving copies at upcoming vicariate meetings.