Formed In Faith

Merry Christmas!

 OLFE Christmas 2014a         OLFE Christmas 2014

All of us here at the Office of Lifelong Formation & Education (OLFE) wish you and yours a blessed and festive Christmas.

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day their old familiar chords to play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to all.” — Longfellow

Saint Juan Diego – The First Native Lay Minister in the Americas

On July 31, 2002, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Pope John Paul II declared Juan Diego’s canonization. Juan Diego, a poor Indian peasant and widower, became the Church’s first saint indigenous to the Americas. The Holy Father called this saint “a simple, humble Indian” who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. Members of Mexico’s 64 indigenous groups were present.

The Virgin Mary first appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of this story centers on beautiful “winter time” roses gathered in his tilma (outer cloak) that were transformed miraculously into an image of Our Lady. Later in life, Juan Diego lived near the small shrine that had been constructed at Tepeyac. Stories refer to him as a holy, compassionate, and giving catechist who taught by word and especially by example.

Reflection: God called St. Juan Diego to play a key, evangelizing role in spreading the Good News to the people of Mexico. Overcoming his own fear and the doubts, by God’s grace, this small and humble Indio showed that the Good News of Jesus is a gift given to all people, in all cultures. Pope John Paul II used the example of St. Juan Diego to urge Mexican lay men and women to accept their responsibility for doing the New Evangelization and witnessing to the Gospel of Christ.

ArchLou and the Catholic Youth Foundation USA

Did you know that Butch Ekstrom of OLFE and Dr. Brian Reynolds, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, have each served for more than 10 years on the Board of Directors for the Catholic Youth Foundation USA (CYF-USA)?

Last Thursday through Saturday, they attended — as CYF Board Members — the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry, (NCCYM) at San Antonio, Texas. Sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, the NCCYM is the largest conference in the country for adults who minister to and with Catholic youth. About 2000 came together for NCCYM’s three days of keynote talks, workshops, prayer and worship, resource exhibits, and ministry networking.

The CYF-USA is the financial development arm of the Federation. It raises money and then distributes it — via grants, scholarships, and awards — to Catholic youth on local, diocesan, and regional levels and to promote effective and innovative youth ministry work to assure a faithful future.

Butch, Brian, and other Foundation board members oversaw a major $$ collection at the closing Mass of the NCCYM. They also put together a fundraising Pinata Raffle during the conference.

For more information please visit the following websites:

Faith Club Dinner, Dancing and More!

Last week was a busy week here at OLFE.  Our staff worked on multiple activities.  To see what Maureen Grisanti Larison, Consultant for Adult Formation and Initiation, organized continue below.  Continue to the next post to read about what Butch Ekstrom, Association Director of Faith Formation, was doing last week .

Wednesday, 12/3, the Faith Club held their annual Christmas Dinner and Dance.

The Archdiocesan Faith Clubs exist to meet the catechetical needs of adults (18 years of age and older) with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  These clubs are sponsored by the Office of Lifelong Formation and Education.  Maureen Grisanti Larison, one of the consultants from OLFE, works with facilitators to nurture faith formation and provide a social environment at the meetings.  These facilitators lead groups at 5 different parishes once a month.  During the club meeting members learn more about heir Catholic faith, make new friends, socialize, and engage in service activities.  There are three large events during the year at which the 5 individual clubs come together to celebrate; the Christmas Dinner and Dance is one.

For more information about the Faith Club contact Maureen at the Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Lifelong Formation and Education, 502-448-8581 Ext. 1308 or email


Sharing Recipes

As Thanksgiving approaches many of us are sharing our favorite recipes. We see post all over Facebook and coming from our favorite blogs for the best turkey, stuffing, or green bean casserole. Recently, Catechetical Leaders from the Archdiocese gathered at the Flaget to share recipes for their ministry.
Thanks to the DRE Senate there were multiple breakout sessions for sharing from topics about VBS, Adult Faith Formation, Multicultural Formation, Internet Small Groups, Retreats and Days of Reflection and more! Then, after the DRE Senate had feed our minds, they fed our bodies with a delicious chili lunch. (Below are three of the food recipes requested for sharing.)
Please share your favorite recipe for Faith Formation in your parish. What are some of the best practices you have happening in your parish? What is working? What new resource or idea have you heard lately that has you inspired in your ministry?

Turkey and Black Bean Pumpkin Chili
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey, or 1½ cups cubed cooked turkey
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Petite Diced Tomatoes w/Lime Juice & Cilantro
3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons each cumin and oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add turkey, onion, pepper and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Drain well.
Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook, covered on low for 4 to 5 hours.
Option: Top with cubed avocado and thinly sliced green onions

Raspberry Bars
Combine one yellow cake mix with 3/4 cup of butter and 2 1/2 cups of quick-cooking oats in a large bowl. Press half the mixture firmly into a greased 13×9 baking pan. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
Mix a 12 oz jar of raspberry jam with a little water. Spread over the baked layer. top with the rest of the oat mixture and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes. Dust the top with powdered sugar or drizzle with sugar glaze. Cool then serve.
(Sugar glaze: 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 teaspoons warm water)

Vegetarian Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) texturized vegetable protein
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
2 tablespoons of Ancho Chile powder and
2 tablespoons of regular chile powder
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the texturized vegetable protein. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.


Kids Deserve the Best — Your Faith and Example

Francis Selfie

By Cindy Wooden                                                                                                                         Catholic News Service  —  11/14/14

Faith always has been transmitted best through example, but with young people constantly bombarded by images of all kinds, living models of truth and love are more important than ever.”  Pope Francis addressed this to parents and other adults during his daily Mass at the Vatican on November 14 .

“We each have a responsibility to give the best that we have,” the Pope added. “The best that we have is the faith. Give it to them, but give it to them through your example.”

The Synod in Rome Is Over — Now What?

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, left, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., on Monday at the bishops' annual fall general assembly Baltimore (CNS/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, left, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., on Monday at the bishops’ annual fall general assembly Baltimore (CNS/Bob Roller)

The Extraordinary Synod of 2014 – on the challenges of marriage and family life today — ended on October 18 in Rome, about three weeks ago. Major commentaries, assorted strong and different opinions, and widespread media reports prove that this synod of bishops was extra-ordinary in numerous ways.
On this blog, OLFE recently noted the Synod’s accomplishments:
This week the entire body of U.S. Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will meet in Baltimore. The Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, the Archbishop of Louisville, and the President of the Conference, will chair the conference.
Speeches and analyses will touch on pressing issues and themes such as the new evangelization, religious freedom, God’s forgiveness and mercy, the “culture of encounter,” Catholic education, the Latino presence in the U.S. Church, some revised liturgical rituals, and other matters.
As noted in National Catholic Reporter, the American bishops also intend to engage the wider Catholic community in reflection and dialogue on last month’s Vatican gathering. How they will proceed with that engagement remains an open question.
On Monday, Archbishop Kurtz delivered the President’s opening address.
An NCR on-scene reporter, Vinnie Rotondaro, said “He quoted Pope Francis four times, citing the Holy Father’s call for the church to ‘go out into the streets’ and encouraging bishops to be ‘joyful messengers of challenging proposals.’ He referred to children as ‘gifts.’ He mentioned the . . . ‘good work’ of Catholic Relief Services and the Church’s ‘schools, hospitals, and social service ministries’.”
The Archbishop added that the USCCB is still waiting for a final, approved English translation of the Synod’s relatio document. This will summarize the discussions in Rome and serve as a guide for a global, Catholic discussion on family issues until Fall 2015.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C., another attendee at the Synod, met the media at a USCCB press conference after Archbishop Kurtz’s address.
“The next step is to receive . . . instructions from the Synod office,” Cardinal Wuerl noted. “We will be meeting in two weeks’ time to work out some sort of process” for getting laity involved in post-synodal dialogue
Cardinal Wuerl then reiterated the concept of “meeting people where they are” in the world.
“The next step is going to be the actual process, actually engaging all of our Catholic faithful,” the Cardinal concluded.

Archbishop Kurtz’s Presidential Address — November 10, 2014
USCCB November 2014 General Assembly Presidential Address

USCCB November 2014 General Assembly Presidential A…
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Address to the USCCB General Assembly on Nov…

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Reconciliation: Teaching About God’s Gift of Forgiveness

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Some thoughts and reviews from participants at this event…

What I found the most intriguing:

“Presentation was ‘excellent’.  I felt the ‘energy’ from Nancy.  Very inspiring!”

“The fellowship I felt immediately.”

“I loved the connections between Baptism and Reconciliation.”

What I will take from this day:

“Better understanding of how to share benefits of the sacrament with/in my class.”

“Oneness with God, oneness with each other… we are made for union and unity.”

“Positivity- sharing love and forgiveness with others.”


Thank you to Nancy Bird for a wonderful presentation!               

Thank you to RCL and Ken Richard for supporting this event.     

Be sure to check the Office of Lifelong Formation and Education Professional Development Catalogue for upcoming events.                                                                                                




Today’s wisdom from Pope Francis….


“All Christians and men of good faith are therefore called upon today to fight, not only for the abolition of the death penalty – whether it is legal or illegal and in all its forms – but also to improve the conditions of incarceration to ensure that the human dignity of those deprived of their freedom is respected.

“And this, for me, is linked to life sentences. For a short time now, these no longer exist in the Vatican penal code. A sentence of life (without parole) is a hidden death penalty.”

-Pope Francis

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Five Things the Synod Just Did

We, here in Louisville, welcome back Archbishop Joseph Kurtz after the conclusion of the Synod last weekend.

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What does the final report of the Synod on the Family mean for the church?

Clink the link to below to find out what Fr. James Martin had to say about the final report from the Synod.

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