By Andrea Hoisl
How do we reach our youth today? How do we make faith “real” for them? How do we help our children develop a relationship with God in today’s world?
These and so many other questions are ones the committee charged with creating a Diocesan Curriculum for parish catechetical programs grappled with for two years. This team of busy professionals from across the Diocese included: Youth and Young Adult Minister Liza Roach; Randy Bouley, consultant for the Diocesan Office of Safe Environments; Father Ted Tumicki, pastor of St. Mary, Jewett City, St. Catherine of Siena, Preston, and St. Thomas and St. Anne, Voluntown; Carol Butler, catechetical leader, St. Pius X, Middletown; Kim Manganella, catechetical leader, St. Bernard’s, Rockville; and Chancellor Father Peter Langevin.
The members of the committee have a variety of experiences and possess expertise that was invaluable to the process. The outcome is a new curriculum for the Diocese of Norwich which will be implemented in September 2019. Its content reflects a major shift in catechesis from education to formation. The current curriculum focuses on education while the new curriculum focuses on formation. Education has an ending – when you graduate, while formation involves building a lifelong relationship with the Church and Jesus Christ.
As the acting chair of the committee, I was continuously surprised by the dedication and commitment all the committee members displayed. The process itself included meeting as a committee once a month to collaborate and spending the following three weeks researching specific topics and resources to bring back to the next meeting. The topics the committee focused on included researching the offerings of various book publishers, home-schooling policies, learning techniques for the disabled, and family catechesis programs.
“The changes were necessary to provide a unified direction to be sure the message of the church is consistently taught through the Diocese.” says Kim Manganella.
Despite being the pastor for three parishes, Father Tumicki found time for the committee. “I said yes to be a part of this committee to develop an approved curriculum because I knew a structured and clear framework for the Diocese would benefit students, parents and catechists.”
“The old way of doing things is no longer relevant for our young people. We have a responsibility to make the faith alive today for our youth.” Says Randy Bouley.
This curriculum incorporates faith filled interactions to help parents and families share their faith. “As the principal and first educators of their children, parents need strategies and activities to help them incorporate faith into their daily lives- the new curriculum provides this and more.” says Liza Roach.
Despite the tumultuous changes that shifted Father Peter Langevin from parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, to vice chancellor for the Diocese, to Chancellor of the Diocese, he continued to offer input and guidance as a committee member.
“The curriculum committee was a diverse group of people with many gifts and talents which were shared freely. We can all be proud of our contributions which made this Diocesan accomplishment happen – we will all be moving forward together” says Carol Butler.