During last week's annual Spring Enrichment gathering at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, The Evangelist asked participants to talk about their favorite workshops. The four-day event brought together 900 religious educators from across the Albany Diocese for more than 110 courses, workshops and lectures on aspects of faith.
Workshops: "Teaching Outside the Box" and "Evangelizing Leadership: Revealing the God of Beauty"
"We want to get away from that schoolhouse model. [Religious education is] a celebration of your faith; it's how we live our faith. It just gave me wonderful ideas of how to bring church into the classroom. These kids have no time to be quiet and let God in." - Maureen Rivers, faith formation coordinator, St. Clement's, Saratoga Springs
Workshop: "The Afterlife"
"[It gave me] affirmation of what I'm doing and how important it really is. [I learned] to be open-minded about the afterlife, because we don't know what afterlife is going to be like. [The instructor] gave me knowledge, words to use when I'm ministering to the terminally ill. Maybe the words are not needed, but the touch is. Never leave a patient without a physical touch. I don't think we Christians do that enough." - Ron Wood, pastoral care volunteer, Christ Our Light, Loudonville
Workshop: "Faith Formation is Lifelong and Ongoing!"
(This course offered new ways to incorporate the whole parish community into sacraments, like inviting engaged couples to receive a blessing at Mass or including baptisms at regular Masses. The instructor also suggested that godparents and priests write letters to first communicants to read at their confirmation.) "What a way to bring it back and tie it in. I left there on a high." - Tracey Penk-Masucci, youth ministry coordinator, Holy Spirit, East Greenbush
Workshops: "Christian Scriptures: the Synoptic Gospels" and "What You Should Know about Mary"
"We don't adore Mary. She is an equal among us, actually, and at the same time an intercessor for us. Any more knowledge that you have certainly helps you." - Bill Howard, catechist, lector and choir member, Annunciation, Queensbury
Workshops: "Morality for All Ages" and "Introduction to Social Justice"
"It's very hard for [parents] not to buckle under pressure. They worry about their kids being successful." - Fran Fay, administrative assistant, St. Clement's, Saratoga Springs