Schema for Each Session

Each session has a specific structure, which is outlined below. Catechetical leaders know their participants best, so they should adapt this schema to what fits the needs of their participants. However, the goal is always to allow participants to appropriate faith in a personal and prayerful environment of reflection and sharing. Suggested times are approximations; they can vary depending on the needs of the participants in any specific session.

1) Welcome (15 minutes for Module 1, 10 minutes otherwise)

  • The section contains a way for participants to introduce themselves or "check in" about events or discoveries during the week. Leaders might vary this check-in as participants get to know each other better.
  • Then follows a question or invitation to reflect on something pertinent to the theme of the session.

2) Presentation of the Theme (15 minutes, unless otherwise noted)

  • This section succinctly expresses the focus of the session and then presents material from the Scriptures and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults to support the theme. The leader should feel free to elaborate on this material depending, of course, on the appropriateness for the participants. The aim of this process is to ground people in the faith, not to make them mini theologians.
  • This section offers a question to get the conversation going, usually from the point of view of personal reaction or experience.

3) Discussion and Sharing (30 minutes, unless otherwise noted)

  • This section presents questions that participants can use to explore the theme. This is the heart of the session. The emphasis is on the process of speaking and listening and, thus, appropriating aspects of the theme. Going through all the questions might not be necessary; what is necessary is the sense of community/relationship-building within the group and personal appropriation of the themes by the participants.

4) Questions (10 minutes, unless otherwise noted)

  • This section is a time for participants to ask questions or for the leader to offer further material for background and context.

5) Catholic Factoid (5 minutes)

  • This section provides some practical information that might be of interest to participants as they learn about the Catholic Church. The leader might also present Catholic practices related to the theme of the session.

6) Prayer (5-10 minutes)

  • This section moves from discussion to a more reflective space in which participants have the opportunity to become comfortable, or more comfortable, praying. The prayers are kept simple to respect the different levels that various participants might be on as they explore the growth of their faith. The Our Father and the Sign of the Cross are introduced during the "Catechumenate-Encounter" sessions.

7) Announcements (3-5 minutes)

  • Here the leader gives information about future meetings, gatherings, and other material that might be available.

8) Hospitality

  • Leaders should make sure that participants are feeling warmly welcomed into the Church throughout the process. Good hospitality, showing care for the participants, can help reinforce the sense of welcome and also provide a forum for further discussion in an informal way among participants.

Virtual Sessions

For a variety of reasons, it may not be possible for all those participating in PATHWAYS IN FAITH to be physically present. In this case, using a digital platform such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or some other means, the leader can have the PDF of the session on her or his screen and then "share screen" with participants.

If necessary, people might participate via phone, though the benefit of a having a visual session is that people can respond more freely and react to the reflections of other participants. In other words, visual participation is preferred even though it may not always be possible for all participants.