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Catechists, Religious, Clergy and Seminarians Attend Spring Catechetical Conference in Philadelphia Archeparchy

Philadelphia, Pa.—Almost 100 catechists, religious, clergy and seminarians from the Philadelphia Archeparchy participated in the Spring Catechetical Conference held here Saturday, March 30, 2019.

The theme of the conference, sponsored by the Catechetical Department of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, was “God’s Word and Catechesis.”  The theme was taken from a pastoral letter of the same name “God’s Word and Catechesis” issued on December 12, 2018 from Patriarch Sviatoslav and the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to the Clergy, Religious and all the Laity.

Bishop Andriy Rabiy, apostolic administrator, began the program at 9:30 am with an opening prayer and words of welcome.  He served as moderator for the conference throughout the day.

Rev. Dr. Mark Morozowich, STD, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America and a priest incardinated in St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Parma, was the first presenter.

During his presentation on “The Liturgy of the Word” Father Mark captivated the audience with his ability to give examples from Sacred Scripture and its relationship to the Divine Liturgy, especially the Liturgy of the Word.  He explained through many examples, what the praying community is actually spiritually experiencing during the Divine Liturgy.

Ms. Kelly Anderson, a PhD candidate and associate professor at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, gave an overview of the structure and Books of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.

In keeping with her presentation entitled “Holy Scripture:  What is it?  How to read and pray it?” Ms. Anderson offered many very interesting insights how we are to understand the Sacred Scripture and explained how to read and pray with Holy Scripture, through the Divine Reading “lectio divina.”   Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a short passage of scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.

The final presentation was by Dr. Chrystina A. Dolyniuk, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ.  Her topic was “Teaching Catechism:  A Developmental Perspective on Attention, Cognition and Learning.”

She tried to provide insights to answer the practical question, “How do we capture and keep children’s attention during Catechism lessions?” She reminded everyone that children, even though the same age, are at different stages of cognitive development and have different learning skills and attention spans.  A teacher must be aware of these differences when working with children in a classroom setting.  She also drew upon her own experiences in the Ukrainian Catholic Church as a wife and mother and as a former catechist.

Bishop Andriy, during his remarks, announced that the next catechetical conference will be in the fall.  He stated that these catechetical conferences are organized for the ongoing formation and certification of catechists and religious education teachers.