Catholic Schools Track
The St. John Bosco Conference is pleased to serve catechists working in Catholic High Schools by offering the High School Symposium. This symposium is aimed at assisting High School religion teachers in deepening their knowledge of the content of catechesis and broadening their catechetical skills.
It is designed to serve the actual needs of teachers in a two-fold manner (1) by addressing the practical/methodological issues, and (2) by addressing the intellectual challenges they face in the classroom.
Consistent with the fact that theology is the handmaid of catechesis, we will present upper-level seminars to foster the teacher’s theological understanding of the faith. The high school religion teacher who has a sure grasp of sacred theology will be better equipped to teach the Catholic Faith in all its rigor and vigor (On Catechesis in Our Time 30) amidst the doubts and questions that fill the adolescent mind regarding the teaching of the Church.
Practical / Methodological
Actual classroom lesson plans that incorporate different educational/catechetical techniques will be developed and illustrated. The Church teaches that catechetical methodology is at the service of the content of the Deposit of Faith. We will be following a method developed by Msgr. Francis Kelly, who named it the Ecclesial Method. This methodology leads the student to both understanding and conversion (On Catechesis in Our Time 20). These workshops will also introduce the concept of “incarnational dynamism” in classroom teaching. This consists in drawing the student to the Person of Jesus Christ, (the content of all catechesis) through the use of contemporary and ancient sacred art, Christian and secular forms of music, popular as well as classical literature, film, and age-appropriate classroom activities. The aim will be to demonstrate various ways to teach doctrine in an engaging manner that will interest students and foster evangelization.
This Year’s Catholic Schools Track Workshops:
Creating Space for Conversion
Teaching with the Saints
Making It Matter: Helping Students Deeply Engage and Desire the Truth
Stop and Think: The Psychology of Self-Regulation in Children and Teens
Reason, Religion, and Kindness: The Preventive System of St. John Bosco
Making Disciples through Creative Lesson Planning
What IS the Natural Law, Anyway?
Amy Roberts, Track Coordinator, taught high school for 13 years and served as chair of the religion department for 10 years before accepting a teaching position with the catechetics faculty of Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2011. She also assisted Aquinas College with catechist training and taught adult faith formation classes for the Diocese of Knoxville. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry from Franciscan University. Amy is currently pursuing doctoral studies through the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Melbourne and regularly speaks at in-services for teachers in Catholic schools. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.
Ryan Hanning teaches theology, church history, and Catholic studies and writes and speaks internationally on modern objections to religious faith. He serves as the Asst. VP and Director of Cultural Advancement at the University of Mary Tempe where he is also a faculty member in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. He is a certified presenter for Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute, a faculty member for the Kino Catechetical Institute and a fellow of the Institute for Catholic Theology. He holds degrees from Arizona Student University and Northern Arizona University, and a PhD from Maryvale Institute in England, and currently resides in Mesa, AZ with his beautiful wife Rebecca, and their 9 well socialized homeschooled children.
Sister John Dominic Rasmussen, OP, was born in Berkley, California and moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of five. She converted to Catholicism during her sophomore year and entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in 1982. In 1997, she and three other Sisters founded the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sister has been involved in Catholic education for over 30 years as both a teacher and administrator. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee and a Masters degree in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. In 2001, she co-authored with Carol Kennedy, Remain in Me, a Faith Formation curriculum for catechetical instruction. Sister currently serves as the Principal of Spiritus Sanctus Academy in Ann Arbor, Michigan. From her experience in administration and teacher she has developed Disciple of Christ-Education in Virtue a Christian curriculum structured on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Jem Sullivan is a wife and mother, professor and author. Jem holds a doctorate from the Catholic University of America. For the past seventeen years, she has served as adjunct faculty in the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. In August 2017, Dr. Sullivan was appointed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Secretary for Education in the Archdiocese of Washington. Jem writes for a variety of Catholic publications on art and the New Evangelization, including art essays in Magnificat. She is the author of three books from Our Sunday Visitor: A Study Guide to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults; The Beauty of Faith: Christian Art and the New Evangelization; and Opening the Door of Faith: A Catechists’ Guide to the New Evangelization. She has also written an illustrated children’s book on Saint John Paul II titled Karol: the Boy Who Became Pope. She has served as catechetical consultant for various Catholic dioceses. Jem is a featured guest on EWTN News Nightly where she discusses masterpieces of Christian art. She hosted and wrote a one hour documentary special on sacred art and evangelization that aired on EWTN, and has served as docent at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC., where she led public tours of the museum’s masterpiece collections. Jem and her family are members of Saint Jerome’s Catholic Church, Hyattsville, Maryland.
Dr. Joseph White is a child and family psychologist and national catechetical consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Curriculum. He has worked as a parish catechetical leader and spent seven years as director of Family Counseling and Family Life in the Diocese of Austin. A frequent guest on Catholic television and radio, Dr. White is the author of 10 books and numerous articles on catechesis and ministry, and he co-authored the Allelu and Alive in Christ catechetical series.