Coming to St. Matthew Church in Charlotte: How can we hand on the faith in the 21st century?
CHARLOTTE — Passing on the faith from generation to generation has always had its challenges, says Marylin Kravatz-Toolan, Ph.D. But the fast pace, diverse culture and global connectedness of the 21st century can present new challenges that require a fresh look at our approach to teaching the faith.
That's the topic of a free lecture Kravatz-Toolan will present Thursday, Aug. 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Matthew Church's New Life Center Banquet Room. In "Handing on the Faith in the 21st Century," she will address the components of such issues as: What does "handing on the faith" mean? How do we do that in a meaningful and relevant way today? Do the old methodologies work in the contemporary world? Do new methodologies honor our faith traditions?
"The question is how do you make faith your own and work it from the head to the heart and really live it?" said Kravatz-Toolan, who grew up Catholic and was called to examine her own faith when her child became seriously ill. "I was a nurse in my first life ... when my child became sick I turned my attention from the body to the soul, and I knew I wanted to serve in the educational ministry of the Catholic Church."
She went back to school while raising five children and earned a degree in humanities with a concentration in philosophy from Dominican College. She received her master's degree in religious studies from St. Joseph Seminary and her doctoral degree in religious education from Fordham University.
Today, Kravatz-Toolan is the executive director of Online Graduate Programs in Religious Education and associate professor in Religious Studies/Religious Education at Felician College in New Jersey.
Returning to Charlotte will be a homecoming of sorts for Kravatz-Toolan, who lived here from 1999 to 2002 and served as regional director of faith formation for the Charlotte diocese. In that role, she was responsible for 26 parishes across the southern part of the diocese and helped develop the Catechist Recognition Process that is still used today to educate and certify catechists throughout the diocese.
Michael Burck, adult enrichment coordinator for St. Matthew Church, met Kravatz-Toolan while working in parish ministry in New Jersey and is excited to have her return to address this timely topic that touches us all, he said. "We all are responsible for passing on the faith – as parents, grandparents, godparents, confirmation sponsors, catechists, youth ministers, priests, religious – we're all in this together."
— Jenny Cox, correspondent
Want to go?
Child care is available for the lecture by calling 704-543-7677, ext. 1011, at least 48 hours in advance.
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