By Anne Marie Amacher
When Laura Hollinrake accepted the position as director of faith formation for St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville, she knew she would need a refresher course on catechesis.
She enrolled in the catechetical specialization track of the Davenport Diocese’s Ministry Formation Program to satisfy a job requirement and because it had been 23 years since she’d been directly involved in religious education work.
Hollinrake, who has a bachelor’s degree in theology with an emphasis in religious education, learned about the Ministry Formation Program (MFP) from her husband, Pat Finan. He is the faith formation and youth ministry coordinator for the diocese and teaches some MFP courses. So what was being taught was not unfamiliar to her.
During the past year, Hollinrake took classes in catechetical ministry, program development, youth ministry and young adult ministry and other topics.
“The classes were helpful and gave me some good outlines and resources,” she said.
Returning to faith formation can be overwhelming, Hollinrake said. But the networking and resources provided were useful.
Classes met one Saturday a month. The first class was held in Riverside, and then moved to Williamsburg. Those taking classes with her were not just new people to religious education or faith formation. “I got ideas from seasoned educators.”
Hollinrake has taken what she has learned in MFP and applied it to her preparation for K-8 religious education classes, sacramental preparation and adult programming. She works closely with the youth ministry coordinator for high school education as well.
The core classes for MFP could be beneficial to anyone – whether a church worker or the common person in the pew, she said. “It makes you aware of what it is to be Catholic. You learn more about the sacraments.
“(MFP) is a good experience,” she noted. Not just because of the education, but also because of the contacts developed.