Workshop speakers offer ideas for responding to faith challenges
Published: March 27, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS) -- Workshop speakers offered participants in the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress a variety of suggestions for responding to the faith challenges of the day. Father John Cusick, director of young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago, provided what he called a "strategy and plan to 'break open' a Gospel text," demonstrating his system with three Gospel readings. "Christ is found in the human encounter, not in the mindless recitation of words," he said. And to glean true meaning from the Gospels, we have to look beyond the words. Father Cusick said his process begins with the reader becoming still and doing nothing for several minutes. "You know why?" said the priest, admitting that becoming still was one of his greatest challenges. "So we can hear other parts of us speak. To break open a Gospel text, we have to use our imagination more than our brain," he added. Next, the reader must read the text -- slowly -- visualizing the scene, picturing three dimensions and imagining all the senses. "Make it come alive!" Father Cusick said. "It's a story; it's a screenplay." Then the reader must read the text again, still slowly, but this time aloud, using the pauses and inflections one might use when reading the story to a child. After this step, the reader must consider which words and phrases are unique to this particular Gospel and which ones seem particularly important. For example, the important words he listed after reading the story of the good Samaritan included "lawyer," "priest" and "Samaritan."
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