Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis
Telephone: 613-236-1393
1-800 637-6859
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Purpose of the Series

The Centre for Religious Education and catechesis was opened in the spring of 2012 with the generous support of the Sisters of Service. Since that time the Centre has provided outreach through programs, workshops and conferences by inviting renowned guest speakers in religious education on a variety of important topics. The Centre has collaborated with other groups who also work toward ways of supporting and developing religious education and catechesis in Canada. Further, members of the Centre have responded generously to invitations to offer their expertise across the country.

In an effort to extend this good work, the Centre is presenting a Video series called “The Heart of the Matter” intended for use by catechists and religious educators, to support their current programs and processes for nurturing faith in their communities.

This series is inspired in part by the work of the Sisters of Service, pioneers in what we presently call “distance education”. Among their many innovative ministries in the first half of the twentieth century, the Sisters opened religious correspondence schools, which reached across the rural communities in Canada and beyond. Their creative mission spirit led them to places where others could not or would not go. By their presence and continued activities among the faithful, they kept the fires of faith burning.

So today, in that same spirit we present a series of videos prepared by faith educators who have a passion for stirring the fires of faith from their experience and expertise.

In English*, these presenters are as follows:

  • Dr. Carol Kuzmochka offers both an overview and a process for grounding adult faith education in the richness of the living Catholic Tradition. 
  • Fr. Mark Slatter presents a unique and compelling view of the meaning and scandal of the Cross, and how it remains an inspiration for our gospel living.
  • Jan Bentham, MRE, provides catechists with ways to involve participants in the great stories of faith through the use of the arts.
  • Dr. Joe Rogers suggests ways of engaging young adults in matters of faith through the use of media and films.

These presenters have prepared an educational process that outlines possible approaches for your use of these videos. We hope this will make them more accessible and adaptable for your own ministry. The video and the educational process may also simply provide you with formative activities for yourselves as catechists and religious educators.

This material is free to use, but we do appreciate notice of use. Simply email us at recentre@ustpaul.ca and let us know in what context the video was used and how many people participated. We would appreciate your feedback on these videos and the pedagogical tool as we continue to develop such materials.

* See the French webpage for the French video series.

The Journey of Adult Faith: A Matter of the Heart – Dr. Carol Kuzmochka

One of the essential insights of this post-modern time ‎is that the journey of adult faith is a matter of the heart. In its full biblical sense, the "heart" incorporates all dimensions of the person: mind, body, spirit and will. This 15-minute video will explore the heart of the matter for the journey of adult faith, identify some key principles for accompanying adults in faith, and present WATER – a generative, integral framework that can help to guide the process.

A native of Nova Scotia and a long-time resident of Ontario, Dr. Carol Kuzmochka is a practical theologian committed to the integration of theory and practice and building a strong bridge between faith and life. Carol has been a leader in adult faith education her entire adult life, as a keynote speaker, diocesan director, part-time professor, researcher, consultant and facilitator. Her research for both her Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Ministry degrees explored the accompaniment of adult faith, and she continues to research, teach and lead extensively in this field.  Carol believes that a creative interplay between our current reality, the long, rich experience and teaching of the Church – in particular, the expertise of Jesus as teacher – and our hope for the future holds the key to a wise, fresh, effective practice of faith education that can address the most pressing challenges of our time and empower mature Christian disciples.

Consult the educational process here.

The Arts Are a Rich Catechetical Tool – Jan Bentham

Dramatic arts, music, and visual arts have always been avenues of expression for thought and discernment within the realm of spirituality and religious traditions. The response of children to religious learning is heightened when they are able to reflect creatively. Many examples of student reflection and artifacts of learning will witness to the importance of integrating a pedagogical approach that begins with the arts. 

Jan Bentham is a retired teacher of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, where she worked for 16 years in the area of religious education and catechesis. Jan is a member of the executive of CARFLEO (Catholic Association of Religion and Family Life Educators of Ontario). A graduate of the MRE program at Saint Paul University, Jan has been a reviewer for the Pearson religion program Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ. She has given keynote presentations in several school boards as well as the Catholic University of Australia on spirituality, social justice, faith, the arts and catechesis, and the vocation of Catholic education. 

Consult the educational process here.

Here Comes the ‘Nones’… – Dr. Joe Rogers

More and more people identify as ‘nones’ when it comes to religious affiliation. Despite not identifying with a particular denomination, these adults nonetheless search for meaning in the world. How can popular media and theology become tools for meaningful conversation? How does the use of mass media and pop culture become a pedagogical tool for faith development?

Dr. Joe Rogers was raised in an American Air Force family stationed throughout Latin America. During his teen years, his family settled in South Carolina. Joe received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and art education from the University of South Carolina. In 1995 he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and received his Master’s in Theology as well as a Doctorate in Ministry from The Oblate School of Theology. He has worked as a chaplain in hospital ministry in Buffalo, New York, in Native American ministry in Sisseton, South Dakota, and in HIV/AIDS ministry in San Francisco. From 1999 to 2005, Joe worked as a religion and film studies teacher in the Catholic school system and as a religious studies instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word. From 2005 to 2008 he was a full-time faculty member at the University of Texas in the philosophy and religious studies department, where he was nominated for The National Society of Collegiate Scholars Award for teaching excellence. In 2008, Joe moved to Canada. He now works for the Ottawa Catholic School Board as a chaplain at St. Patrick High School. 

Consult the educational process here.

Christ the Crook! – Fr. Mark Slatter

Christianity has always had the tendency to suppress the cross’s disturbing, upsetting properties and has therefore isolated us from disturbing and upsetting traits in ourselves and in the world. The crucifixion of Jesus might be the best-kept secret – from Christians.

Fr. Mark Slatter, a priest with the Archdiocese of Ottawa, obtained his doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 2007, and has worked with Ottawa’s homeless and drug addicts since 2000. He is associate professor of theological ethics at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Special areas of research and publication include topics such as values and the good of authenticity, suffering and growth, the nature of greed, the role of compassion in moral argument, poverty and ecclesial renewal, the moral properties of mercy, and conversion. He is the author of Insights While Suffering (Peter Lang, 2016) and an upcoming book on theological ethics and the crucifixion. He was a recipient of the 2011 Ottawa Capital Educators Award. His interests include astronomy, outdoor sports and film. 

Consult the educational process here.