Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Carla Riach had the privilege of participating in a new adventure with other catechists ministering in parishes of the Santa Barbara Province of the Order of Friars Minor. The Santa Barbara Province Office of Franciscan Ministries asked pastors to invite catechists to gather and brainstorm how to incorporate Franciscan values in our Faith Formation curriculums.

Sister Rachel Sena and Grace Gonzales, a Tohono O’odham minister, accompanied Sister Carla to the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, CA. July 25-28. They were joined by four other catechists and the facilitators.

First on the agenda was a presentation on St. Francis’ perspective on life and God. Then each participant shared about their ministries. Most of us prepared a Power Point ahead of time. The facilitators led us in a walking survey to exemplify the variety and size of parishes, teaching styles, materials, etc. After much discussion about what we would like to develop, we decided to develop a curriculum outline with resources and suggestions for incorporating Franciscan values integrated in Christianity and intercultural realities. Our next task was to look at Franciscan values and decide what we want to emphasize and how to word them.

After developing a tentative outline of areas to address, we formed two focus groups to meet virtually to continue discussing until we meet again in January at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale.

The three of us from the reservation will prepare a process for Baptism Preparation. The process we use now was attractive to the group. The other focus group is working on Family Catechesis.

It is a challenging and exciting adventure. God only knows what will come of it. The process so far was very enriching. The Serra Retreat Center was an experience of great beauty and peace. It is located on a mountain overlooking the ocean. Every free moment I enjoyed exploring the grounds and soaking in God’s presence in Creation.

Sister Carla shared the Canticle Fold that Sister Mariella created. Everyone was excited about it and want to have some printed.