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A Celebration of Epiphany


What is Gather In My Name
How does Gather In My Name work?
How do I assemble a team?
What will I need to implement Gather In My Name?
How do I publicize Gather In My Name?
What do we do after the event?


What is Gather In My Name
Gather In My Name is a program that brings together people of all ages to learn about and share faith. As such, it provides a framework for whole parish catechesis.

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How does Gather In My Name work?

Each Gather in My Name event usually focuses on a particular theme, based on the liturgical year as found in the liturgical chapters of We Believe. These themes are developed through prayer, presentation, discussion, interaction, as well as print and Internet resources. Certain other events might highlight general themes found in We Believe such as a summer scripture event or a celebration of Mary. (These might feature only an Option 1. See below.)
  • As a fully multigenerational event (Option 1) that gathers together children, youth, and adults for prayer, sharing, and learning about an aspect of our faith. This takes place in addition to the regular We Believe and PreK and Junior High catechetical programs in a parish.
  • As a multigenerational event with age level breakouts (Option 2). Children, youth, and adults gather for an opening icebreaker and prayer service and then break into grade level or cluster groups. The entire assembly reconvenes for a closing prayer. This takes place in lieu of the regular We Believe and PreK and Junior High catechetical programs for the grade level groups and in addition to these programs for the cluster groups.
Each Gather In My Name event is approximately two hours in length, with a schedule that can be adapted to suit the particular needs and interests of the parishioners. A Leader's Guide for each option provides a step-by-step outline of the session. Handouts and templates for use before, during, and after the event are available through clicking the corresponding links. An easy-to-use preparation chart for each option can be used as a checklist for assembling materials and resources.

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How do I assemble a team?
The first step in preparing for Gather In My Name is pulling together a team of both planners and implementers.

The planners can help in the following ways:
  • Reading through the Leader's Guide, preparation chart, and all other materials.
  • Deciding which option to use.
  • Communicating with the pastor and other parish leaders about the event and enlisting their support and participation.
  • Securing a date, time, and site for the event that does not conflict with other parish activities.
  • Creating a budget that includes funds for materials, food, and childcare needs.
  • Assigning the role of event leader, one that might be shared by two people.
  • Making sure the event is accessible and attuned to those with physical disabilities or special needs.
  • Recruiting volunteers to publicize and implement the event, including the provision of a meal (optional).
  • Planning grade level or cluster group sessions (Option 2) in collaboration with parish catechists and/or Catholic schoolteachers.
  • Developing a plan for publicizing the event.
  • Planning prayer services in collaboration with parish musicians or liturgists.
  • Following up on the event by compiling evaluations and providing feedback to pastoral leaders, participants, and the parish at large.
Planners will need to meet three or four times prior to the event and at least once afterwards to assess its effectiveness and celebrate its success.

Implementers can help in the following ways:
  • Assisting with mailings, phone calls, and other publicity plans.
  • Planning and preparing a meal and/or other refreshments.
  • Providing care for children under the age of four.
  • Helping with registration of participants.
  • Copying handouts and organizing other materials.
  • Providing transportation for elderly participants and those with special needs.
  • Preparing and facilitating the sessions for adults, children, and youth.
  • Providing music for prayer.
  • Assisting with clean up and follow-through tasks.
Implementers will need to meet two or three times in smaller configurations with various planners to organize tasks and responsibilities. Some of these meetings might take place over the phone or through e-mail.

When recruiting a team, keep in mind the need to consult with staff or other pastoral leaders. Their ideas and involvement will be a key factor in ensuring a catechetical event that involves the whole parish. Catechists who teach in both the parish and school programs should also be consulted and recruited as helpers, according to the options selected. Other potential sources for volunteers are:
  • Parents, grandparents, and guardians
  • Youth and young adults
  • Parish organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, Seniors group, Women's Auxiliary, or MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers)
  • Parish committees, especially those dealing with catechesis, family, youth, or spirituality
Qualities to look for in both planners and implementers are:
  • Cooperation — It will take some organizing to put all the plans in place and then to see them through. Team members need to be able to work well with others and be responsible for individual tasks and responsibilities.
  • Flexibility — Those working with groups of mixed ages, especially children, know to "expect the unexpected." A flexible attitude among planners and implementers sets a tone of ease and an atmosphere of welcome.
  • Diversity — In order to ensure that the event is open to the entire parish, recruit a team that is representative of a wide variety of ages, interests, experiences, and family and cultural backgrounds. Encourage the group to raise questions about who will automatically feel welcome at such an event and those who will need more encouragement in order to fully participate.
  • Prayerfulness — As a catechetical event, the purpose of Gather In My Name is to foster a deeper ownership, appreciation, knowledge, and application of our faith. Team members should be people focused on this task and rooted in their own commitment to Jesus Christ. As a way to help the group stay on target, use the Team Prayer at the start of each planning or organizational meeting.
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What will I need to implement Gather In My Name?

In addition to a team of enthusiastic volunteers, a parish will need:
  • A gathering space that is accessible and that can accommodate a large group, preferably around tables that seat eight-ten people.
  • Between four and ten meeting spaces for cluster or grade level groups (Option 2).
  • A room to provide childcare for infants and toddlers.
  • A microphone and sound system.
  • A small table and other items as listed in the Leader's Guide and
  • preparation chart< for setting up an environment for prayer.
  • Refreshments, including an optional pre- or post-event meal.
  • Copies of handouts and other resources for all participants as noted in the Leader's Guide< and preparation chart.
  • A flip chart or blackboard.
  • A CD player, We Believe Music CDs, or a CD of instrumental music.
  • Registration materials, including nametags and pens or markers.
  • Copies of the We Believe student texts and materials for children in grades K-6 and a Catechist Guide for each team of catechists (Option 2, Grade Level groups).
  • Cluster group outlines and materials for PreK and Junior High (Option 2, Grade Level groups).
  • Cluster group outlines and materials for PreK, Primary, Intermediate, and Junior High (Option 2, Cluster groups).
  • Information on parish and diocesan resources, appropriate to the theme of the event.
  • Additional books, tapes, and other resources available to participants through a parish library, diocesan media center, or local Catholic bookstore.
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How do I publicize Gather In My Name?
In order to reach as many parishioners as possible, use a variety of approaches when publicizing the event. These include:
  • Bulletin, web site, and newsletter announcements. Vary these from week to week and use art and graphics that are eye-catching and attractive. See Before We Gather for sample bulletin announcements, invitations, and other promotional ideas.
  • Personal letters. Address these to parents and families in catechetical and sacramental programs, to single-person households, and to parish groups, organizations, and committees. See Before We Gather for sample bulletin announcements, invitations, and other promotional ideas.
  • Posters and banners. Enlist the help of children and youth to illustrate posters, and ask computer-savvy individuals to create banners from desktop publishing programs. Move these around the parish from week to week so that they remain fresh to the eye.
  • Flyers and bulletin inserts. Adapt bulletin announcements and use them as the content for flyers that list the what, when, where, and who of the event.
  • Radio and television announcements. Check local stations that provide free airtime for public service announcements. This is a good way to publicize the event among newcomers or hard-to-reach households.
  • Newspaper announcements. Create press releases for both local and diocesan newspapers. Don't forget to list contact information.
  • Personal invitations. Consider the use of telephone trees, direct e-mail, and word-of mouth. Generate interest by recruiting a few "cheerleaders" — people whose enthusiasm for the event and outgoing personalities make them natural promoters.
  • Pulpit announcements. Weekend liturgies are ideal times to reach regular attendees. Keep announcements short, and use them in conjunction with a flyer or bulletin insert. Recruit people to make the announcements who are articulate and enthusiastic about the event.
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What do we do after the event?
Gather In My Name does not end with the closing prayer. On the contrary, there are ways to maximize its potential to catechize the entire parish in the following ways:
  • Post a summary of the event on your parish Web site, or use it as an insert in a weekend bulletin.
  • Ask volunteers to speak about their experience of the event at their next gathering of parish groups and committees.
  • Post the comments from the evaluation forms on the parish Web site or publish pictures in a newsletter. Be sure to use release forms in order to secure permission to use pictures, comments, and names as part of follow-up.
  • Display the children's activity sheets in various parts of the parish and draw attention to them in a bulletin or newsletter.
  • Ask the pastor to refer to the event in the next week's homily, drawing upon an anecdote or experience as a way to highlight one or two of the event's catechetical objectives.
  • Hold a "debriefing" session with the team, to celebrate successful aspects of the event and assess areas that need improvement. (Send your ideas to the Gather In My Name writing team at webeditor@sadlier.com).
  • Submit a written report about the event to the staff, catechetical committee, school board, or parish council.
  • Look ahead to the next Gather In My Name event. (For e-mail notification about upcoming events, register here.)
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