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The Archdiocese of Omaha requires that all of its Catholic school teachers participate in 24 hours of Faith Formation each school year. These hours are essential to not only to equip our teachers with knowledge of the Catholic faith but to set their hearts on fire for love of Jesus and the Church. Then, they can't help but pass that on to our students. 

In order to fulfill these hours, we provide instruction to these teachers over the course of 5-6 different sessions throughout the school year. This year, our focus is on the Gospel of John.

Faculty and Staff Retreat

Each year, some of our schools request that we provide a day long or half day retreat for the faculty and staff at their school. EI provides several options for these retreats which offer time for Mass, spiritual direction, adoration, personal prayer, silence, and reflection.  Options give teachers the opportunity to take part in acts of mercy for the poor, to spend time reflecting on beauty, or to take part in more intense silence and contemplation. School administrators work with EI staff to determine the best option for their school.

Session 1 |  Introduction and Foundations of the Gospel of John

In our opening session for the year, our teachers will receive an introduction to the Gospel of St. John including his general themes in this gospel and some highlights of his particular writing style. They will spend time with our instructors examining the prologue of this Gospel and its connection to the Catholic faith. Additionally, they will explore recent social science data on Catholics and their understanding of the Eucharist with time to discuss potential solutions to misunderstandings about this sacrament. Finally, they will spend time in a small group bible study praying with and reflecting on the wedding at Cana in John chapter 2.

Session 2 |  The Gospel of John and Conversion to Jesus

In our second session, our teachers will be introduced to the Eucharistic miracle at Orvieto and reflect on the story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well in the fourth chapter of John. They will spend time examining this chapter in conjunction with what social science calls “the five thresholds of postmodern conversion” and learn a variety of helpful methods for assisting souls in coming closer to Jesus Christ. They will examine additional research on Church retention. The teachers will conclude in their small groups taking part in a Bible study on the meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus in John chapter 3 with an emphasis on the conversion process experienced by Nicodemus.

Session 3 |  Jesus, the Bread of Life

This third session will center on the Bread of Life Discourse in John chapter 6. This passage includes the core of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, and it is an example of a large group leaving the faith at the time of Jesus. Our discussion will include some time to reflect on why people leave the Church today. Teachers will also discuss the teaching of the Church on the Eucharist with some emphasis on denominational differences. The presentation will include a synopsis of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano. Our Bible study for this session will consider the story of the woman caught in adultery and Jesus’ response to her. 

Session 4 |  The Last Supper and Crucifixion Part 1

In our fourth session of the year, we will begin the first part of a two-part series on the Last Supper and the Crucifixion with special emphasis on how the various images and actions Jesus provides in these episodes would be perceived by the Jewish people of his time. This first part will give primary consideration to the Passover celebration itself, the Lamb, and the 4 cups taken at the meal. This session will also highlight the Eucharistic miracles of Argentina. Teachers will have an opportunity to reflect on the idea of suffering and how it affects individuals and communities and how we speak about suffering as Catholics. Finally, our teachers will have an opportunity to pray and discuss John’s story at the Last supper of the washing of feet in their small group Bible studies. 

Session 5 |  The Last Supper and Crucifixion Part 2

Our fifth session will be a continuation of the two-part series on the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Teachers will have an opportunity to reflect on the crucifixion and the dialogue Jesus has with the Blessed Mother and John. The focus for this session will be on the Temple itself, which Jesus ties to the resurrection, the Jewish notion of the priesthood, and continued development of the notion of sacrifice while our Eucharistic miracle segment will highlight the miracle of Tixtla, Mexico. Teachers will also discuss the Catholic notion of the priesthood compared to the Jewish notion. The Bible study for this session will focus on the encounter between Jesus and Peter after the resurrection, which will give teachers an opportunity to reflect on the idea of God’s infinite mercy. 

Session 6 |  Lazarus, Come Out!

Our final Eucharistic miracle of the year will take us to Sokólka, Poland while our session content will begin with a reflection on the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This will be presented as an analogy of faith and an example of the deepest levels of discipleship. Teachers will take part in a discussion on the belief of Mary and Martha vs. the unbelief of Thomas after the resurrection. Our session will also include a reflection on the commissioning of the disciples and the sending at the end of Mass. Our final Bible study of the year will be the Healing of the Blind Man in John chapter 9 and the potential consequences of discipleship in Jesus Chris

Optional: Christ the Teacher Retreat

Each year, the Evangelium Institute offers Catholic school teachers the opportunity to take part in a three-day retreat at the beginning of the summer break. This retreat takes place at the beautiful St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, NE. Each year we have been able to provide this retreat at a minimum of cost to teachers because of donations from generous people like you. To help in sponsoring a particular teacher for our 2024 retreat, please contact or make a general donation to that retreat here. 

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