Catholic Educators

Picture of Thomas Walters

Thomas P. Walters (b. 1942), Professor Emeritus of Religious Education and former academic dean at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, recognized for his research on catechetical ministry and parish catechetical leadership in the Roman Catholic Church. He has authored numerous books, articles, and research studies, lectured extensively on religious education/catechetics, and served in leadership positions nationally.

Biography

Thomas Paul Walters was born in Detroit, Michigan, on December 8, 1942 to Paul and Margaret Walters, the first of three children. The United States was engaged in World War II, and soon after Tom’s birth his father was drafted and sent to serve overseas in Germany. Upon his father’s discharge from the Army, the young family moved to Berkley, Michigan, a relatively new suburb of Detroit. At that time the local Catholic parish, Our Lady of LaSalette, was staffed by the LaSalette Fathers, who would have a strong influence on the direction of Tom’s early life. He and his sisters, Judith and Catherine, attended the parish school, and the family was very much the typical Catholic suburban family of the 1950’s.

 

Having been strongly influenced by the LaSalette Fathers who served the parish and the Sisters of Mercy who taught in the parish grade school, Tom enrolled in the LaSalette Fathers’ high school seminary in Jefferson City, Missouri. Although he was a good student, he was known more for his artistic talents, basketball skills, and mischievousness than for his academic achievements. Upon completion of high school and still considering priesthood as a life vocation, Tom attended Our Lady of LaSalette Seminary in Altamont, New York, for the first two years of college. As was customary in the community, he then went to Bloomfield, Connecticut, for a year’s novitiate in preparation for taking temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Following the novitiate and as a newly professed member of the community, he attended Our Lady of LaSalette Major Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. He graduated in 1966. During his time in Ipswich, he also took courses at Boston College and Boston University with the intent of possibly becoming a history teacher. In the fall of 1966, the community decided to send Tom’s class to the Catholic University of America to study for their Master of Divinity degree in preparation for ordination to priesthood. However, in the spring semester of that school year as his temporary vows were expiring, Tom discerned that he was not called to ordained ministry. In 1967, he discontinued his seminary studies, left the community, and returned home to Berkley.

 

With his return to lay life, Tom’s long standing desire to be a teacher took center stage.  His teaching career started with a fifth grade homeroom and a year of teaching religion and social studies at Holy Cross Grade School in Marine City, Michigan. This was followed by a year of teaching religion at Port Huron Catholic High School in Port Huron, Michigan. During the summers he served as a houseparent and counselor at the Baptist Children’s Home in Royal Oak, Michigan. For one year, while pursuing a master’s degree, he also taught religion part-time at Bishop Borgess High School in Redford Township, Michigan.

 

It was the late 1960s; Vatican Council II’s call for lay involvement in the Church’s ministry resounded loudly and clearly throughout the Catholic world. It was a call that would impact the rest of Tom’s life. After his many formative years in the seminary, years that spanned the pre-Vatican II Church and the aggiornamento of the Council, the call for lay involvement fed into Tom’s interest in religion and his curiosity as to how religious educators might more effectively inform, form and transform members of their local communities in both formal and informal settings. How, he wondered, can religious educators be respectful of both a religious tradition and the inherent freedom of persons in the changed and changing context of the late 1960s and early 1970s?

 

This was a time when religious sisters and lay men and women, many of whom were former sisters, seminarians, and priests, inspired by the call and vision of Vatican II, were enrolling in large numbers in religious education programs across the country. In September 1969, Tom enrolled in Pius XII Catechetical Institute at the University of Detroit, which was the official United States associate of Lumen Vitae, the catechetical center in Brussels, Belgium, founded by the Jesuits in 1957. Consultants to the Institute included: then-Jesuit Fr. Bernard Cooke; Fr. Edward Burckhardt, Director of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Detroit; Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum of the American Jewish Committee; and Alice L. Goddard, executive director, Department of Curriculum Development, National Council of Churches. It was at Pius XII that Tom met his future wife, Rita Tyson, who would be an integral part of his personal and professional life as well as the mother of their three children – Daniel, Rebecca and David. They were married in December of 1970 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

 

In July, 1970 with his master of arts in religious education degree in hand, Tom began what would prove to be a long and productive involvement in parish religious education. His first employment was as the Director of Religious Education at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The ministry of director (or coordinator) of religious education (DRE/CRE) was coming into its own in the Catholic Church, and organizations for parish religious educators were forming on the local, diocesan and national levels (Neiman, 1971). Tom took an active role in these organizations, particularly the Community of Religious Education Directors (CORED) and the long standing Religious Education Association (REA). It was at this time that Tom’s professional interest in the role, function and effectiveness of parish religious educators took root.

 

In 1972, Tom was invited by Fr. Dan Murphy, pastor of St. Timothy Parish in Trenton, Michigan, to join the parish staff as DRE. Here he worked with Fr. Murphy and his associate pastor, Fr. Brian Haggerty, who was the co-author with Christiane Brusselmans of We Celebrate the Eucharist (1971) and We Celebrate Reconciliation (1972). During Tom’s time at St. Timothy’s he and Fr. Haggerty collaborated on the writing of two sacramental textbooks one on Confirmation, We Receive the Spirit of Jesus (1978), and the other on Baptism, We Share New Life (1979). It was during his tenure at Saint Timothy’s that he produced the first of many published articles on the director of religious education.  He became a regular contributor to PACE (Professional Approaches for Christian Educators), an early publication from Saint Mary’s Press intended for and written in large part by directors and coordinators of religious education. Tom became a strong advocate for accountability in parish catechetical programming and the professionalization of the ministry.

 

The social sciences during this period strongly influenced the study and understanding of religion, and were raising more and more questions for Tom. How ought this research to influence how one educates for membership in the Catholic Church community?  How does one measure religious faith? Where does freedom and commitment fit in classroom religious education? What does it mean to share the light of faith in a culture of choice? In short, what is effective religious education and how does one achieve it? His curiosity regarding the practical impact of religion on education and education on religion impelled him to apply for admittance to the doctoral program in educational psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit.  His acceptance and subsequent studies sparked a life-long interest in bringing a research perspective to the Church’s catechetical efforts. He successfully defended his dissertation, “A Study of the Relationship between Religious Orientation and Cognitive Moral Maturity in Volunteer Religion Teachers from Selected Suburban Catholic Parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit,” in April 1980.

 

In 1978, Tom was invited by Fr. Jerry Brzezinski, Director of the Religious Education Office of the Archdiocese of Detroit, to join the Office staff as Supervisor of Evaluations. In this position he was to assist the Archdiocese in finding answers to questions such as: Are parish programs making a difference in participants’ lives? What criteria are or should be used to judge effectiveness? Are parishes being realistic in their expectations for religious education programming? In other words, where was the Archdiocese going in its catechetical endeavors and how was it assessing the effectiveness of efforts on the local level. This resulted in his editing the Handbook for Evaluators (Paulist Press, 1984), a compendium of assessment tools for assessing parish religious education programs. It was during his tenure with the Archdiocese that Tom conducted the first of many surveys profiling the religious education director/catechetical leader. The National Profile of Professional Religious Education Coordinators/Directors was published in 1983.

 

After five years of working in the Office of Religious Education, Tom’s desire to devote less time to administration and more time to research and teaching grew stronger. Serendipitously, Sister Mary Caroline Marchal, SC, Associate Academic Dean at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, a Roman Catholic seminary with a well-respected and long-standing summer school program focusing on religious education, knew of Tom’s work and having met him at an REA annual meeting, invited him to apply for a faculty position in religious education. He applied and was hired. In the fall of 1983, Tom’s tenure at Saint Meinrad began.

 

Ironically, three years into his teaching career, Tom was invited to accept the role of academic dean. He reluctantly but willingly did so, and for a total of 17 ½ years (in two stints) he served as both academic dean and professor of religious education/catechetics. In 2010 he stepped down from the academic dean’s position, and in 2013 he retired from teaching. Upon his retirement he was awarded the status of professor emeritus.

 

During his thirty-year tenure at Saint Meinrad, Tom has taught a variety of courses, including The Catechetical Ministry, American Catholic Identity, Adult Religious Education, The Catholic School, The Moral Life of Children, and Sharing the Light of Faith in a Media Culture. He instills in his students, seminarians and lay persons alike, an understanding and appreciation of the Church’s catechetical tradition and documents as well as the importance of grounding their catechetical efforts in a sound philosophy of education. To teach effectively, he stresses, they must have clarity of vision and an informed understanding of the four key variables in the teaching/learning act – teacher, learner, subject matter and context.

 

An avid reader, Tom has been influenced by experts in both secular and religious arenas. He draws heavily on the Developmental School and is partial to the writings of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Selman, and Michael Quinn Patton, but he is also influenced, surprisingly, by the works of B.F. Skinner, Robert F. Mager, and Albert Ellis. The religious educators who have had and continue to have a strong influence on Tom’s teaching and research are James Michael Lee, Gabriel Moran, Maria Harris, John Elias, Didier Piveteau, Graham Rossiter, and Melissa Crawford. In addition, his teaching and research draw heavily on the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and its catechetical documents.

 

Tom is known for his sense of humor and willingness to serve the catechetical community in the Catholic Church whenever, however, and wherever he can. He is unselfish with his time and talents. His pedagogical gifts lie in being able to facilitate informed conversation. As he sees it, his special calling as a religious educator is to help survey the catechetical landscape and to raise questions based on what he finds—questions that will aid students and practitioners in arriving at realistic solutions that impact the effectiveness of current catechetical practice. He often says that his professional efforts have focused not on telling people what they need to do, but rather on helping them to look at where they have been, how they got there, and where they hope to go. Then he helps them to identify the practical steps that need to be taken to move forward. His emphasis as a religious educator is on context and how it both shapes and guides. His gift for facilitation is affirmed by the number of invitations he receives from a wide-variety of Church affiliated organizations and groups on the national, diocesan and local levels to assess and to guide their planning or problem solving efforts.

 

Tom is quick to note that he is not a theologian; he is an educator interested in the dialectical relationship between education and religion, particularly how social context impacts the teaching/learning process and the Church’s efforts to share effectively the light of faith. It is Tom’s firmly held belief that catechesis not only includes religious education but depends upon it, if it is not to be lost in “a morass of feeling, enthusiasm, and vested interests uninformed and unformed by intellectual discipline.” (Walters and Leddy p. 304)

 

Over the years, Tom has been an active member and has served in leadership positions in a number of organizations, viz., Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM), Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (APPRE), Mid-West Association of Theological Schools (MATS), National Association of Parish Coordinators and Directors of Religious Education (NPCD), and National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL). He continues to be actively involved in these organizations and currently serves on the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Faculty Development Advisory Committee.


Contributions to Christian Education

Whatever I have learned in my life is questions

and whatever I have tried to share with friends is questions.

 

A framed calligraphy of this quote from Elie Wiesel holds a prominent place on the bookshelf in Tom’s office at Saint Meinrad. It reflects his approach to teaching and life in general. There are four questions that he continually asks as a researcher, a writer, and a teacher. They are the questions he continually brings to his students and colleagues alike - Where have we been? Where are we now? Where do we need to go?  How are we going to get there?

 

Tom’s contribution to the field of religious education is his ongoing commitment to the use of the social sciences in the catechetical ministry in the Catholic Church in the United States. Tom is a practitioner, not a theoretician. His focus is on the reality of the here and now. He strives to gain as accurate a picture of the present situation as possible. He strives to provide catechetical leaders with snapshots of where they and the catechetical ministry presently stand. His philosophy is to help religious educators see what is and to present options from which they can make informed decisions. His skills have been utilized by national organizations, diocesan offices of religious education, religious communities, educational institutions, publishers, and local parishes.

 

One area of research that has received a great deal of Tom’s attention has been the parish director/coordinator of religious education. Aside from a 1978 study by Rev. Eugene Hemrick, little empirical research had been done on the parish coordinator or director of religious education in the Catholic community. In 1981 as a member of the Archdiocese of Detroit Religious Education Office, Tom conducted the first of his many surveys of parish religious educators/catechetical leaders. The survey was funded by the National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education (NCDD) in cooperation with the Office of Research of the United States Catholic Conference and the Religious Education Office of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The study identified and profiled persons who were considered to be “professionals” in the area of parish religious education programming and administration. The study ranged from academic preparation and salaries to perceived effectiveness and professionalism, providing a benchmark for the profession.

 

Thirty years later he, along with his wife, Rita, conducted a follow-up to the 1981 national survey. This study likewise provided a profile of who parish catechetical leaders are and how effective they judge their efforts to be in the communities they serve. The results of this survey are available online at http://www.saintmeinrad.edu/professors/walters.

 

Between these two major endeavors (1981 and 2011), Tom’s research focus has been wide-ranging and collaborative. Following are descriptions of a sampling of the research projects he has been involved in.

 

·      In 1983 with Roy and Judy Curry, oversaw The National Study of Diocesan Leadership Persons in Pastoral Ministry with the Deaf. The survey was conducted by the Archdiocese of Detroit Office of Religious Education and sponsored by the National Catholic Office for the Deaf.

 

·      From 1986 - 1992, in conjunction with Wayne Smith and Sylvia Marotta, conducted a longitudinal study of parish directors of religious education. The results were published as A Hopeful Horizon: A Progressive Study of Parish DREs’ Training and Educational Needs, (Walters, Smith, & Marotta, 1993).

 

·      In 1989, along with Joseph Sinwell and Rita Walters, in cooperation with the National Catholic Educational Association’s Conference of Directors of Religious Education and Chief Administrators of Catholic Education (NCDRE/CACE) and the National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education (NCDD) surveyed diocesan directors across the nation. The results were published in National Profile of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education (T. P. Walters, Sinwell, & R.T. Walters, 1990).

 

·      In 1998, Tom and Rita revisited A Hopeful Horizon with a survey that resulted in the publication of Catechetical Leaders: A Statistical Profile (T. P. Walters & R. T. Walters, 1998a). Also in this year, they produced the National Profile of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education (T. P. Walters & R. T. Walters, 1998b), which profiled diocesan directors, their working conditions, and their concerns for the catechetical ministry as they look to the future.

 

·      In 2002 along with James Davidson, Bede Cisco, Katherine Meyer, and Charles Zech, he designed a survey to identify the spiritual practices of lay ministers. This study resulted in the publication of Lay Ministers and Their Spiritual Practices (Davidson, Walters, Cisco, et al. 2003).

 

·      In 2003 Tom, in conjunction with Rita, sought to identify what an “effective” catechetical leader looked like by surveying catechetical leaders who were judged by their diocesan director of religious education to be effective in their ministry. Living in an Age of Hope: A Profile of Effective Catechetical Leaders (T. P. Walters & R. T. Walters, 2003) reported the findings of this survey.

 

·      From 2007-2008, Tom was an active participant in a project of the Midwest Association of Theological Schools (MATS) and Educational Development Center (EDC) supported by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion that resulted in In Fulfillment of Their Mission: The Duties and Tasks of a Roman Catholic Priest. (Ippolito, Latcovich, & Malyn-Smith, 2008).

 

·      In 2009, in an effort to prepare for a generational “changing of the guard” in parish catechetical ministry in the United States, Tom and Rita surveyed parish catechetical leaders across the nation. This resulted in the publication of A Crucial Key: Generational Perspectives and Catechetical Leadership (T. P. Walters & R. T. Walters, 2009).

 

Tom’s contribution to these and many other studies has been substantial. He brought his skill and knowledge as a religious educator and researcher to each project. In addition, his involvement has been personally rewarding. He explains, “I get involved in various studies because people invite me and I can’t say no. Also, I learn as much, if not more, from my involvement in these diverse activities as I do from reading books and articles. I prefer to learn from the individuals who are responsible directly for programming on parish, diocesan or national levels. In this way, I get a firsthand account of what is working and what is not.  This from-the-field information, I believe, has served me well as both a teacher and an administrator.” (T. Walters, personal interview, April 2, 2012)

 

Tom is well respected by faculty and students alike. He often states what a joy and privilege it is to work with seminarians and lay students because they are the Church’s future. He notes, “They are the ones to ask the questions that will move the Church forward in the years to come. As their teacher I have the responsibility of providing them with a safe environment in which they can identify and engage, with guidance, the issues that confront today’s religious educators. I provide a space where together we may arrive at practical insights into how to improve the Church’s formal efforts to nurture faith and to hand on its traditions. We are in this together. We are partners in the Church’s efforts to bring the Gospel message to the next generation.” (T. Walters, personal interview, April 2, 2012)

 

Tom served as academic dean at Saint Meinrad for nearly eighteen years. During his tenure, he was an active member of MATS (Mid-West Association of Theological Schools), and served as its president. He guided the School through two Association of Theological Schools and Higher Learning Commission re-accreditation visits and two curricular reviews. He was also an active member of an assessment project to identify the duties and tasks of a Roman Catholic priest. The results of which now serve the School as a framework for curriculum review, analysis of syllabi, and faculty study.

 

Over the years Tom has received several awards for his many contributions. Among them are the following:

 

·      1980 Award of Excellence from Modern Liturgy for Baptismal program, We Share New Life (Paulist Press, 1979).

 

·      1981 Religious Education Association Sam Gamgee Award for Surprising Service to Religious Education through Research (for doctoral dissertation).

 

·      2000 National Conference for Catechetical Leadership Research Award. Granted for contributions over the years to research in the catechetical ministry.

 

·      2007 The Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry Called and Gifted Award “[I]n recognition of outstanding leadership and contribution to Graduate Ministry Education.”

 

·      2009 F. Sadlier Dinger “Awarded in Recognition of Wisdom, Vision and Leadership Serving and Enriching the Ministry of Catechesis.”

 

·      2012 C. Albert Koob Merit Award Tom and his wife, Rita, jointly received this award given by the National Catholic Educational Association for “significant contribution to Catholic education … [which is] recognized as having current significance at the national level.”

 

The recurring themes in Tom’s research, presentations, publications and teaching are captured in the following questions:  What is the nature and scope of the profession of catechetical leader?  Are catechetical leaders effective in what they claim to be able to do? How do we/they know? What can be expected realistically from the prevalent structure for parish religious education —class once a week for approximately 30 weeks a year? What does the real Catholic community look like and how is it impacting the Church’s catechetical efforts? How does the Church’s emphasis on faith as a gift impact the intended goals and outcomes of catechetical programming and programmatic assessment?

 

To paraphrase Elie Wiesel, what Tom has learned in his professional life as a religious educator is questions. Likewise, what he continues to share with enthusiasm and insight with friends and colleagues alike is a committed researcher’s thoughtful and challenging questions.

 

Tom’s legacy lies in his insistence that religious educators on all levels and in all settings ask the hard questions regarding the intent and effectiveness of their efforts and that they ground their answers to these questions not only in the theological disciplines but also in the social sciences. His faithfulness in this regard can serve as a model for all religious educators.

 

Upon his reception of the C. Albert Koob Award from NCEA in 2012, Tom received a congratulatory note from a former student, a religious sister whom he had taught 27 years earlier. Sister wrote, “Thanks for all you do for catechetical leaders—as I learned from you—ask lots of questions—I learned that from being so frustrated with your questions. My students would probably say I was the Queen of Questions—at least it gets them thinking like it did me. Again, thank you.”

Works Cited

Ippolito, J., Latcovich, M., & Malyn-Smith, J. (2008). In fulfillment of their mission: The duties and tasks of a Roman Catholic priest. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

Neiman, J. C., (1971). Coordinators. Winona, MN: St. Mary’s College Press.

Walters, T. P., & Leddy, J.P. (1981, Summer). Religious education: Focusing the light of faith. The Living Light, 303-308.


Bibliography

Books:

·      Davidson, J., Walters, T., Cisco, B., et al. (2003). Lay ministers and their spiritual practices. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor.

 

·      Topper, C., Telepak, G., Walters, T., & Walters, R. (1993). Education for ministry: A survey of graduate ministry programs 1992-1993. New Orleans, LA: Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (1983). DRE: Issues and concerns for the 80s. Washington, DC: National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1983). National profile of professional religious education coordinators/directors. Washington, DC: National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (1984). Handbook for parish evaluation.  New York: Paulist Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (2001). The effective DRE: A theology series. Chicago: Loyola Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (2002). Catholic basics: A pastoral ministry series. Chicago: Loyola Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2011). Are you called to the married life? [Pamphlet]. St. Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Crawford, B. J. (Eds.). (2001). The millennial generation: Hearing God’s call. St. Meinrad, IN: Saint Meinrad School of Theology.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Gallo, K., Grenough, S., & Walters, R. T. (2000). Sowing the seeds of faith [Pamphlets]. Washington, DC: National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Haggerty, B. A. (1978). We receive the spirit of Jesus.  New York: Paulist Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Haggerty, B. A., & and Walters, R. (1979). We share new life.  New York: Paulist Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Kubick, A. J. (1990). DRE yesterday today tomorrow.  Washington, DC: National Association of Parish Coordinators/Directors of Religious Education, National Catholic Educational Association and the National Conference of Diocesan Directors.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Sinwell, J. P., & Walters, R. T. (1990). National profile of diocesan directors of religious education. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Smith, W., & Marotta, S. (1993). A hopeful horizon: A progressive study of parish DREs' training and educational needs. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (1986). Making a difference: A catechist's guide to successful classroom management. Kansas City, MO: Sheed & Ward.

 

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (1991). Working smarter, not harder: A survival guide for catechists. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (1998a). Catechetical leaders: A statistical profile. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (1998b). National profile of diocesan directors of religious education. Washington, DC: National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (2003). Living in an age of hope: A profile of effective catechetical leaders. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (2009). A crucial key: Generational perspectives and catechetical leadership. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

Book Chapters:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1980). The coordinator—A functional definition. In M. Harris (ED.), The DRE reader (pp.15-18). Winona, MN: St. Mary's Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1980). Parenting general introduction. In M. Gallagher (Ed.), Parenting (pp.1-10). New York: Paulist Press.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1983). Program effectiveness and professional identity. In T. P. Walters (Ed.), DRE: Issues and concerns for the 80s (pp. 61-74). Washington, DC: National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993). With dignity and freedom: Quality religious education in a Catholic context. In C. N. Jefford (Ed.), Christian freedom (pp. 163-179). New York: Peter Lang.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996). Overview of On Evangelization in the Modern World. In The catechetical documents: A parish resource (pp. 150-154). Chicago: Liturgical Training Publications.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996). DREs and the public schools: A call to action. In P. O’Hare (Ed.),  Keeping PACE: 25 Years of theology, education, and ministry from PACE (pp. 307-311). Dubuque, IA: Brown-Roa.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2001). Millennial youth: Facts, figures and priestly vocations. In T. Walters & B. Crawford (Eds.), The millennial generation: Hearing God’s call (pp. 15-25). St. Meinrad, IN: Saint Meinrad School of Theology.

 

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Leddy, J. P. (1981). Religious education: Focusing the light of faith.  In J. Leddy (Ed.), Senior high ministry religious education/catechesis (pp.112-120). Detroit, MI: Archdiocese of Detroit.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (1977). Managing student behavior. In J. Manternach and C. J. Pfeiffer (Eds.), A book for all seasons. West Mystic, CT: Twenty-third Publications.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (1980). Speaking of money. In J. M. Heisberger (Ed.), Enriching your marriage (pp. 91-103). New York: Paulist Press.

 

Articles:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1973, October). The coordinator - a functional definition. PACE, Settings-Parish-B.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1976, February). Adolescent catechesis: A perspective, Catechist, 11.

                                                                                                                                                 

·      Walters, T. P. (1977, September). School and CCD: Meeting the conflict. Today's Parish, 8-11.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1981, May/June). It's job evaluation time again! Today's Parish, 21-23.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1982, March). Defuse Leadership Conflict. Today's Parish, 14-16.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1984, February). Selecting a religion textbook: Some guiding principles. PACE 14, Teaching-H.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1985, Winter). Challenge to the DRE: The search for a systematic and total parish catechesis. The Living Light, 7-18.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1985, February). Selecting a high school religion textbook: Some guiding principles. Ministry Management, 5(3), 1.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1985, March). A student's ‘thank you.’ The Catechist Connection, 1-3.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1986, May). Does it make any difference? The Catechist Connection, 1-2.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1987, May). Catechesis and the community of faith: Three basic questions. PACE 17, 229-234.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1987, May). Intentions and findings - an unexpected difference. Momentum, 42-44.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1987, October). Where are we going? A case for learning objectives in religious education. PACE 18, 20-24.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1988, Fall). Futuring the present: Directional questions for parish catechesis. The Living Light, 295-301.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1988). Admissions: An academic dean's theory and practice. Convocation of Admissions Personnel of Seminaries: Partial Proceedings. Washington, DC: National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Priestly Formation, 41-43.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1989, April). Are our children growing up Catholic? Marriage & Family,   22-25.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1989, Summer). Religious education update: The opening of the American mind. The Living Light, 208-220.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1989, November 14). An original vision revisited. Parish Coordinators/Directors of Religious Education, 4-5.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1990, Winter). Instructional objectives, catechesis and the future. Religious Education, 84-91.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1990, Fall). DRE: Minister or professional? The Living Light, 69-73.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1991, December). Setting a plan of action: A MATS prognostication of the future of theological schools. Seminary News, 5-7.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1992, Winter). Looking to the nineties: Reflections on a symposium. The Living Light, 98-100.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1992, September). The changing face of the DRE. Momentum, 53-56.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1992, September). The changing face of the DRE. [Excerpt]. Alternative Models, 1-2.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993, January/February). Forging new links. Focus, 10.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993, March). Public schooling: A call to action. [White Paper]. Washington, DC: National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993, April). Sharing a light of faith for the twenty-first century. PACE 22, 11-14.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993, May). DREs and the public schools: A call to action. PACE 22, 17-20.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1994, February). The parish and the public schools. Sharing News 12.2, 2-4.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1994, April). A hopeful horizon: fact or fiction. PACE 24, 13-17.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1995, December). The catechetical vocation: A call to question. Suggested Readings, 3-6.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996, January/February). 1995 Research award: The caring project.  Catechetical Leadership 8.1, 1, 4.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1995, April). Making a difference: A modest proposal. An NCCL Update 10, 2-3.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996, March/April). 1995 Research award: The Catholic parish and public school teachers. Catechetical Leadership 8.1, 5.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996, Summer). 1995 Research award: Religious education assessment system.  Catechetical Leadership 8.3, 5-6.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1996, Summer). NCCL president-elect outlines a vision. Catechetical Leadership 8.3, 4-5.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, Summer). Adequately mapping the catechetical terrain. Catechetical Leadership 9.3, 2-3.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, February/March). A renewed call to catechetical competence. Momentum, 22-24.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, February). A call to action: Support your public schools. Catechist, 13-14.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, Fall). Mapping the catechetical terrain. Catechist, 54.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, August/September). A modest proposal. Catechist, 85-86.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, September/October). Adequately mapping the catechetical terrain  (Part 2). Catechetical Leadership 9.4, 2.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, December). A hopeful past - A hopeful future. Catechetical Leadership 9.5, 2-3.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1997, December). The changing face of the parish catechetical leader: Program effectiveness, NPCD News 24.2, 2-4.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1998, Winter). Adequately mapping the catechetical terrain (Part 3). Catechetical Leadership 10.1, 2.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1998, April/May). State of the conference: The president’s perspective. Catechetical Leadership 10.2, 8.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1998, Fall). Catechetical data in a digital world. Catechetical Leadership 10.5, 7.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1998, December). A time to go public. FaithWorks 1.4, 1-2.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1999, Winter). Catholic literacy: A modest proposal. The Living Light. 59-71.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2000, May). After the Mid-South IT Conference. Saint Meinrad Technology News 1.4, 3, 8.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2003, February/March). What makes an effective catechetical leader? Momentum, 67-69.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2006, January). A look to the future: Today’s seminarians. Catechetical Leader 17.1, 10-13.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Hayes, M. (1985, November). 1985 and beyond: DREs forecast the future of parish religious education. PACE 16, 58-60.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Klimoski, V. J. (1994, February). For those who would be priest: The call to administrative competence. New Theology Review 7.1, 80-85.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Leddy, J.P. (1981, Summer). Religious education: Focusing the light of faith. The Living Light, 303-308.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Marotta, S., & Smith, W. (1990, December). The DRE: A progressive study. PACE 20, 92-95.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Marotta, S., & Smith, W. (1991, January). The DRE: An emerging identity. PACE 20, 127-130.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Marotta, S., & Smith, W. (1991, February). The DRE: Have they made a difference? PACE 20, 166-169.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Marotta, S. & Smith, W. (1991, October). The DRE: Directional questions for the 90s. PACE 21, 16-20.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Reichert, R. (1997, January). The Revised General Catechetical Directory: A study guide. An NCCL Update 14, 4-6.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Scarano, E. (1982, September). AV's and how to use them. Religion Teacher's Journal, 32-33.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Scarano, E. (1983, January/February). Equipos audio-visuales y como usarlos. Response, 7-8.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Reis, P. J. (1983, July/August). Recruiting and screening prospective catechists. Catechist, 18-19.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. (1975, February). Managing student behavior, Religion Teacher's Journal, 16-17.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (1991, May). The DRE yesterday, today, tomorrow: An annotated bibliography. PACE 20, 314-326.

 

Book Reviews:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1982, April 9). The church's attempt to educate. [Review of the book Christian religious education]. Commonweal, pp. 214-216.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1982, Spring). [Review of the book Toward more effective research in the church]. The Living Light, pp. 94-95.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1983, Spring). [Review of the book Hope for the decade: A look at the issues facing Catholic youth ministry]. Religious Education, pp. 288-289.

 

·      Walters, T. P.  (1984, Fall). [Review of the book Changing patterns of religious education]. Religious Education, pp. 632,634.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1987, Spring). [Review of the book The genesis effect: Personal and organizational transformation]. The Living Light, pp. 181-182.

 

·      Walters, T. P.  (1989, November). [Review of the book Missionaries to a teenage culture: Religious education in a time of rapid change]. Momentum, pp. 78-79.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1993, Winter). [Review of the book Education for ministry]. The Living Light, pp. 88-89.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1998, Summer). [Review of the book Sourcebook for modern catechetics Volume II]. The Living Light, pp. 79-81.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2004, Spring). [Review of the book Horizons & hopes: The future of religious education]. Religious Education, pp. 207-209.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2002, Winter). [Review of the book Toward an adult church: A vision of faith formation]. The Living Light, pp.89-91.

 

Unpublished Surveys:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1985, July). Summative evaluation, Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education. Indianapolis, IN: Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1985, December). Learning outcomes and DRE credentialing. Washington, DC: National Association of Parish Coordinators/Directors.

 

·      Walters, T. P., Curry, R., & Curry J. (1983, Fall). National study of diocesan leadership persons in pastoral ministry with the deaf, sponsored by the National Catholic Office for the Deaf. Detroit, MI: Archdiocese of Detroit, Religious Education/Catechesis.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (1984). Profile of religious education coordinators/directors. Cincinnati, OH: Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (1985, Fall). Attitude survey on the sacrament of penance. Saginaw, MI: Diocese of Saginaw.

 

Electronic Publications:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (2006). Alfred McBride. Christian educators of the 20th century project. LaMirada, CA: Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. http://www2.talbot.edu/ce20/educators/view.cfm?n=alfred_mcbridehttp://www2.talbot.edu/ce20/educators/view.cfm?n=alfred_mcbride

 

·      Walters, T. P. & Walters, R.T. (2011). Working smarter, not harder. Grand Rapids, MI: faithAlivebooks.com. http://www.eCatechist.comhttp://www.eCatechist.com.

 

·      Walters, T. P., & Walters, R. T. (2011). National profile of parish catechetical leaders. Santa Claus, IN: T & R Research. http://www.saintmeinrad.edu/professors/walters.

 

Encyclopedia/Dictionary Entries:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1990). Catechumenate. In Harper’s dictionary of religious education (pp. 103-104). New York: Harper & Row.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (1991). Director of religious education (DRE). In The new Catholic encyclopedia (Vol. 18, pp. 121-122). New York: McGraw-Hill.

 

Videotapes/Audiotapes/CDs:

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1976). How to hire (or be) a parish coordinator.  (Audiocassette).  Kansas City, MO: National Catholic Reporter.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1985, April 11). Challenge to the DRE.  (Audiocassette).  Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association. 

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1986, April 10). Synthesis and challenges.  (Audiocassette). Columbia, MD: National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education, NCDD Cassette Services.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1987, March 7). Parish religious education: A look to the future. (Audiocassette). Chicago, Credence Cassettes.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1988, April 5). The DRE ministry today and in the future. (Audiocassette). Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1988, March 11). Are we making a difference?  (Audiocassette). Anaheim, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1988, March 13). Parish religious education and learning objectives. (Audiocassette). Anaheim, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes. 

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1989, February 24). Where are we going? How will we get there? How will we know we’ve arrived? (Audiocassette). Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video communications, Inc.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1989, February 24). Professional update: Religious education. (Audiocassette). Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications, Inc. 

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1993, April 14). Questions on the hopeful horizon. (Audiocassette). Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications, Inc.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1997). A hopeful horizon: Fact or fiction. (Audiocassette). Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1997). A hopeful horizon: Revisited. (Audiocassette). Washington, DC: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications, Inc.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (1997). Working smarter, not harder. (Audiocassette). Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (2001). Catholic literacy: A modest proposal. (Audiocassette).  Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes.

 

·      Walters, T. P. (Speaker). (2001). Making a difference. (Audiocassette). Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes.

 

Presentations/Workshops/Projects:

 

Since beginning his career as a religious educator, Tom has given over 200 presentations and workshops and has been involved in a number of wide-ranging projects.  Here is a representative sample of his work.

 

·         Presenter. (1979, October 5). Sacraments of initiation. Cincinnati, OH: Ohio Catholic Education Association.

 

·         Presenter. (1982, April 15). Current state of DRE research. Chicago, IL: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·         Presenter. (1982, October 28-29). Standardized tests and the religion curriculum. Grand Rapids, MI: Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools.

 

·         Symposium presenter. (1984, May 10). Program effectiveness and professional identity. Bronx, NY: Fordham University.

 

·         Presenter. (1984, October 10-11). Beyond 1984—Images of the future. Beech Grove, IN: Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

 

·         Presenter. (1985, June 11-12). Are we making a difference? Evaluating Parish Catechetical Programs; Parish Religious Education: Fact and Fiction; and Parish Religious Education: 1985 and Beyond. Seattle, WA: Seattle University Office of Continuing Education, Association of Parish Administrators of Religious Education, and National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·         Presenter. (1985, October 21-24). What difference does it make? A look at current research on parish religious education; Gaining a perspective: An adult view; An empowering religious education: A question of motivation; and Making a difference: A case for program evaluation in religious education. Randolph Air Force Base, TX: Office Chief of Air Force Chaplains.

 

·         Presenter. (1986, February 21). Where are we going and how will we know when we're there? Columbus, IN: Association of Parish Administrators of Religious Education National Catholic Educational Association, and Office of Catholic Education Archdiocese of Indianapolis. 

 

·         Presenter. (1986, June 12-14). Evaluating parish programs: A blessing or a curse? DREs: The present picture, and All things considered: Imagining the future. Springfield, IL: National Association of Parish Coordinators/Directors of Religious Education.

 

·         Presenter. (1986, August 13). A learning outcomes approach to parish catechesis. Clarkston, MI: National Catholic Educational Association, Michigan Diocesan Departments of Religious Education and Youth Ministry.

 

·         Workshop presenter. (1987, March 16-20). Making a difference. North Palm Beach, FL: Tactical Air Command, United States Air Force.

 

·         Presenter at plenary session. (1987, October 31). When I am teaching... Toronto, Canada: Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education.

 

·         Presenter. (1988, June 30). Admissions: An academic dean's theory and practice. Hales Corners, WI: National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Priestly Formation.

 

·         Presenter. (1989, February 24). Religious education update: The opening of the American mind. Washington, DC: Time Consultants.

 

·         Workshop presenter. (1990, March 17-18). Parish religious education: Vision and tactics for the future. Villanova, PA: Villanova University.

 

·         Presenter. (1990, October 16). Striving toward quality religious education. Baltimore, MD: National Catholic Educational Association, Chief Administrators of Catholic Education.

 

·         Planner, presenter. (1991, September 8-9). To teach as Jesus did into the 90s. Washington, DC: Department of Education United States Catholic Conference.

 

·         Presenter. (1991, October 11).  Setting a plan of action: A MATS prognostication of the future of the theological school. Chicago, IL: Midwest Association of Theological Schools.

 

·         Keynote speaker. (1992, April 3). The DRE: Challenges and directions for the 90s. Columbia, MD: Mid-East Religious Educators Federation.

 

·         Presenter. (1992, October 23-24). Sharing a light of faith for the 21st century. Gary, IN: Diocese of Gary.

 

·         Workshop presenter. (1993, August 13). Working smarter, not harder. San Antonio, TX: Archdiocese of San Antonio.

 

·         Keynote speaker. (1994, October 1). You are salt, you are light. Louisville, KY: Kentucky Statewide DRE/CRE Assembly.

 

·         Facilitator and presenter. (1995, January 9-10). Empowering prophetic leaders. Beaumont, TX: Texas Catholic Conference, Department of Religious Education.

 

·         Presenter. (1996, January 5-6). Sharing the light of faith in a TV culture. New Orleans, LA: Diocese of New Orleans Johannes Hofinger Catechetical Conference.

 

·         Presenter. (1996, June 18-20). Journeying into the 21st century: Sharing the light of faith. Esopus, NY: New York State Council of Diocesan Directors.

 

·         Presenter. (1997, February 21-23). Where are we going? How will we get there? How will we know we've arrived? Washington, DC: National Center for Pastoral Leadership.

 

·         Resource Person. (1997, March 15-16). Consultation on leadership for ecclesial lay ministry. Washington, DC: Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth.

 

·         Planner and Facilitator. (1997, September 11-14). Future directions symposium.  Harwich Port, MA: Silver Burdett Ginn Publishing Company.

 

·         Planner and Facilitator. (1999, March 4). Think tank on adult formation. Louisville, KY: Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Lifelong Formation and Education,

 

·         Presenter. (2000, April 1). Christian education in 2000: A Roman Catholic perspective. Louisville, KY: Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.

 

·         Presenter. (2001, February 16-18). Catholic literacy: A modest proposal and Working smarter, not harder. Anaheim, CA: Archdiocese of Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

 

·         Presenter. (2001, July 16-17). The DRE: Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Collegeville, MN:  St. John University, Office of Lifelong Learning.

 

·         Facilitator and presenter. (2002, June 13). Sharing values in a media culture. Evansville, IN: Raintree Girl Scout Council.

 

·         Presenter. (2003, November 3). Living in an age of hope: A profile of effective catechetical leaders. Providence, RI: Chief Administrators of Catholic Education.

 

·         Advisory committee member. (2004, May 27). NCEA study of the continuing education needs of priests ordained five to nine years. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America, Life Cycle Institute.

 

·         Presenter. (2005, January 27-28). Life abundant: Theological education in service to the church. Indianapolis, IN: Fund for Theological Education.

 

·         Team member. (2005. October 9-12). Review of the Notre Dame Institute for Church Life, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame.

 

·         Team member. (2006-2008). Project to identify the tasks of Roman Catholic priests. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

 

·         Presenter. (2007, January 12). Presentation to seminary presidents on the role of the academic dean in seminary formation. Savannah, GA: Association of Theological Schools.

 

·         Symposium Presenter. (2008, June 18-20). Symposium to explore the future of catechesis, Baltimore, MD: RCL Benziger Publishing.

 

·         Presenter. (2009, April 17). Who comes behind us? Generational perspectives. Los Angeles, CA: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·         Presenter. (2009, September 21-22). Today’s Catholic conversation and Who are we: Generational perspectives. Terre Haute, IN: Indiana Diocesan Directors of Religious Education.

 

·         Facilitator. (2009, October 15-16). Strategic planning. LaPorte, IN: National Religious Vocations Conference.

 

·         Presenter. (2010, March 12-19). Making a difference: Bringing realism to parish k-12 programs and Catechetical leaders and the future of the ministry. Los Angeles, CA:  Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

 

·         Committee member. (2011, July 12-14). ACRE advisory/blueprint committee in conjunction with Educational Testing Services. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

·         Presenter. (2012, May 10). National survey of parish catechetical leaders. San Diego, CA: National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. 


Excerpts from Publications

Walters, T. P., & Leddy, J.P. (1981, Summer). Religious education: Focusing the light of faith. The Living Light, 303-308.

 

Because it is our belief that catechesis not only includes religious education but depends upon it, we feel it is important, not only for catechists but also for the integrity of adult believers, to underscore and maintain the distinction. Otherwise, the danger is that religious education will be lost, leaving catechesis in a morass of feeling, enthusiasm, and vested interests uninformed and unformed by intellectual discipline. The complementarities and differences between religious education and catechesis must be maintained.  (p. 304)

It is to be noted that neither catechesis nor religious education has an exclusive content. They often deal with the same subject matter and draw on the insights of many of the same complementary disciplines (e.g., philosophy, theology, psychology, et al.). However, though catechesis may draw on these disciplines, it does not necessarily do so consciously; rather, it must presume an education in these disciplines on the part of the catechist. This is the work of religious education. (p. 306)

 

Walters, T. P. (1989, Summer). Religious education update: The opening of the American mind. The Living Light, 208-220.

 

Learning is a social phenomenon. One learns to be Catholic by witnessing and being involved in an active and vibrant community of believers and not simply by being told what Catholic people should believe and why it is good and necessary to be one. Learning is “produced by mutual participation in interesting activities, not by panegyrics.”  In the words of Frank Smith, “learning is the result of the company you keep.”

 

The secret to becoming a good Catholic, like the secret to becoming a good anything, is exposure to living examples, people who know and love what they are doing and whose lives invite imitation. Learning to be a good Catholic cannot and should not be reduced to something as simplistic as the mastery of a particular set of beliefs. Yet, this is what the “Great Doctrines” advocates would have us believe. Again, knowledge of beliefs, religious literacy, has its part to play, but it is not the ultimate solution to sharing the light of faith. (p. 214)

 

Walters, T. P. (1990, Winter). Instructional objectives, catechesis and the future. Religious Education, 84-91.

 

There is a wealth of literature to show that religion and religious instruction can prove hazardous to one’s emotional and spiritual well-being. What one does as a catechist does make a difference. And this difference may be growth producing or debilitating to the faith development of the participants. Just because the ultimate goal of catechesis—a living, conscious, and active faith—is a good, it does not follow that every instructional decision to achieve this goal is a proper choice. To bring some assurance that the instructional choices made are in the best interest of the believer and the community, catechists and catechetical leaders need to take a critical look at everything they do. This begins with an assessment of the adequacy and the realism of their instructional objectives. The critics are right in pointing out that a “faith-full” person is not captured in a set of instructional objectives. But they are wrong in concluding that those involved in formal instruction shouldn’t concern themselves with clearly specifying what it is they intend to do. … 

 

…the issue is not whether or not there should be instructional objectives. It isn’t a matter of choice. Instructional objectives are a given. They are simply those things a catechist wants the person involved in the catechetical process to know, to feel, or to be able to do as a result of their time together. The real issue is what instructional objectives can directors of parish catechetical programs and their catechists expect to achieve with this structure. (pp. 90-91)

 

Walters, T. P. (1996). DREs and the public schools: A call to action. In P. O’Hare (Ed.),  Keeping PACE: 25 Years of theology, education, and ministry from PACE (pp. 307-311). Dubuque, IA: Brown-Roa.

 

Currently, there are approximately three-and-a-half million Catholic children and young adults attending parish religious education programs throughout the United States. These children also attend the nation’s public schools. And minimally, there are at least a million more Catholic youth in the public schools who don’t participate in any formal religious education program. By the time both of these groups of youngsters graduate at age eighteen (if they graduate), they will have spent 11,000 hours of their lives in a public school.

 

The public school system is forming and educating close to 80 percent of the children of Catholic parents in the United States. What is happening today in our nation’s public schools will have a dramatic impact on the Catholic Church of the twenty-first century. For DREs to leave the public school context unattended is to pass up one of the most influential factors in our young people’s religious formation. (p. 307)

 

Walters, T. P., & Walters, R.T. (2009). A crucial key: Generational perspectives and catechetical leadership. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

 

While each generation has its unique responsibilities in sharing the light of faith and for enculturating the Good News in their time and space, all generations have the responsibility of respectfully honoring their colleagues who have gone before and supporting those who follow. Catechetical leaders who were initiated and schooled prior to and during Vatican II may need to reassess how they respond to their younger colleagues’ desire for a less experiential and more doctrinal approach to catechesis. On the other hand, catechetical leaders who want to emphasize doctrinal foundations need to keep in mind their predecessors’ caution that coming to faith is achieved not only through right reason and the teaching of doctrine, but also by experiencing God’s presence in creation and daily living. (pp. 58-59)

 

When we were born, where we were born and the experiences surrounding our growing up not only shape our Catholic identity but also influence our vision and tactics as catechetical leaders. Because of this generational shaping, catechetical leaders, young and old, have a responsibility to reflect critically on their generational tendencies and biases and how it impacts their handing on of the Catholic tradition. In addition, they owe respect to their colleagues from the other generations who grew up in a different time and space. God has placed us all in the exact moment in time where he wants us to be; now it is up to us to do our part in respectfully sharing the light of faith. (p. 69)

 


Recommended Readings

Tom’s contribution to the field lies in his commitment to and his application of the social sciences to the practice of religious education/catechesis in the Catholic Church. The following publications give an insight into both his vision and tactics.

 

Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (1983). DRE: Issues and concerns for the 80s. Washington, DC: National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education.

Tom’s article, “Program Effectiveness and Professional Identity,” based on the results of the 1980 National Survey of Professional Coordinators/Directors, articulates Tom’s longstanding belief in the necessity of directors of religious education being able to provide concrete measureable evidence of program effectiveness if they are to establish the professional identity they seek.

 

Walters, T. P. (Ed.). (1984). Handbook for parish evaluation. New York: Paulist Press.

This handbook reflects Tom’s commitment to program assessment in parish religious education/catechetical programming, as well as his emphasis on a collaborative approach to instrument design and implementation. His approach reflects the value of situational responsiveness and the necessity of catechetical leaders discovering their own creative potential for program evaluation.

 

Walters, T. P. & Walters, R. T. (1991). Working smarter, not harder: A survival guide for catechists. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.

This booklet illustrates Tom’s commitment and ability to bringing the best of educational research on class management to the religious education classroom. He provides a way of thinking about effective teaching as well as practical suggestions for achieving well-managed class settings.

 

Walters, T. P. & Walters, R.T. (2009). A crucial key: Generational perspectives and catechetical leadership. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association.

A Crucial Key is another illustration of how research ought to inform decision making by inviting thoughtful, reflective conversation. It is an example of how data can be presented in a way that helps make sense of current realities and future possibilities. In this case, Tom’s focus is the theoretical construct of generations and how this analytical tool helps in understanding the divergent perspectives that exist in catechetical leaders and their approaches to sharing the light of faith.

 


Author Information

Rita Tyson Walters

 

Rita Tyson Walters earned an MRE from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, St. Meinrad, IN. She is retired from a career in grant writing and research. Over the years she has collaborated extensively with her husband, Dr. Tom Walters, on many studies and publications. 

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