Some of Kathy’s most popular presentations are listed below and can be shortened or expanded depending on your time frame. New talks may be developed on request.
Advent: A Season of Surprises
Here comes another Advent and we aren’t up to it. The thought of digging through boxes in the basement, finding the Advent wreath, mustering the energy to shop for gifts may leave us drained. We were numb and cozy in our safe routines; how will we ever find the time or the resources to do more? Alone, we won’t. Isaiah offers comfort: we are the clay; God is the potter. With exquisite care and a tender hand, God shapes us into something useful or beautiful. Achieving the perfectly orchestrated holiday doesn’t matter. What matters is watching for God in every situation, being attentive to small signs and fingerprints. This session is designed to sharpen awareness and bring a reflective calm into a busy time.
The Arts: Bridge between Generations, Window on the Gospels
For over 2000 years, Christians have learned their faith from stories, stained glass, music, sculpture, drama and painting. These arts speak to different age groups, learning styles and educational levels. Furthermore, they offer a way to engage respectfully with a multicultural world. We are made in the image of a creative God; appreciating human creativity draws us closer to this Creator. In a world where communication can be difficult, artistic expression opens windows to each other and forms us for community. The gap between generations can be bridged by beauty, which touches the imagination and moves the heart. Come discover ways the arts can enhance faith formation. We’ll explore the lectionary readings of this season through participative, imaginative activities. Experience familiar gospels in unique ways which prompt new insights, then bring this approach to your own parish settings.
The Art of Faith
We’ll take as our starting point a quote from Ephesians: “We are God’s work of art” (2:10). Then we’ll explore what that means. How do we collaborate with God to craft an artful life? How do humans made in God’s image become most fully themselves when creating? After establishing the foundations in intersections of art and faith, we’ll look at arts such as music, teaching, touch, transformation, friendship, graceful aging and writing.
Enriching the Lenten Readings with the Arts
This session is full of suggestions to enliven the Sunday readings of this season with the arts. How can music, literature and visual arts enrich your catechetical sessions and liturgies? Come to this lively demonstration and find out!
Feasts and Fasts and Fun with the Catholic Calendar
“Be not lax in celebrating,” wrote St. Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century. Foralmost as many years, Liturgy Training Publications has been providing the resources to enrich such celebrations. This workshop will welcome participants into the Catholic way of life: liturgical, sacramental, scriptural; inviting wonder, thanks, and praise. Then with concrete activities and demonstrations based on that specific season, it will show how to envelop children in their rich heritage.
Part 1—Overview & Beginning of School Year—Christmas
Part 2—Epiphany—End of School Year
Those Feisty Gospel Women!
Women were there at every juncture of Jesus’ life: from his conception to his resurrection. Over time, they may have been edited out of the gospels, or their roles diminished, so let’s resurrect their stories. We can re-imagine their lives, using an ancient Midrash technique. Then we’ll make the link to our lives: what do they teach us today? Come for reflection, surprise and a new approach to reading the gospels.
Parenting: We Stand on Sacred Ground
Despite its chaos and commotion, home is sacred space. Although parenting can be mindlessly repetitive, it is irreplaceable work with enormous influence. Let’s bring the lens of beauty and grace to what might sometimes be drudgery and frustration. Let’s see how faith flowers in the ordinary, messy life of the family.
Prayer in Chaos, Commotion and Clutter
Are you too busy to pray? Yet do you feel a nagging need for it? Many people share the dilemma–longing for a spiritual center that gives meaning and depth to even the craziest days. Yet at the same time we know the need for prayer, we also face tremendous constraints on time. This session explores how prayer can occur in ordinary ways and commonplace locations–in settings where we’re stressed as well as in tranquil retreats. How can springboards to prayer occur in packed schedules? How can we then help others to find the seeds of the sacred in the ordinary experience? We’ll look at ways to move beyond our stereotypes of prayer, see our work as prayer, and adapt traditional prayers to contemporary settings.
The Small s Sacraments
“There is nothing that cannot become a sacramental encounter,” St. Augustine declared. While the traditional seven sacraments have always been special channels of grace, we can’t appreciate them fully unless we find other markers of God’s presence throughout our experience. Understood in this broader sense, there are sacraments everywhere–which we’d see if only we weren’t blind as bats.
This workshop is an invitation to see more deeply, to explore our experience through the sacramental imagination which finds God lurking everywhere. Participants will go through a process designed to uncover the blessings hidden in ordinary places, people, objects and activities. They can in turn share this process with those they parent, catechize or teach.
Women of Mercy
The art of Michael McGrath has given the quality of mercy a human face. His mural “Women of Mercy” shows a sisterhood of hard-working women-from Teresa of Avila to Thea Bowman–who inspire us today.
When Brother Mickey painted the Woman of Mercy at Merion Mercy Academy near Philadelphia, he did not work alone. The students who studied these models in theology class helped paint them in art class. The whole community got involved, and their enthusiasm shows in their vibrant work. This presentation will show Brother Mickey’s art on slides or power point while at the same time Kathy Coffey highlights some of the women and their relevance today. For the audience, the spiritual and corporal works of mercy will take on new meaning-and a human face.