faith formation

Upper Room


The mission of the Upper Room is to offer spiritual and professional nourishment to the faith formation and youth ministry coordinators in our diocese to be sent on mission by the Holy Spirit.  All faith formation and youth ministry coordinators and their volunteer leaders are welcome to attend.  Please see our 2023 Fall Schedule for upcoming dates, topics, and locations.  REGISTER HERE for our next meeting on Oct. 24.

Upper Room (formerly known as FIRE) Meeting Archives

See below for a list of recent Upper Room Meeting topics and handouts.



Sep. 26, 2023: The Parish Year of Eucharistic Revival

Zach Rawson, the point person for the Parish Year of Revival, walked us through a discernment prayer exercise utilizing a method promoted by ACTS XXIX.  To view all videos, see below.  In the afternoon, Heidi Indahl discussed the importance of the Corporal Works of Mercy, and more information can be found at her website.


Sep. 20, 2022:  Implementing the Eucharistic Revival

We used the document HERE to walk through the plan for the Diocesan Year of the Eucharistic Revival and discussed why the Revival is important and how your parish can participate.

Oct. 25, 2022:  Gender Dysphoria and Pastoral Care

Dr. Andrew Sodergren, head psychologist at Ruah Woods Institute, lead on in a discussion about gender identity and dysphoria and pastoral approaches to working with families struggling with their identity.  For more information on this presentation, please email Dana at

November 22: Advent Retreat

Fr. Andrew Beerman discussed St. Ignatius' Rules of Discernment on how to discern whether it is God's voice or the voice of the evil one speaking to you.  For more information, click HERE.

January 24: The 6 Types of Working Genius for Effective Leadership

Fr. Will Thompson, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, discussed how there are 6 types of "working genius" and each person has two of the six.  See the Working Genius podcast HERE or the assessment HERE.

February 28: Evangelizing through the Sacraments

Bishop Barron led us in a morning open forum about evangelization in our diocese with young people.  The afternoon session was led by Beverly Miller and Dana Petricka on the Sacrament of Confirmation as it directly relates to evangelization through Scripture and Sign.

March 28: Social Media and Effective Communication

Emily Smithley from the Diocese of Winona-Rochester's Communications Department led our discussion on best practices for Social Media use and communication with youth and families.  See her presentation here.

Fire Archives: 2021-2022

Sep. 9, 2021:  Missionary Discipleship and the Eucharist, Ministry Post (and during) COVID

At this FIRE Meeting, we discussed the need to use COVID-19 to our advantage and look at ways we can better walk with our youth, parents, catechists, and families to become intentional disciples of Jesus Christ.  The below documents can help us identify where we are at in our relationship with Jesus Christ and therefore walk with others to meet them where they are and lead them closer to Christ.  As coordinators, our primary responsibility is to walk with our catechists so they can walk with their youth and families they are ministering to.

5 Thresholds of Conversion: A working document to help leaders identify different stages of conversion in people's lives and adapt methods of ministry to meet the needs of youth and families at various levels of conversion.

7 Characteristics of a Disciple: A working document to help leaders identify where they are at and where they want to go in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Disciplines of a Disciple Guide: A universal document to outline common habits of an intentional disciple.


Oct. 14, 2021: The Family as Primary Catechists, Connecting Parish Ministry to Schools

In our morning session, Fr. The Hoang presented on the pillars of Family Ministry based on Pope John Paul II's Letter to Families.  In the afternoon session, Sr. Strength of Martyrs presented St. John Bosco's creation of oratories for the young boys he was working, focusing on the preventative method of correction, developing a relationship with the youth and calling them to set high standards for themselves.  See a video of the talks here:

Below you will find documents to further the discussion on connecting parishes ministry to schools and fostering an environment based on relationship in faith formation settings.

Connecting Parishes to School: A questionnaire to help evaluate your parishes connection to schools.

Getting to Know You: A sample document that can help catechists get to know their students.


Dec. 9, 2021:  Retreat on "From Christendom to Apostolic Mission" book by the University of Mary.

Fr. Jason Kern shared points from this well-worded book and we discussed where we are at in our world right now (a Christendom vs. Apostolic era).  We also discussed ways to minister to people in our world today.


Jan. 25, 2022: Foundational Characteristics of a Disciple: Identity and Prayer

Fr. Brian Mulligan presented on Relationship, Identity, and Mission as the foundation of who we are.  We discussed ways to share the Kerygma (Gospel Proclamation) to parents, catechists, and youth and introduce them to prayer, which is how we maintain our relationship with God.  For the complete presentation, click HERE.  For our document on prayer, click HERE.

Feb. 22, 2022: Youth and Mental Health

Haylee Spronk (psychologist) and Ann Full (former youth minister) lead us in a discussion on the mental health needs of our youth and what our response should be as faith leaders.  You can watch and listen to the discussion HERE.  For a list of resources, click HERE.

March 22, 2022: Why Disciple? The Ins and Outs of Small Groups

Annie Grandell from YDisciple joined us for a discussion on how to move from program and large group-based ministry to small group discipleship.  For more information on YDisciple, click HERE.