Looking for Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Service Projects

volunteer service

I’m looking for ideas for “do-it-yourself” service projects—things that can be done on site at the parish with 20 or 30 adult volunteers in a couple of hours. One such idea, albeit quite ambitious, is the Helping Hands project from Catholic Relief Services. This requires 40 volunteers and a minimum of two hours to package 10,000 meals!

For the upcoming Year of Mercy, I hope to work with a local parish to organize opportunities for adults to gather (ideally when their children are attending religious education classes) to participate in mercy experiences (formerly known as service projects) in which they gather, create, assemble, package, organize, etc. “things” that can be of real assistance to those in need.

What ideas or resources can you point me to?

Independence Day: Revisiting How to Create a Declaration of DEpendence

As we celebrate Independence Day, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit an idea from a lesson I taught several years ago about the Lord’s Prayer as our Declaration of DEpendence. Through the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we express our dependence on what God provides for us: his name, kingdom, […]

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Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 2: Song and Praise

family singing in church

This is the second article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Catechists can encourage children and youth to participate in the Mass by helping them become comfortable with singing and sung prayer and praise. Age-appropriate music should be a regular element in every catechetical session. Most textbook series come […]

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How Do We Recruit New Catechists? INVITE Them!

DRE talking to catechist

What is it that all DREs know about the majority of Catholic families today? They are overwhelmed by an overbooked schedule of events and work, and growing our faith is often deferred to those once-in-a-while moments when things are quiet; that is not necessarily weekend Mass. So how do we find future catechists? I propose […]

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Ministry Is…

woman reading with children

What is ministry? It seemed a simple question, posed to me by a pastoral ministry student who was interning at our parish. I began thinking of an eloquent response describing the beauty and joy of being the hands of Christ and building the kingdom of God, but later that day I found myself standing in […]

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From Business Meetings to Worshipful Work


Everything we do in parish life has a catechetical aspect to it. In other words, the way we do things in the parish teaches and forms us in our faith. With that in mind, an important venue for adult faith formation is parish business meetings. How do we conduct business when we gather adults together […]

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Through the Year with the DRE

through the year with the DRE calendar

It’s been a couple of years since I posted this popular post, so I thought this would be timely to share as we proceed through the summer months in anticipation of the upcoming catechetical year! Back in the day, when I was a “baby” DRE (Director of Religious Education), I turned to a nifty book […]

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Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 1: Silence and Reverence

praying child

This is the first article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Do your catechists complain that students don’t know how to behave in church? The sad truth is many families do not go to Mass. Catechesis without Mass, however, is not going to “make them Catholic.” One way to […]

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Works of Mercy Prayers and Activities—Free Resource Packet Perfect for the Year of Mercy

Works of Mercy Prayers and Activities Resource Packet

Mercy is a virtue that influences a person’s compassion for another. Mercy inspires the will to ease another’s misfortunes or suffering in either body or soul. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are charitable actions that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need. However, the works of mercy are more than gestures […]

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The Power of Invitation to Church Ministry


Being invited to participate changed my life. I was 17, a senior in high school, and I opened a letter from my pastor inviting me to participate in the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), sponsored by the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Until that moment, my faith lived within the boundaries of Sunday Mass and in the […]

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