Need a Speaker for First Communion Parent Meeting? Try the Parents!

Faith Sharing panelists Susie Schultz, Erik Tait, Libba Hayes, and Jan Paul Murzyn

Faith-sharing panelists Susie Schultz, Erik Tait, Libba Hayes, and Jan Paul Murzyn

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of facilitating a First Communion Parents Meeting at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago. While I did do some presenting about a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the primary speakers for the evening were—drum roll please—PARENTS!

The Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, recruited four parents of children who recently received First Communion to comprise a panel, sharing their experiences of walking with their children through First Communion. I provided them with questions ahead of time to reflect on and to prepare to share with the group. At the meeting, I facilitated their heartfelt and inspiring storytelling.

The panel was made up of two moms and two dads; two were school parents and two were RE parents. One dad was a Chicago policeman and a wrestling coach at a local Catholic high school. One mom was a teacher at a local public school. The other dad, a convert to Catholicism from a Seventh Day Adventist background, was a project manager at an insurance company, and the second mom was a legal assistant and a catechist aide in the First Communion class. I was thoroughly impressed with their poise and enthusiasm for talking about their experience of walking with their children through First Communion last year. They were so inspiring as they spoke of the importance of the Eucharist for themselves and their children. The other parents were extremely engaged and appeared totally delighted to be listening to their peers. The entire evening lasted just over an hour and the panel was about 25 minutes of it. It was a very effective format!

Four Ways to Keep the Faith in Vacation Bible School

adults praying together

This is the third article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. By this time, initial planning for this summer’s Vacation Bible School is underway, and the countdown has begun. We’ve selected a program, scheduled the date, and begun recruiting leaders for the many activities required […]

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Ascension to Pentecost: The First Novena—Free Poster and Booklet

Ascension to Pentecost: The First Novena - free downloads

During the Easter season, we look at the Gospel stories of Jesus Christ’s appearances after the Resurrection. At the end of 40 days, Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to send a helper to the disciples as they took on their mission of spreading the Good News. That helper—the Holy Spirit—came 10 days later on the […]

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Make Teaching Fun

children playing a game

Did you ever have one of those days where teaching religious education made you smile? Today was one of those days. After weeks of difficult and sometimes rowdy classes, we spent this class reviewing the material before the end of the year. Because I like games and like to teach with games, I decided to […]

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Digging for the Secret to Adult Faith Formation Success: Al Capone’s Vault

adult faith formation group in TX

As regular readers know, this past year, I dedicated my time and efforts to working in the area of adult faith formation, and I’ve discovered many ideas and strategies along the way, and we’ve had some marvelous discussions about some of these. One thing I had hoped for more success in was discovering the keys to getting […]

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May Crowning Marks a “New Spiritual Season”

Mary statue with flowers

It’s hard to believe but the month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, is only a few weeks away! One of the most beautiful traditions in Catholicism is that of May Crowning. In her book, May Crowning, Mass, and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic, Liz Kelly recalls her childhood experience of […]

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Speaking to the Heart

diverse group of people

Parishes report that Easter Sunday and Christmas Mass are the highest attended services of the year and our congregations are made up of people at many different places in their spiritual journeys. As ministers we have a whole litany of terms for people who do not attend Mass regularly: “Chreasters” and “Eastmasses” for those who […]

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Let’s Make a Deal…and Learn about Making Choices

woman with arms outstretched: Let's Make a Deal and Learn about Making Choices

Group games tend to be a hit with faith formation classes, but we cannot add a game to the lesson plan just to play a game—games should enhance the lesson in some way. That said, there are many great options for student games, many of which are inspired by television game shows. I recently decided […]

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Discipleship Pledge Cards for Pentecost

Discipleship Pledge Cards for Pentecost

Pentecost is just over a month away (May 24), so it’s not too early to talk about how the parish can approach this important day in our Church calendar. Too often, we stop at the perfunctory: ask everybody to wear red, sing some Holy Spirit hymns, and invite people to read the Prayers of the […]

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