First Mercy Project: Care Packages for the Homeless

This past Tuesday, the fifth graders in St. Cajetan’s RE program assembled care packages of personal hygiene items for the homeless. This took place as part of a unique partnership between the fifth-grade class and the Action for Others campaign at Loyola Press. Employees at LP were invited, over the past two weeks, to purchase and donate personal hygiene items or cash toward the project. I delivered the items to the parish and assisted the catechists and some helpers in setting up a staging area.

The catechists then began class and introduced the project for the evening. They invited me to introduce myself, and so I told them about Loyola Press employees collecting the donations that they would assemble. We had a very thoughtful conversation about the plight of the homeless and the kids were very sensitive and respectful. Several shared stories of encountering the homeless as well as volunteering with their families at a homeless shelter.

We then headed to the staging area and asked the associate pastor who was present to bless the donations, the young people, and our proceedings. The young people then thoughtfully went from table to table and gathered the items to go in their care packages. Afterwards, they were very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project, and they look forward to more opportunities to show God’s mercy to those in need.

The care packages will be delivered to the homeless by parishioners this week and the coordinator of the ministry, Mr. John Blake, will be a guest speaker for the fifth-grade class next week.

Here are the happy fifth graders showing off their completed care packages (faces hid to protect their anonymity).

Here are the happy fifth graders showing off their completed care packages (faces hid to protect their privacy).

Here I am with St. Ignatius and Linnette Mathys who heads our Loyola Press Action for Others Initiative, alongside donated items for the care packages!

Here I am with St. Ignatius and Linnette Mathys, who heads our Loyola Press Action for Others initiative, alongside donated items for the care packages.

Celebrating the Saints: Four Ways to Be a Catholic Superhero

Catholic saints - superheroes of faith

As a child I always thought of the saints as Catholic superheroes. While they may have started out as normal people like you and me, I imagined that they received their super powers of holiness after being bitten by a radioactive, grace-infused spider or by falling into a chemical pit of sacred ooze. The fact […]

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Sharing Stories to Teach the Faith

girl washing dishes

We are a few weeks into the new school year, and my third graders are finally settling into the routine of class. Our first lesson focused on the Holy Spirit. My students learned that the Holy Spirit helps guide us to live as Christians. As we read the chapter in our textbook, my students highlighted […]

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Feeling Like a First-Year Catechist

lesson planning

Despite having 15 years of experience, I feel like a first-year catechist in many ways this year. Our parish has a new catechetical leader. I will be in a different classroom on a different floor of the school building. My room has tables instead of individual desks. The religious education office moved to different location […]

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Strengthening Adult Faith at Christmas

One Book, One Parish from Loyola Press

Adult faith formation leaders are always planning ahead. With that in mind, here is a suggestion for an effective strategy for Christmas. Many parishes are finding that the celebration of Christmas in the parish is a wonderful opportunity to focus on strengthening the faith of adults (many of whom do not regularly attend Mass) by doing […]

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Celebrating the Month of the Holy Rosary

As we celebrate this month of the Holy Rosary, I am happy to once again make available my free PowerPoint presentation on October: The Month of the Holy Rosary. To download the Rosary slideshow, click on the link above or the images below (also in Spanish).   Also see these other resources on the Rosary: Rosary Activity […]

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Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer

small group praying together

This is the second article in a series about leading prayer. Whenever Catholics pray before group activities—whether a staff, catechist, or parent meeting or a gathering of the parish youth group—we offer all our efforts to the Father. We acknowledge that when we are gathered, Jesus is present with us. We invoke the Holy Spirit […]

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Adult Catechesis: A Priority, Not an Option

What was your favorite meal, favorite book, or favorite TV show when you were eight years old? How did you see the world? Fast forward to when you were in high school. How would your answers change? Now think about today; are your answers different? We’d be in deep trouble if we didn’t grow up […]

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“Friending” Facebook for Your Religious Education Program

laptop computer

Quick question . . . have you checked Facebook today? Chances are you have, and you’re not alone. Facebook reports more than 800 million mobile active users alone. For many, social media and social networking are synonymous with Facebook. Users range from pre-teens to senior citizens. Now imagine being able to harness even a fraction […]

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Who Do You Recruit to Animate Adult Faith Formation? Try a “Regular Guy”

Jim Docherty

My favorite radio station in Chicago—WXRT, 93.1 FM—features a movie critic who goes by the name of “The Regular Guy.” Since 1984, DJ Marty Lennartz has portrayed a stereotypical gritty Chicagoan giving his take on the current motion picture hits. The bit is brilliant, of course, because listeners fashion themselves as “regular people” who can […]

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