11 Ideas for Protecting Your Faith While Leading Others

Today, we take a look back at an article originally written in 2011. While the author has moved on to a new position, his advice is still relevant. In the midst of an RCIA presentation, I told the group about the many people who had sought my counsel over the last several months. While we were without a full-time pastor, it seemed like I needed to install a revolving door to my office. These folks, mainly […]

Holy Saturday Retreat

For those of you involved in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), I don’t need to tell you what an important week this is! One of the responsibilities of the RCIA team is to facilitate a Holy Saturday retreat for the Elect (those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil). From time to time, I get e-mails from folks asking if I have any resources for such a retreat. I do indeed! My friend […]

Palm Weaving and Braiding

I’ve always been fascinated with the art of palm weaving and braiding, even though it’s something that I am terrible at! (I included it in my 40 Ideas for 40 Days). During one of the years that I was a parish DRE, I discovered that one of my catechists was an expert palm-weaver and braider. Just like that, we put together the easiest intergenerational event in history. After Mass on Palm Sunday, we invited families to […]

The Gifts of the Community in Vacation Bible School

This is the second article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. After I’ve selected my summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, focus, and theme, it’s time to center my efforts on the gifts of the community of people who will make it all happen. The promotional materials I’ve been previewing for months are full of vibrant, happy artists creating eye-popping décor, professional musicians leading enthusiastic […]

Parent Confirmation Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As children age into teens, they continue to look to their parents and guardians for cues on how to act and think in a mature way. Even if they don’t seek out advice or seem to actively dismiss it, young people are just as eager for parental guidance as they were when learning to tie their shoes. The same is true in preparation for Confirmation, when young people look to their parents for guidance on […]

Learning about the Last Supper

As we approach Holy Week, I like to focus my class on the events we recall on Palm Sunday and during the Triduum. That means that one of the chapters we cover during this time of year is the one on Eucharist and the Last Supper (Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 16). I’m pleased to report that this was one of the most successful sessions we’ve had this year with good engagement from the young […]

Adult Faith Formation Needs to Focus on Brokenness

The key to effective adult faith formation can be found in church basements all over the country. And what, exactly, can be found in church basements? Twelve Step meetings. People do not go to Twelve Step meetings because they like the music. They don’t go because of how the space is decorated. They don’t go because the seats are comfy or because of a big video screen. They don’t go because the food is good. […]

There’s No Way Around the Cross

In this Sunday’s Gospel (the Fifth Sunday of Lent, John 12:20–33), Jesus predicts his death. But the point of this story is not to impress us with the accuracy of Jesus’ predictions. Rather, Jesus is making it quite clear that this is the way things have to happen, not only for him, but for us as well; there is no shortcut around the cross. In order to gain our lives, we must lose them. Jesus […]

Three Lessons Catechists Can Learn from St. Joseph

St. Francis of Assisi is often attributed as saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” This quote is very fitting for the life of another saint whose actions spoke louder than his words: St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. In fact, St. Joseph does not say one word in the Gospels. Yet he speaks volumes. What can catechists learn from the life of this holy man? 1. Silence We tend to […]

Stories, Not Labels

I work in the Office of New Evangelization for my diocese, and I remember a phone call from an 86-year-old woman named Gladys. She wanted to find out more about the “coming home” programs the diocese was offering for Catholics who had been away from the Church for a while. After a period of active listening and some gentle questioning, it became clear that Gladys herself wanted to return to the Catholic Church, but she […]

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