Leading Others to Epiphany

December 29, 2016 Joe Paprocki 3

Soon we will celebrate the wonderful Feast of the Epiphany, when Jesus is revealed to all the nations as the Son of God. This feast contains so many messages and images that are apropos for catechists. Here are a few. The Magi do not travel alone. Although they are from different locations, the Magi come together to seek the king. We catechists recognize the wisdom in this. We do not travel alone. We are part of a […]

Five Christmas Activities for Your Class

December 28, 2016 Special Contributor 0

Although many of us take a break from classes during Christmastime, if you’re looking for some activities to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany, here are a few ideas. These are courtesy the Finding God Activity Finder. Hope for the World Young people will reflect on the human condition and how Jesus’ birth brought hope to the world. Shepherds with Candy-Cane Crooks Children will be able to identify the shepherds as the first people to welcome Jesus. […]

The Vocabulary of Christmas

December 27, 2016 Denise Gorss 2

In one of my first years of teaching, one of the parish priests visited my fourth-grade classroom in December. He asked how many of the children’s families had displayed a crèche as part of their holiday decorations. None of the children said yes, which disappointed the priest, who left to visit another class. As soon as he left, one of the children asked me, “What’s a crèche?” I asked if others had the same question […]

Prayer That “Fits” Current Science

December 26, 2016 Joe Paprocki 4

In late November my daughter got married, and it was a wonderful experience. In the days leading up to the wedding, my wife was fervently praying for good weather. For several weeks before the wedding date, Chicago experienced unseasonal warmth and lots of sunshine. Forecasters, however, warned that “big changes” were coming, and the target date for those big changes turned out to be our daughter’s wedding day. Needless to say, my wife was not […]

Christmas and Catholic Identity

December 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

The celebration of Christmas is unabashedly Catholic. I describe Catholic identity as being characterized by five traits: a sense of sacramentality a commitment to community a deep respect for the dignity of human life, leading to a commitment to social justice a reverence for tradition a disposition to faith and hope and not despair These five characteristics are integral to the Christmas story, and Christmas can help us to strengthen our Catholic identity. I offer […]

Reviewing the Mass Before Christmas

December 21, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 1

I love the excitement, expectation, and joy that is abundant in my class as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. As we get ready for Christmas with crafts and cookies, I also prepare my students for Christmas Mass. Many of my students do not regularly go to Mass, and they aren’t familiar with the Order of the Mass. I find that everyone benefits from a review of what happens at Mass before attending with their […]

Why Do We Pray?

December 20, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

Have you ever asked kids why they pray? We spend a lot of time teaching children to say their prayers, teaching them about different ways to pray, and even spend time teaching them to write their own prayers, but we don’t often talk that much about why we pray. In class this week we began by reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of […]

How About a Year of Truth?

December 19, 2016 Joe Paprocki 4

Now that the Year of Mercy is over, some catechists have been asking what “year” we will be celebrating in 2017. The truth is, not every year has a theme such as 2016’s Year of Mercy. This was a special Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope Francis. The notion of proclaiming a theme for each year was popularized by St. Pope John Paul II right before the celebration of the Millennium, when he declared three years […]

Unique Approaches to Scheduling Catechist Formation

December 16, 2016 Joe Paprocki 5

Recently, I came across a couple of parishes that take a unique approach to scheduling catechist formation so that it is integral to their faith formation program and not seen as something optional. One parish that holds their faith formation sessions weekly on Monday evenings designates the first Monday of each month for catechist formation. The young people do not have classes on that evening, but catechists are required to attend. Since the formation sessions occur […]

The Reason for the Season: Teaching a Spirituality of Christmastide

December 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

It can be difficult to see Christ in the way most families celebrate Christmas. Weeks of seeing Santa everywhere, festive decorations, and parties are followed by just a single day of feasting and opening presents. Christmas seems to end as soon as it started. Christmas trees and Christmas music disappear as people rush to post-holiday sales. Even though God became one of us and shared completely in our humanity, we often act as if that […]

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