Understanding the Sacramental Seal of Confession

January 31, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

In a recent lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my fourth graders once again surprised me with their questions. After teaching and discussing the sacrament, our discussion turned toward how much God loves us. After all, God gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so we could be healed and know that he will always forgive us. Understanding God’s unconditional love and mercy for us is always one of my top themes with students. A couple […]

Think Young! Intentionality in Planning and Recruiting

January 30, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

One of my favorite lines from the movie La La Land comes from the lips of the character Keith, played by John Legend, as he tells the character Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling: Jazz is dying because of people like you. You’re playing to 90-year-olds at the Lighthouse. Where are the kids? Where are the young people? You’re so obsessed with Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk. These guys were revolutionaries. How are you going to […]

Candlemas: Celebrating Light!

January 27, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

February 2—the Feast of the Presentation—is also traditionally known as “Candlemas,” the day on which the candles we use at home are blessed. This tradition is inspired by a line from the Gospel for the Feast of the Presentation in which Simeon, a devout man whom Joseph and Mary encounter at the Temple, explains that Jesus will be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” (Luke 2:32) This feast falls at a time of the […]

Four Ways to Connect to the Sunday Gospel

January 26, 2017 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the fourth article in a series about liturgical catechesis. Here is the reality: a 2015 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) revealed that despite our best efforts, only 22% of Catholic parents take their kids to Sunday Mass. That means proclaiming the Gospel in the classroom may be the only way the story of Jesus Christ and his message reaches more than three-fourths of children in religious education. […]

Lenten Actions Cards

January 25, 2017 Joe Paprocki 2

Encourage families to take practical steps toward practicing the traditional Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Print out our Lenten Actions Cards and give sets to the families you serve. Instruct parents to cut out the cards, fold them in half, and place them in a jar or small box. Place the jar or other container in a central location in the home, perhaps on the dining room table or the counter next to […]

The Prayer Before Meals Opens a Conversation About Real-Life Prayer

January 24, 2017 Denise Gorss 4

In the middle of a session, the conversation turned to the Prayer Before Meals, and I asked my seventh-graders if they knew that prayer. One girl volunteered that she knew it in Spanish, so I invited her to recite it for our group. But aside from that girl, no one indicated they knew the prayer. I directed the young people to look at the words of the prayer in the book. The same girl who […]

Hosting Adult Faith Formation Viewing Parties

January 23, 2017 Joe Paprocki 6

Nowadays, it is very common for people to host viewing parties for all sorts of occasions including pop culture events like the Academy Awards, significant civic events such as a presidential debate, a sporting event, or the premiere or series finale of a TV show. Such viewing parties are hosted in someone’s home, and the hosts send out invitations (usually verbal or through social media) for people to attend and offer hospitality and refreshments for those who […]

Nothing Beats the Personal Touch When Recruiting Catechists

January 20, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

This Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 4:12–23) is a reminder to us that nothing beats the personal touch when it comes to inviting people into ministry. And this time of the year—late winter—is a good time to start your catechist recruitment efforts for next year. Jesus did not put up posters or distribute literature inviting people to follow him; he used the personal approach. He asked people what they were looking for and then he invited them to […]

Building a Productive Faith Leadership Team

January 19, 2017 Paul Gallagher 0

How do we build a productive faith leadership team? Here’s my story. For most of my career as a DRE, I was blessed to work with a great pastor who was also my friend. I had known him before I took the job, and when the day came when he asked me to take on the leadership role in faith formation, I felt very comfortable with the decision. I haven’t regretted a minute of it. […]

Understanding Reconciliation: A Lesson from the Lost Sheep

January 18, 2017 Shannon Chisholm 2

My students are celebrating their First Reconciliation in February, and I have been trying to find engaging ways to introduce my students to Scripture stories that will help them to understand the sacrament (such as playing the Game of the Good Shepherd). I am hoping that they will come to a deeper understanding of the sacrament by experiencing the Parable of the Lost Sheep through the eyes of the different characters in the story. After […]

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