The Vocabulary of Lent

As we look to observe Lent with our students, I am thinking about the language of Lent and how to ensure that my seventh-graders know the Church’s vocabulary related to the season. I shared a post on the Vocabulary of Christmas two months ago, and many of the techniques for helping children understand key terms could apply here as well. But one of the advantages of Lent, from a catechetical perspective, is that it is […]

What Is Hygge and Why Care?

Knowing all too well that I am hopelessly square, some of my younger, hipper, edgier friends and colleagues at Loyola Press keep an eye out for trends among young adults related (if even remotely) to spirituality and faith formation. Recently, my friend Annie alerted me to the growing interest in something called hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), which is a Danish word for the mindset that folks in Denmark strive toward in order to help them cope […]

On the Road with Joe: Mid-Atlantic Congress 2017

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Mid-Atlantic Congress in Baltimore and enjoyed spending time with several hundred of my best friends exploring ways to do catechesis more effectively in a rapidly-changing world. We specifically looked at a number of strategies outlined in my book, A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion. Thanks, friends, for all of the wonderful work that you do proclaiming the […]

Five Ways to Follow Jesus During Lent

During Lent, we fast from many things liturgically: there is no Gloria or Alleluia during Mass, and the worship space is empty of flowers. The music is simpler too. Gone is the joyful praise that we engage in most other times of the year. These absences are a backdrop that reveals the growing intensity of the narrative of Jesus, who is entering the final stages of his earthly ministry. Lent is a serious time of preparation for […]

Praying with the Stations of the Cross—With Free Station to Station Questions for Reflection and Discussion

This article is by Gary Jansen, author of Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross. On Good Friday, 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced an alternative way to pray the Stations of the Cross. Foregoing some of the traditional scenes that are not found in the Bible (e.g., Veronica wipes the face of Jesus), this new approach to the centuries-old devotion allowed believers to engage in the mysteries of Christ’s […]

Encouraging Family Mass Attendance One Family at a Time

Those of us who serve in the ministry of catechesis know the disconnect that exists between religious education and families who do not attend Sunday Mass. How do we get parents who drop off their kids at faith formation classes but do not attend Mass into church on Sunday? We can try gimmicks, requirements, scolding, and guilt, but the only thing that will get families into the pews is conversion. I’d like to share one […]

Melting Those “Stone Faces” at Parent Meetings

When I am asked to present at a parent meeting (First Reconciliation or First Eucharist), I am often met by a lot of what I call “stone faces”—a look on the parents’ faces that says they would rather be anywhere else but here! Don’t get me wrong: the folks are cordial, just not very emotive, and I remind myself that most are coming straight from work or a long day at home. A big part […]

Living Lent Daily and Other Lent Resources from Loyola Press

Lent, which is right around the corner, is a time when we appreciate good resources that can help us and others pay closer attention to our spiritual lives, and there is no better place to turn to than Loyola Press. As always, Loyola Press is ready to assist you in guiding others through the season of Lent, while offering features for your own spiritual enrichment. First and foremost, we are excited to walk with you through Living […]

The Four Keys to Lent

Lent is just around the corner and preparing others to enter into the spirit of this season means that we often neglect our own Lenten journey. We rush into Ash Wednesday with some ideas for Lenten resolutions (similar to last year’s practices and the ones before that) and find ourselves busier than ever. Easter comes with a flurry of activity, often leaving us feeling more tired than ever. Instead of feeling uplifted and renewed, we […]

Directing Our Schedules

How do you feel when you look at your schedule? Do you see multiple activities of your family and faith formation world overlapping? Do you wonder: How can I fit another parents’ gathering into this cascade of children sessions, catechist trainings, paperwork, parish council meetings, lesson planning, sacramental preparation, and more? Let me suggest that since we direct our programs, we also need to direct our schedules. Each time we look into our datebooks, we […]

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