Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year A: Hope in the Resurrection

March 31, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

The scene described at Bethany (John 11:1–45 ) is a sad one. Martha meets Jesus, weeping, and says that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Yet she remains confident that God will do whatever Jesus asks. Martha affirms her belief that there will be a resurrection of the dead in the last days. Then Martha’s sister, Mary, comes to Jesus with the same confidence, saying that Jesus could have cured Lazarus. […]

Six Strategies for Connecting to the Sunday Eucharist

March 30, 2017 Joyce Donahue 1

This is the fifth and final article in a series about liturgical catechesis. Many young people in parish catechetical programs don’t go to weekend Mass for a variety of reasons. Even so, catechists should always offer an inviting expectation that weekend Mass attendance is the norm. Here are some simple strategies. 1. Teach the importance of Sunday. We all know the Third Commandment: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” Read from Pope John Paul […]

The Student Teaches the Catechist About Reconciliation

March 29, 2017 Bob Burnham 1

I often wonder if I am effective catechist. Too many times, the ninth graders I teach sit with blank stares and respond to questions with disinterested shrugs. I suspect that many of them are simply counting the days until their Confirmation, because they will no longer have to go to faith formation class. I often wonder what will happen to the seeds of faith I have scattered: will they take root or will birds come […]

Four Ways to Encourage Silence

March 28, 2017 Denise Gorss 0

The topic of silence has come up a few times in discussions with my seventh graders, and every time it does, the young people make it obvious by their facial expressions and comments that the idea of silence isn’t one they embrace. That’s not surprising, given the fact that they get so few opportunities to practice silence in our contemporary world. But I know that silence can lead to beautiful moments of prayer and can […]

Singing Grace Before Meals

March 27, 2017 Joe Paprocki 2

As I continue my quest to encourage Catholics to sing more when we gather for faith formation and various other activities in our parishes, I would like to suggest a simple melody for singing Grace before mealtime. Rather than create a new melody, I suggest we use the melody from the traditional “Agnus Dei” and use the words of our traditional Grace Before Meals prayer: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are […]

Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A: Coming Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

March 24, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

As in last week’s Gospel about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, this Sunday’s Gospel reading (John 9:1–41) has many allusions to Baptism. The washing of the man in the pool of Siloam is a prototype for Christian Baptism. Through the man’s encounter with Jesus, the man born blind is healed, his sight is restored, and his conversion to discipleship begins. The man born blind gradually comes to a greater understanding about who Jesus is […]

Leading an Experience of Holy Week

March 23, 2017 Darcy Osby 0

The weeks leading up to Holy Week present us with a unique opportunity to deepen children’s relationships with Jesus Christ through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Rather than teaching about the events of Holy Week, try leading your children through an experience of Holy Week. The liturgies of the Triduum are so rich; we can use elements from them in our classrooms to help prepare children for participating in these liturgies with their families. Create […]

Holy Week Activities Pack

March 22, 2017 Joe Paprocki 1

Holy Week is a time set aside to recall the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. During this week, we prepare ourselves for Easter by prayerfully reflecting upon the events of Jesus’ Passion and Death. Help children and families experience the full meaning of the final days before Easter with our Holy Week Activities Pack. The pack includes a scrambled words challenge, a crossword puzzle, a visual story strip, and an activity inviting prayerful reflection […]

Why Do We Observe Lent?

March 21, 2017 Lisa Jones 1

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

The Extraordinary Power of Small Faith Groups

March 20, 2017 Joe Paprocki 1

This Lent, for four weeks, I am facilitating a small faith group for my parish, Christ the King. Now, I have to begin by telling you that this is not my prayer group or any kind of insular little group that has been meeting for years. Our small groups are “pop-up” in nature—we do them for four weeks, several times per year and people sign up for them not knowing who they will be thrown […]

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