File Away for Next Lent: Neighborhood Way of the Cross

I would have shared this with you earlier, but I didn’t hear about it until Lent was over! So, file this one away for next Lent. I recently heard about a parish that did the Stations of the Cross during Lent through their neighborhood, arranging to stop at 14 pre-selected homes where each Station was prayed. I think this is a wonderful idea and a way to get families involved in a traditional Lenten practice. […]

St. Catherine of Siena and Teaching Virtues

“The purpose of education is to instill the virtues in the next generation,” says Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints. In honor of St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day we celebrate April 29, watch the brief video featuring Burnham below. He says Catherine is an example who can teach us about virtues. How do you teach about the virtues in your classroom?

Free Prayer Cards Inspired by the Letters of Pope Francis

As we near the end of the catechetical year, you might be thinking how you might mark the occasion with a special keepsake for your students. Encourage children to keep up a practice of prayer throughout the summer break by giving them a prayer card (or three!), free for you to download this month, in English or in Spanish. Inspired by the letters of Pope Francis in the book Dear Pope Francis, the cards each […]

Drawing the Joy of the Easter Season

With the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter, we transition from a season of penance into a season of joy, and I wanted to help my fourth-grade class think about this transition. I began by asking them to draw a picture of what they did during Lent. This picture did not have to be fancy; it could be a drawing of what they gave up or something they did, such as praying the […]

Giving Something Besides Money for First Communion

I’ve posted about this previously: when it comes to giving a child a gift to commemorate his or her reception of First Holy Communion, I propose that we do better than just putting money in a card! Of course, children are conditioned today to equate receiving money with the highest expression of generosity, and I realize that, by offering them some other gift, they may come to the conclusion that such a giver is “cheap.” Perhaps […]

A Different Approach for Letters to the Bishop for Confirmation

During a trip I made last month to Jacksonville, FL, I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with my friend and colleague Sean Williams (to my left) and two wonderful people, Deacon Jerry Turkowski (DRE) and Monina Mulleague (CRE), of San Juan del Rio Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Deacon Jerry and Monina recently adopted the Finding God program for their very sizeable parish and, over lunch, we discussed various aspects of evangelizing catechesis, and we […]

Celebrate the Joy of Jesus During the Easter Season

The Easter season is a time of wonder and of joy, a time when we don’t want families to ditch church for baseball season and forget about Jesus’ big days! How can catechists help young people and families meet the Risen Jesus in ways that will engage them and deepen their relationship with him during this season? Here are a few thoughts. Extend a personal invitation to families to participate in the Easter Triduum and […]

Easter Is a Season, Not One Day

For many Christians, Lent is a popular, longsuffering road culminated by one Sunday of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. Yet we know that the liturgical season of Easter is, in fact, a 50-day journey. During the Easter season we hear of the excitement of the first Christians, the power of the Holy Spirit as the new Church developed, and the conversion of many to this new faith. Unfortunately, I find too many Catholics are unfamiliar […]

Experiences Teaching Catholic Devotions

During my planning of sessions this year, it occurred to me that young people in our programs never get exposed to the Stations of the Cross or many other traditional Catholic devotions. Even when I include the Stations in my plan, I’m teaching what they are, not leading or praying them with the young people. Maybe I needed to think differently about my approach, so this year I decided to try praying the Stations of […]

The Parent Panel for Parent Meetings

A few years ago, I posted about an approach I’ve been taking for parent sacramental prep meetings, particularly First Eucharist. Basically, I’ve been asking the catechetical leader to recruit four or five parents from the previous year’s First Eucharist class to form a panel that I can interview about their experience of bringing their children to the sacraments. I have had nothing but great success with this format as these parents eagerly give witness to […]

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