About Bob Burnham
Bob Burnham, OFS, is a catechist for both high-school youth and the RCIA at Resurrection Catholic Church in Wayne, Illinois. In addition to being involved in youth ministry, he is a spiritual director, speaker, and writer. Bob is the author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You. Bob is also the councilor for youth and young adults in the Mother Cabrini Regional Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order. Read his blog about the spirituality of commuting at www.mtransit.org.

Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

March 16, 2017 Bob Burnham 1

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 2: Fasting with St. Vincent Ferrer

March 9, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 1: Praying with St. Patrick

March 2, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]

10 Tips for Catechists from the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8, 2016 Bob Burnham 2

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Ignatian Inspiration pack today; details below. I’m always looking for help to become a better catechist. Since I often turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for help in other areas of my life, I asked her to help me in this ministry. […]

Four Ways the RCIA Makes Me a Better Catechist

November 3, 2016 Bob Burnham 1

When I started out as a catechist, I began with my parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) ministry. A few years later I joined the faith formation team that served our parish’s young people, first as a substitute, then as a regular catechist. I continue to serve in both ministries, and while teaching the faith to candidates in the RCIA is different from teaching it to young people (For example, candidates in the […]

The Catechist’s Backup: Being a Substitute Catechist

September 28, 2016 Bob Burnham 0

I am a Chicago Bears fan, and every year as of late, it seems as though a key player gets injured at a critical time. During this year’s preseason, one of our star offensive lineman, Kyle Long, was out with a shoulder injury. I was afraid that the “Monsters of the Midway” were in for another long and grueling season. The faith formation year can feel just as long and grueling as a season in […]

Friends, Not Statues: Three Ways to Teach About the Saints

September 7, 2016 Bob Burnham 2

There are many ways we can teach about the saints. We can ask young people to write a report about their favorite saints. We can have the class choose a patron saint. We can include facts about saints in our weekly lessons. But when I think about the way I talk about my friends, I don’t talk about them as if they were a collection of facts from a Wikipedia page. I don’t say what […]

Stealth Catechesis: Teaching without Teaching

July 5, 2016 Bob Burnham 6

One evening, my 10th-grade Confirmation class revolted. “We do not want to use the book anymore,” said their leader. “Why not?” I asked. “We’ve been in school all day, and we’re tired of sitting around listening and reading. This is supposed to be church, not school.” I could see her point. After all, I had been working all day, had gone straight to the church from the train, and I had yet to eat dinner. […]