About Joyce Donahue
Joyce Donahue, MA, MPS, serves as Catechetical Associate in the Diocese of Joliet Religious Education Office. A former parish DRE and liturgy director, she currently volunteers as parish catechist and musician at St. John the Baptist Parish, Joliet, IL. She blogs at Liturgy and Catechesis Shall Kiss and maintains The Liturgical Catechist website.

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness: What Do You Have That Cannot Be Taken Away?

Editor’s note: This post is one in a series inspired by Joe Paprocki’s book 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. In the book, Joe introduces each key with a fun or thought-provoking question. Each Friday we’ll share an excerpt from 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness that poses a question, followed by a response by a catechist or catechetical leader. What do you have that cannot be taken away? If you can identify and cultivate the answer […]

Living the Liturgical Seasons at Home: Summer/Fall Ordinary Time

The liturgical year is 365 days a year, and the season of Ordinary Time is a course of instruction in the Christian life. Ordinary Time after Pentecost and before Advent is a period when we celebrate no particular aspect of Christ, but honor him in the fullness of his mystery. (Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year, 43) We spend time with Jesus and let him be with us and in us as we grow closer […]

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 […]

Six Strategies for Connecting to the Sunday Eucharist

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 […]

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 […]

Four Ways to Connect to the Sunday Gospel

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. […]

The Reason for the Season: Teaching a Spirituality of Christmas Time

It can be difficult to see Christ in the way most families celebrate Christmas. Weeks of seeing Santa everywhere, festive decorations, and parties are followed by just a single day of feasting and opening presents. Christmas seems to end as soon as it started. Christmas trees and Christmas music disappear as people rush to post-holiday sales. Even though God became one of us and shared completely in our humanity, we often act as if that […]

The “Three Comings of the Lord”: Finding Jesus Christ During Advent

Advent is a season of waiting. But who are we waiting for? Baby Jesus seems like the obvious and most popular choice. But if we listen closely to the Collect prayer at Mass the First Sunday in Advent—which asks the Father to make us ready to “run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming”—it sounds like we’re waiting for Christ’s second coming at the end of time. That’s true, too. But […]

Get in Touch with Hope for Advent

Advent often seems like just a busy “home stretch” before Christmas “break.” Normally, there is little opportunity for parish leaders and catechists to prepare themselves for the season. We who serve others often think of ourselves last. However, if we do not develop a personal spirituality for Advent, we are not really in a position to teach others its significance. As has often been said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Authentic spirituality for […]

Smells and Bells: Props for the Catechetical Session

This is the third article in a series about liturgical catechesis. One of the treasures of liturgical prayer is that it is physical and sensory in nature, filled with sights of seasonal colors and sacramental symbols: the smells of incense and chrism, the sounds of words and music. When we include these in our catechetical sessions, we let children know they are not entering mere school classrooms; they are entering sacred spaces where faith is […]

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