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.

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: Abraham, Our Father in Faith

This is the second article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. Every catechist is probably familiar with some of the stories about the patriarch Abraham. Abraham—originally known as Abram—was a wealthy man in the ancient city of Ur. God called Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, […]

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: Adam and Eve

This is the first article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. Every catechist should be able to tell the timeline of Salvation history, because it is so important to understanding Jesus, the Bible, and Catholic doctrine. Salvation history is the story of our faith. Familiarity with important characters from this story helps us form a foundation of our belief in Christ. Jesus associated himself with major figures from […]

Celebrate, Remember, and Appreciate: Mystagogy for Children

Mystagogy is a time for the community and the newly baptized to “grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist and doing the works of charity.” (RCIA 244) Mystagogy is clearly a period of encounter, accompaniment, and integration. Both the community and the newly initiated grow together. Unlike adults who are instructed and mentored prior to Baptism, […]

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 […]

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