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.

Five Ways to Follow Jesus During Lent

February 23, 2017 Joyce Donahue 0

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

January 26, 2017 Joyce Donahue 0

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 Christmastide

December 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

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

November 17, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

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

November 10, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

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

October 27, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

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 […]

Five Ways to Pray with Jesus During Ordinary Time

September 29, 2016 Joyce Donahue 1

Most catechists can easily help students visualize and pray with particular images of Jesus during the “big seasons” of the liturgical year. During Advent, Jesus is in Mary’s womb; at Christmas, he’s Baby Jesus. During Lent, Jesus is beside us in the desert; at Passiontide (the last two weeks of Lent), he’s the Suffering Servant; and at Easter, he is the Risen Christ. But what is our image of Jesus during Ordinary Time? Finding a […]

Does Your Faith Formation Space “Speak Catholic”?

September 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 1

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Christ Our Life faith formation program. When children walk into religious education sessions in your parish, what do they see: another classroom like they have been sitting in all day in school? Or is it an inviting space that makes it easy to form community, where matters of the heart and spirit can be shared? Does your faith formation space “speak Catholic” through sign, symbol, […]

Sights, Sounds, and Movements: Connecting the Liturgy to the Classroom

August 25, 2016 Joyce Donahue 2

This is the second article in a series about liturgical catechesis. We know the importance of becoming a “liturgical catechist.” But how do you integrate liturgy and catechesis in practice? You can begin by observing the marks of the liturgy—the sights, sounds, and movements of the Mass—with an eye toward how they can be adapted to the classroom. Pay particular attention to how the Mass is celebrated throughout the liturgical year. What are the colors […]

Celebrating Catechetical Sunday: How Do You Pray the Faith?

July 20, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

How do you pray? What is your favorite form of prayer? When was the last time you thought about your personal prayer life and the way you pray in the classroom? The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, which falls on September 18, is “Prayer: The Faith Prayed.” The USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis offers resources for catechists, adults, and families to explore what prayer is, how to pray, how to prepare for prayer, […]

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