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.

Does Your Faith Formation Space “Speak Catholic”?

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

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?

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, […]

Why Become a Liturgical Catechist?

This is the first article in a series about liturgical catechesis. I have a confession: I have an alter-ego. “The Liturgical Catechist” moniker was born when I realized that being both a catechist and a liturgist means I have something to offer the Church that doesn’t always come naturally to either liturgists or catechists. Too often, these ministries occupy separate “silos” in the average parish. However, the General Directory for Catechesis reminds us that “catechesis […]

Authenticity of Life for Catechists: What You See Is What You Get

Back in the 1990s, competing software companies touted some products as “WYSIWYG” (“wiz-ee-wig,” i.e., “What You See Is What You Get.”) That meant that what you saw on the screen was exactly what you would get when the document was printed. What does that have to do with catechesis? Much, actually. A catechist should be WYSIWYG at all times: he or she should not profess and teach one thing while living another. The Guide for […]

Who Should Serve as Catechists?

In most parishes the process of finding catechists is pretty simple: we ask, even beg, for people to fill empty slots and some come forward. If that fails, we may tap former catechists or aides, or ask parents of children in the program to fill the needs. Failing that, we may even resort to guilt: “If no one volunteers, our children will have no one to teach them the faith.” Too often it seems we […]

Four Ways to Help Children Understand Easter, the Feast of Feasts

Easter is central to Christian faith. We are, as St. Augustine pointed out, an Easter people. How do we help students identify themselves as Easter people and claim Alleluia! as their song? First, make sure they know the story of Easter. Easter is the “Feast of feasts,” the moment when the Kingdom of God enters into our time (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1168‒1169). Jesus’ Death on the Cross and his Resurrection after three days […]

Starting Your Meeting with Prayer

This is the final article in a series about leading prayer. If you have read the previous installments of this series on leading prayer, you have prepared or practiced strategies for leading group prayer at a gathering or meeting: Setting the Stage: Creating the Space for Prayer (When we pray in a space other than church, it is essential to include symbols, sacramentals, images, and more.) Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer (Prayer is part […]

More than a Sacrifice: Making Lent Count

“So, what are you giving up for Lent?” This is a common question among Catholics, young and old alike. But Lent is about more than giving something up. Through the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent prepares us for Easter. Yet when young people focus on what they give up for Lent, this season may have no lasting impact on them. How can we help them see what Lent is really about? How can […]

The Leader of Prayer: Five Skills for Lay Presiders

This is the fourth article in a series about leading prayer. Have you ever noticed that some priests are really good at presiding over the Mass? When they get everything right, it simply feels good. When done well, the priest “disappears” and he presents himself in persona Christi: acting in the person of Christ, he unites the offerings and prayers of the people to Christ. A good presider is confident, clear, and “leans in” to […]

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