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.

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 […]

Five Ways to Pray with Jesus During Ordinary Time

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”?

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 […]

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