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.

Make Your Group Prayer Meaningful

November 5, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the third article in a series about leading prayer. In the previous two installments of this series, I wrote about setting the environment for prayer and best practices for structuring public prayer. But how do you choose the content of prayer so that it is meaningful for participants? Every group has different needs. When prayer is “one size fits all” it can be hard for people to feel it has a meaningful connection […]

Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer

October 1, 2015 Joyce Donahue 1

This is the second article in a series about leading prayer. Whenever Catholics pray before group activities—whether a staff, catechist, or parent meeting or a gathering of the parish youth group—we offer all our efforts to the Father. We acknowledge that when we are gathered, Jesus is present with us. We invoke the Holy Spirit to guide us. Group prayers sanctify the activity, reminding us that the ultimate goal is to glorify God. Yet how […]

Can Your Catechists Tell THE Story?

September 24, 2015 Joyce Donahue 2

Whenever I serve in my parish as a catechist, I notice something distressing: children generally have little knowledge of Bible stories. Many of them cannot connect the dots from Jesus’ birth in a stable to his Death and Resurrection. Even fewer can connect Adam and Eve to Jesus; only a few have heard of such key ancestors in faith as Abraham, Moses, and David; and almost none of them realize how they personally are connected […]

Setting the Stage: Creating the Space for Prayer

September 3, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the first article in a series about leading prayer. When Catholics pray, we are often surrounded by reminders of who we are. At Mass, we can easily identify the current liturgical season or feast from how the sanctuary is decorated, the color of the priest’s vestments, the hymns we sing, and sometimes from the aroma of incense. We are accompanied in our liturgical prayers by statues of the saints, Scripture stories in stained […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 8: Mission

August 13, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the last article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. The word Mass comes from “missa est” (Latin for “it is sent”). The dismissal formula variations in the Roman Missal are meaningful. “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” “Go in peace.” “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” These convey a clear sense of mission. The command “Go” […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 7: Thankfulness

August 6, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the seventh article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Eucharist means “thanksgiving.” How grateful are we for God’s gifts, especially his gift of Jesus? Do we sincerely give thanks and praise at Mass? How can catechists help children develop an attitude of gratitude to God that they can bring to the celebration of the Eucharist? Younger Children One simple way to encourage young children to cultivate gratitude […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 6: Real Presence

July 30, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the sixth article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Polls show that many Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. If so many adults don’t understand it, how can catechists help children to learn this and take it to heart? Begin with Catechists Catechists should be encouraged to live the Real Presence by receiving Eucharist regularly, learning about its meaning, and […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 5: Sacrifice

July 23, 2015 Joyce Donahue 2

This is the fifth article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. The Mass is both sacrifice and a meal. It’s not just Jesus’ sacrifice, but ours as well. However, in a culture where so many kids get anything they want, the idea of laying down one’s life for others or submitting to God’s will rather than their own may seem entirely foreign. At most, many would understand sacrifice as […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 4: Intercessory Prayer

July 16, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the fourth article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. In the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful at Mass (formerly called the General Intercessions), the people claim their baptismal priesthood “by offering prayers for the salvation of all.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 69) How can we help children and youth growing up in a culture that focuses on “me first” to understand and join […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 3: Listening to the Word

July 9, 2015 Joyce Donahue 1

This is the third article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. To help children listen well to the Word of God at Mass, catechists should provide experiences of Scripture that allow young people to respect the Word, to become aware that Jesus speaks to them through it, and to engage in holy listening.* Respect for the Word From early childhood, students should learn that a reading from the Bible […]

1 2 3 4 5