About Julianne Stanz
Julianne Stanz is the Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Julianne infuses her talks, retreats, and seminars with humor, passion, and insights from her life in Ireland. A popular speaker, storyteller, and author, Julianne is married with three children and spends her time reading, writing, teaching, and collecting beach glass. She is the author of Developing Disciples of Christ and co-author, with Joe Paprocki, of The Catechist’s Backpack.

Advice for New Catechists

Within two weeks of arriving from Ireland to live in Wisconsin, I found myself standing in front of a room full of tenth graders in a faith-formation classroom. As a new catechist and director of religious education, there were times when I definitely felt overwhelmed and a bit lost. But with mentoring, time, hard work, and patience, I found that I truly felt called to this ministry and that I sincerely enjoyed being a catechist. […]

Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS

Many catechetical leaders are familiar with the struggle of trying to find catechists at the last minute and begging parishioners for help. We have all heard the horror stories of people who tentatively volunteered and two weeks later found themselves standing in front of a room full of students, unsure of themselves and wondering how they ended up in this position. If our catechists are the backbone of our faith formation programs, then recruiting and […]

The Six Characteristics of the Spirituality of the Catechist

This reflection is part of the Spirituality of the Catechist Online Retreat. Read the overview post here. “Catechists must have a deep spirituality.” (Guide for Catechists 6) One of my favorite Disney movies is Big Hero 6. The story centers around a computer prodigy named Hiro who forms a team of superheroes to combat an evil villain. Along the way, these tiny superheroes realize that while each of them have their own special gifts, they […]

Ice-Cream Evangelization: Reaching Out During the Summer

Summer is a great time for busy families to relax and reconnect, enjoying warm weather and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, it can also be a time when many families take a vacation from faith formation. Our faith-formation programs themselves might be partly to blame: many programs run from September through May with no activity taking place during the summer. As a result, we reinforce the mistaken conception that faith formation is solely a catechetical endeavor that […]

The Six “Be-Attitudes” for Inviting Someone to Come to Mass

People who come to Mass infrequently tend to “PACE” themselves by going to church on Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Christmas, and Easter (P-A-C-E). So how can we reach out to our friends, family members, and those we work with who are not practicing their faith? The answer is surprisingly simple. According to Lifeway Research, 51% of unchurched Americans say the most effective way to get them to visit church would be through a personal invitation […]

The Four Keys to Lent

Lent is just around the corner and preparing others to enter into the spirit of this season means that we often neglect our own Lenten journey. We rush into Ash Wednesday with some ideas for Lenten resolutions (similar to last year’s practices and the ones before that) and find ourselves busier than ever. Easter comes with a flurry of activity, often leaving us feeling more tired than ever. Instead of feeling uplifted and renewed, we […]

J.O.Y. in the Classroom: How to Teach Children to Cultivate a Joyful Life

Cultivating and sustaining joy in the spiritual life has received quite a bit of attention in recent years. Pope Francis has made joy a central part of his message, as we see in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. The Holy Father reminds us over and over again that the Christian life is characterized first and foremost by joy: Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on […]

How to Include Parents in Faith Formation Through Community-Building Family Nights

How do we involve parents in faith formation? This age-old question seems to be getting harder and harder to answer. We seem to live in a “drag, drive, and drop off” culture when it comes to parental involvement in our faith formation programs. We use phrases like “create a culture of expectation,” “invite, welcome, and include,” and “mandate, require, and coerce” when talking about our efforts to include busy parents. But how do we effectively […]

The Power of Prayer: Three Ways to Model Discipleship

Peter, a director of religious education at a parish, asked Susan if prayer was interwoven into her classroom. “But I don’t have time to pray with my students and still get all of the material covered!” Susan answered, exasperated. “The most important thing,” Peter assured her, “is to model a life of discipleship grounded in prayer.” “Why?” Susan asked. “Because without the deep breath of prayer,” Peter replied, “our students will never believe that we […]

Social Media Struggles: Three Common Parish Pitfalls

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest—different platforms that present a variety of ways to engage parishioners and draw potential new members. Using social media as a part of your overall communications strategy for your parish is a smart move with lots of potential benefits. Many parishes initially see a decent amount of engagement in the first couple of weeks after establishing a Facebook page, but months later the page is languishing and as time goes […]

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