About Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher is an Educational Consultant at Loyola Press. Previously, he was the DRE at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, MD, for over 10 years. Deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality, Paul blogs about transformation and taking care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit at www.makingallthingsnew.com.
Contact: Website

Lent as a Catechetical Leader

Our annual Lenten journey has begun. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I always start this penitential season really well, but then quickly fall into the same old busy-ness of parish life. In fact, for most catechetical leaders, Lent is our busiest time of the year. How do we counter that? First and foremost, we have to make a commitment to prayerfully focus on what the season means. It’s a time to […]

Building a Productive Faith Leadership Team

How do we build a productive faith leadership team? Here’s my story. For most of my career as a DRE, I was blessed to work with a great pastor who was also my friend. I had known him before I took the job, and when the day came when he asked me to take on the leadership role in faith formation, I felt very comfortable with the decision. I haven’t regretted a minute of it. […]

Chance Encounter Leads to St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ten years ago, I really didn’t know anything about St. Ignatius of Loyola, nor of the Jesuit order, which he founded. A chance encounter with a Jesuit priest changed that for me, and since that dinner conversation, I’ve incorporated Ignatian spirituality into my daily life. I met Fr. George Lane, SJ, who was then the president of Loyola Press, during my first training as a ministry consultant. By chance, Fr. Lane sat next to me […]

Saint Anthony of Padua

I was sitting in a meeting at my parish, and in the corner of the room sat a life-size statue of Saint Anthony of Padua. Several years ago, the statue was moved up from a basement storage room, and there he now sits, with the baby Jesus in his arms. Our image of St. Anthony is a bit chipped and the paint has faded, but it’s always nice to know that he’s around. Maybe some […]

Why Reconciliation?

I know there are many people who are downright terrified of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. They are scared for different reasons, but ultimately, I think, it comes down to the belief that they view themselves as unforgivable. How could God ever forgive me for doing this or that? Sadly, such thoughts keep people from having that deep, intimate, and loving friendship that Jesus came down from heaven to restore. Let’s face it, St. […]

Keeping Focused This Advent

Ah, it’s Advent. I don’t know about you, but it sometimes looks as though Christmas is already here, with all the Christmas sales and all the holiday decorations. As I sat in the pew on Sunday, I kept thinking about all the shopping I still had to do—there are only so many shopping days left before Christmas! I hope we’ll all be able to refocus now on our Advent journey. The craziness of Black Friday […]

Grace in My Role as a Catechetical Leader

Grace is such a packed topic for a blog post; I realized that I would have to narrow things a bit. So, I turned to the Catechism, and found my focus in Paragraph 2004: “Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, […]

The Examen in Catechetical Programs

Several years ago, I became acquainted with Ignatian spirituality, and over time, incorporated many of the key components of this spirituality into my daily living. Although I’m certainly not an expert, I have learned enough so as to feel comfortable weaving such topics as the Examen into our programs. There are five key components to the Examen, a daily review of how the day went. Become aware of God’s presence. Even first graders are leading […]

Training and Retaining Volunteers

Training and retaining volunteers is a major responsibility of a DRE. In my parish, we have about 200 volunteers assisting in various ways with faith formation, and my staff and I have the responsibility of ensuring that they are equipped to do their ministry. Preliminaries for Volunteers Long before we allow someone to volunteer, he or she fills out a volunteer application, which includes reference checks. In our archdiocese, as in others, we must follow […]

11 Ideas for Protecting Your Faith While Leading Others

Today, we take a look back at an article originally written in 2011. While the author has moved on to a new position, his advice is still relevant. In the midst of an RCIA presentation, I told the group about the many people who had sought my counsel over the last several months. While we were without a full-time pastor, it seemed like I needed to install a revolving door to my office. These folks, mainly […]

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