About Shannon Chisholm
Shannon Chisholm is a Ph.D. candidate in Religious Education at Fordham University. Over the years, Shannon has ministered as both a catechist and Director of Faith Formation. She is currently serving as a catechist at Holy Family Parish in New Rochelle, NY. She holds a BA and MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. When she isn’t daydreaming about lesson plans for her second-grade class, Shannon enjoys spending time with her family, discovering new coffee shops, and cheering on the Fighting Irish.

Understanding Reconciliation: A Lesson from the Lost Sheep

My students are celebrating their First Reconciliation in February, and I have been trying to find engaging ways to introduce my students to Scripture stories that will help them to understand the sacrament (such as playing the Game of the Good Shepherd). I am hoping that they will come to a deeper understanding of the sacrament by experiencing the Parable of the Lost Sheep through the eyes of the different characters in the story. After […]

Reviewing the Mass Before Christmas

I love the excitement, expectation, and joy that is abundant in my class as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. As we get ready for Christmas with crafts and cookies, I also prepare my students for Christmas Mass. Many of my students do not regularly go to Mass, and they aren’t familiar with the Order of the Mass. I find that everyone benefits from a review of what happens at Mass before attending with their […]

Game of the Good Shepherd

I attended the celebrations of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion at several different churches last year. While I was able to experience the joy of the sacraments in many different ways, I often heard the same Gospel reading: the parable of the Good Shepherd. This parable is a natural choice for these sacraments. It is a beautiful passage that depicts the intimate love and relationship between God and God’s people, and helps us to […]

Ten Commandments Games

My second-grade students have very busy bodies. I have struggled to accomplish anything in class, and I have been growing frustrated—I waste too much time trying to get their attention. After a few weeks together, I am realizing that I should find ways to focus their excitement and energy rather than stifle it. I am going to try a new approach: we will play more learning games and do fewer crafts, and I will incorporate lots […]

Transitions and Expectations: Facing a New Catechetical Year

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the God’s Gift program for sacramental preparation. The program is available for primary and intermediate levels, as well as for programs that celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Restored Order. The start of the new catechetical year has always brought me much excitement for the graces that will come; it has also brought a little anxiety as I think about the ways that God […]

Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve: Celebrating the Life of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was officially recognized as a saint on September 4, 2016. Her life’s work with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and throughout the world inspires those of us who hear Christ’s call to spread the love of God to each person we meet. Mother Teresa’s canonization is a great time to celebrate her life with students in our faith-formation classes, especially in our continued celebration of the Year of Mercy. Mother Teresa embraced […]

Reading Ahead and Preparing for the Year to Come

Each summer I like to dedicate my office time towards a specific project. Last summer I opted to cozy up with the catechist’s books and become really familiar with the curriculum. Though I have taught much of the material in previous years, I wanted to have a more intimate understanding of our textbooks and the subjects that my students would cover. At my parish the DRE traditionally dictates which chapters should be taught each week. […]

Safety Programs in the Classroom

I began my position as the director of faith formation at my parish with dreams of renewing my students’ and their families’ relationships with Christ. I imagined how I was going to be the best catechist to my students. I would create engaging lesson plans, I would lead reflective retreats, and I would assist at Masses that inspired people’s faith. What I didn’t imagine were other important—but not as romantic—elements of a faith formation program […]

Ending the Year on a Good Note

When we approach the end of faith formation classes for the year, we can be overwhelmed by a flurry of activity. During this period, our highest priorities are the celebration of the sacraments, planning for the final classes, end-of-year meetings, and looking forward to the next year. Amidst all these priorities—as well as tying up any loose ends—we can easily forget to take a step back and reflect on some of the gifts that are […]

Four Ways to Teach About the Saints

I once had a student ask why we spent so much time talking about the saints; did he not attend faith formation classes to learn about Jesus? I told him that this is precisely why we learned about the saints: “our communion with the saints joins us to Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 957). The saints reveal much to us about God, and they give us an example of how to live as followers […]

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