Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

November 30, 2016 Kathy MacKenzie 0

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

Drafting Prayers of Intercession

November 29, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

By the time my students hit my classroom in the fourth grade, most of them know basic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father. Most have also learned that there are different types of prayers: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. This week I decided to delve a little deeper into prayers of intercession, because I felt it tied in nicely to our lesson […]

Letting the Holy Spirit Lead When Your Lesson Falls Flat

November 23, 2016 Special Contributor 0

We’ve all been there. You’ve planned the perfect lesson for the children or adults in your session. You’ve spent the week memorizing the material and making notes. You did the extra research to come with some great information not found in your regular curriculum. You’ve even prepared handouts or activities or songs. But once you got in the classroom, the lesson plan didn’t work at all. The group didn’t understand the material; your activities were […]

When and How to Introduce Advent

November 22, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

The first week of Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. While that is usual, it forces me to make a choice in how to introduce Advent: Do I talk about the season early, before Thanksgiving? Or do I wait until after the holiday break, when the season has already started? I’ve alternated my approach through the years, but I usually like to at least introduce Advent before the holiday, inviting the young people to […]

Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures Cycle A Video Options

November 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

For the last two years I’ve offered handouts for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures, to be used in parish small faith groups. Year A materials for 2017 are now available. As I did last year, I selected some options for online videos for further reflection on each week’s theme. Always remember to preview videos before showing to your group, to determine appropriateness for your setting and be sure things work as expected. First Sunday of […]

St. Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians, Pray for Us

November 21, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

Tomorrow, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. I’ve made no secret on this blog about my insistence that music and singing must be a part of our catechetical ministry. I also believe that we have a largely untapped embarrassment of riches right under our noses in the form of young people who are adept at playing various instruments such as cello, flute, classical guitar, or piano. These […]

Sacrifice and Courage

November 15, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

During this week’s lesson on Christ’s Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, I focused on his sacrifice and courage. We discussed how Jesus had the courage to allow God’s will to be done, especially knowing the plan involved sacrificing his life. To set the tone for this serious topic, I started the class a little differently. When the children entered the classroom, I had them stand in a circle around electric candles I had brought from […]

Game of the Good Shepherd

November 9, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 1

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 […]

Patron Saints Election Results

November 8, 2016 Denise Gorss 3

At the time I write this, my group of seventh graders has narrowed down the pool of saintly candidates to three as we move toward electing a patron saint for our classroom. The finalists are St. Mary, St. Francis Xavier, and Blessed Miguel Pro. Mary is polling as the current leader, but who knows what the final tally will say. You may recall that when I originally shared this activity of electing a patron saint, […]

Four Ways the RCIA Makes Me a Better Catechist

November 3, 2016 Bob Burnham 1

When I started out as a catechist, I began with my parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) ministry. A few years later I joined the faith formation team that served our parish’s young people, first as a substitute, then as a regular catechist. I continue to serve in both ministries, and while teaching the faith to candidates in the RCIA is different from teaching it to young people (For example, candidates in the […]

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