Teaching Young Adults to Pray

When I look back on my faith journey as a young adult, I am extremely grateful for the older adults in my life who took the time to teach me how to pray. Their gifts of sharing their wisdom and teaching me the practical tools of our faith serve me well as I journey through […]

Three Ways to Turn Your Faith Formation Class into a Mini-Retreat

We live in such a highly-stimulated world, and no one experiences this more than our children. Their TV shows, movies, commercials, and even their school days are packed with flashes of images, sounds, and movement. This may create a sense that quiet and stillness is the worst possible environment. We know, however, that it is […]

Vacation Bible School Week

It’s the most fun and physically demanding week of the year—Vacation Bible School. My first year of leading VBS, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I ordered the kit, borrowed liberally from other parishes using the same theme, and prayed it would all come together. That first year we had 20 children […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 2: Song and Praise

This is the second article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Catechists can encourage children and youth to participate in the Mass by helping them become comfortable with singing and sung prayer and praise. Age-appropriate music should be a regular element in every catechetical session. Most textbook series come […]

Pope Francis on Catechesis Beyond the Scholastic Sphere

Recently, Pope Francis made some very interesting comments about evangelization and catechesis. In particular, he said that catechesis needs to go beyond just the “scholastic sphere” and lead people to an encounter with Christ. I’m thrilled to hear him talk about this because, as important as familiarity with doctrinal concepts is, it means nothing unless […]

He Did Not Say Anything to Them Without Using a Parable

This Sunday’s Gospel, for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (June 14, 2015) is about the Parable of the Mustard Seed and includes the line, “He did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Mark 4:34) Jesus’ use of stories/parables was not just some quaint medium of a simpler time. Even […]

A School and Parish Pilgrimage

During the last week of school, I take my third graders on a pilgrimage around our school and parish campus. I started this practice during the Jubilee Year of 2000, when I led a pilgrimage for my school community. We didn’t go far: we just walked the grounds of our campus. I loved this opportunity […]

Not Every Year Will Be Like This One

Another catechetical year has ended, and I have to admit that I am glad this one is over. I had a challenging class this year, and many of my tried-and-true methods didn’t reach this group. There were good moments, but there were more frustrating ones. So today I am writing especially to the first-year catechists: […]

Tweeting the Mass

My classroom has a Twitter account, which is a great way for my students to share what’s going on in the class. But I often ask myself how we can use Twitter to help in the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel. Why not use our Twitter account to share the message they hear at […]

Assessing the Year of Faith Formation

Our year of faith formation has ended at my parish. It is both a happy and sad time for me as a catechist. I’m thrilled to see my class of third graders move on, but I’m also sad to see them go after our year together. Our DRE asks us catechists at the end of […]