First Mercy Project: Care Packages for the Homeless

This past Tuesday, the fifth graders in St. Cajetan’s RE program assembled care packages of personal hygiene items for the homeless. This took place as part of a unique partnership between the fifth-grade class and the Action for Others campaign at Loyola Press. Employees at LP were invited, over the past two weeks, to purchase and donate […]

Sharing Stories to Teach the Faith

We are a few weeks into the new school year, and my third graders are finally settling into the routine of class. Our first lesson focused on the Holy Spirit. My students learned that the Holy Spirit helps guide us to live as Christians. As we read the chapter in our textbook, my students highlighted […]

Feeling Like a First-Year Catechist

Despite having 15 years of experience, I feel like a first-year catechist in many ways this year. Our parish has a new catechetical leader. I will be in a different classroom on a different floor of the school building. My room has tables instead of individual desks. The religious education office moved to different location […]

“Friending” Facebook for Your Religious Education Program

Quick question . . . have you checked Facebook today? Chances are you have, and you’re not alone. Facebook reports more than 800 million mobile active users alone. For many, social media and social networking are synonymous with Facebook. Users range from pre-teens to senior citizens. Now imagine being able to harness even a fraction […]

Who Do You Recruit to Animate Adult Faith Formation? Try a “Regular Guy”

My favorite radio station in Chicago—WXRT, 93.1 FM—features a movie critic who goes by the name of “The Regular Guy.” Since 1984, DJ Marty Lennartz has portrayed a stereotypical gritty Chicagoan giving his take on the current motion picture hits. The bit is brilliant, of course, because listeners fashion themselves as “regular people” who can […]

And Away We Go!

I’m old enough to remember how Jackie Gleason would say, “And awaaaay we go!” at the beginning of his TV show every week. Those words popped into my mind as we kicked off the catechetical year at St. Cajetan Parish last week. We began with a prayer service in church, which included blessings of the parents, […]

As Clear as a Bell: Playing “God’s Family Feud”

As catechists, we always need to evaluate the way we present lessons to our classes. An approach that may work for one group may not work for another. For example, I was teaching a frisky group of second graders about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. However, all of the old tricks […]

Beginning the Conversation About Adult Faith Formation

As a Church, we’ve been talking about adult faith formation for years and yet, here we are “beginning” the conversation at Christ the King parish. That’s not a knock on the parish—many parishes find themselves in the same boat: yet to realize what it means to make adult faith formation a priority. Thankfully, Fr. Larry […]

Preparing My Heart and Mind: Four Ways to Get Ready for the Classroom

My three kids are back in school and I’m preparing to head back to the parish classroom as a third-grade catechist. It would be easy for me to overlook preparing for the class since I’ve been teaching the same grade for a few years, but I know that this would be a huge mistake. Just […]

Mercy Opportunities for Fifth Grade Finding God

As I mentioned last month, I will be working with two fifth-grade catechists at St. Cajetan Parish this year to provide a Year of Mercy focus for their students and their parents and families. The catechists are hoping to engage the young people in a work of mercy during every lesson throughout the year. To that end, […]