Hosting Parish Small Faith Groups—Free Discussion Materials for Lent

Jesus was often surrounded by large crowds, clamoring to hear the Teacher speak. But Jesus first was only known to a small group, the Apostles. After the Resurrection, the Disciples continued spreading Jesus’ message to other small groups—the Philippians, the Ephesians, the Corinthians—and the tradition of small groups of devoted followers continues to this day. […]

Called to Be Saints

We are all called by God to be saints. Every year, I strive to teach the children in my parish third grade religious education class that they are included in that call. I explain that the saints were not perfect; they were regular people who sometimes messed up. The difference is that saints changed their lives […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 6

This is the last post in our series on how to host small faith groups in your parish. I have been drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, which gathered over 200 parishioners to participate in small faith groups last Lent. Today we look at what must be done throughout the […]

I Need Your Input

In my work in adult catechesis this year, I am assisting the pastoral staff of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago with articulating a vision for adult faith formation for the parish. We are using the Six Tasks of Catechesis to guide our efforts and we are presently working on the first task, which is Knowledge […]

The Advent Prayer Grab Bag

Traditional Advent activities include Advent wreaths, calendars, and Jesse trees. While these are all great ways to help children celebrate the season, I like using something different: the Advent prayer grab bag. The prayer grab bag takes its inspiration from the popular party game of grab bags. I ask my group if anyone has ever […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 5

As we continue our series on how to host Lenten small faith groups in your parish, we turn our attention to the immediate weeks before the program starts. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago where last year, over 200 parishioners gathered to participate in small faith groups during […]

Autism, the Holy Father, and Loyola Press

Recently, Pope Francis hosted a three-day conference at the Vatican (sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health) titled “The Person with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Animating Hope.” Over 600 experts from nearly 60 countries gathered with several hundred parents and children affected by autism. Loyola Press was proudly represented by Tom McGrath (Author, Speaker, Vice President for […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 4

In our continuing series on how to host small faith groups in your parish, today’s post calls us to look at training leaders to facilitate the small groups. Our model is a parish in Chicago that gathered parishioners in homes to participate in Scripture groups during Lent. 1–2 Months Out A critical step in ensuring […]

Show and Tell: Sharing Your Story of Faith

Children ask a lot of pointed and profound questions about God that can be difficult for us to answer. Right up there with the question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” has to be the question “What’s your story of faith?” or “Why do you believe in God?” While our students might […]

Being a Disciple Takes Practice

In a recent session, my class talked about being a disciple in the context of Ordinary Time. Since this Church season occupies most of the liturgical year, the discussion centered on how we can follow Jesus in everyday life. We focused on the works of mercy as ways to practice our discipleship. I set the […]