Adult Faith Formation at Christ the King Parish, Chicago

I’m excited and pleased to announce that this year, I will be working with the pastoral staff at Christ the King Parish in Chicago, IL, to focus on adult faith formation. The parish is led by Fr. Larry Sullivan, who was a student at Quigley Seminary South High School when I taught there from 1981–90, […]

10 Tips for Maintaining Discipline—Free Downloads

Volunteer catechists come to a new year of faith formation with enthusiasm, excitement, and a love for God, the Catholic faith, and children. But often they also come with apprehension because they have had little to no training in classroom management—things like what to do when the children won’t stop talking or when they interrupt […]

Sharing Stories of Faith

We don’t make disciples of Jesus Christ by engaging others in debate or by lecturing to them about principles of dogma. Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. People are more open to hearing a story about an everyday life experience in which God’s nearness is revealed. As a Church, […]

Five Tips for Working with Little Children

Working with young children can be a challenge, but children can also be fun and even give you insights into our faith when you look through their eyes of innocence and imagination. With that in mind, here are five tips for working with little children in faith formation sessions. Know that logic doesn’t always work. […]

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 […]