Let’s Make a Deal…and Learn about Making Choices

Group games tend to be a hit with faith formation classes, but we cannot add a game to the lesson plan just to play a game—games should enhance the lesson in some way. That said, there are many great options for student games, many of which are inspired by television game shows. I recently decided […]

Simon Says Pray

It’s spring! We all look forward to this glorious time of year, especially after a long, dreary winter. But spring also makes it difficult for children to fight the wiggles and sit still during religious education class. They would much rather run and play and enjoy the sunshine like the rest of us. Rather than fight […]

A Culture of Service

Joking with my students one day I said, “Jesus didn’t gather his apostles around him and say, ‘Lets do a service project!’” Jesus gave us an example of how to serve one another, and I like to encourage a culture of service in my classroom. Teaching service as a way of life can be challenging […]

A Creative Way to Look Up Scripture Verses

Do you remember learning how to locate passages in the Bible? Those of us who teach religious education to children realize that we have to teach this every year. We must create opportunities in class for kids to find Scripture verses on their own. One day when I realized we would have a short class, […]

A Lenten Family Day

Cyndi from Louisville, KY, shares the following. Great job, Cyndi! Hi Joe Just wanted to share how our Sunday Religious Program has used one of your 40 ideas for Lent. We took the Declaration of Dependence you proposed for the class and expanded it to be for the entire program and all the families. At […]

More About Meekness

Back when the Beatles were in business, they occasionally wrote songs that they themselves thought of as “throwaways,” meaning that they didn’t really think much of the songs themselves and yet, often these songs turned out to be hits, resonating with their fans. I have to admit that occasionally, I consider some of my posts […]

Artistic Beauty Can Lead the Human Heart to God

In a general audience in August, 2011, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of art in the life of faith, saying that artistic beauty can lead the human heart to God. “Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God,” […]

May Crowning Update

Last week, I posted about the beautiful Catholic tradition of May Crowning and my quest to find out how to either acquire or make a small “crown” for my backyard Mary Statue. As it turns out, the miniature floral crown that I ordered was WAY too mini! So, instead, I went to Michaels and found […]

“Keystone” Habits – How Change (Conversion) Happens

In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg talks about how we form habits and how we can change them. He specifically describes habits that he refers to as “keystone habits,” explaining that “success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead […]

Lenten Family Mission – Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish, Park Ridge, IL

This week, I have had the privilege of preaching a Lenten Family Mission at Mary, Seat of Wisdom parish in Park Ridge, IL, on the theme of the Mass (drawing from my book, Living the Mass). It has been an extraordinary experience of grace and I thank the good people of the parish for their […]