The Gift of a Less-Than-Perfect Year

Another year of faith formation classes has come to an end, and I’ve got a big smile on my face and a few tears in my eyes. This has been my sixth year of teaching third-grade religious education classes at my parish, and as I look back on the year, I know I will happily […]

Hidden Gems the Holy Spirit Hides

When I think about how I teach my class, I tend to highlight those lesson plans that were spectacular or sessions when I left feeling confident that that my students truly understood the lesson. I tend to forget—or ignore—those times when I felt “off,” when I didn’t prepare as much as I would have liked, […]

Will God Wipe Us Out?

In my third-grade faith formation class, the story of Noah’s Ark came up while we were discussing another topic. One of the girls asked, “If God punished the whole world with a flood and wiped everyone out because of sin, could he wipe us all out as well? We are all sinners.” My immediate thought […]

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: […]

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 […]

Faith Formation for Parents: Bruce’s Story

As he sat down, he leaned to the mom next to him and whispered, “Don’t ask any questions; I want to get out of here before eight!” This was Bruce*, a 40-something professional man whose daughter Denise was enrolled in our Confirmation program. The setting was a parent session offered before the children’s sacramental preparation […]

Make Teaching Fun

Did you ever have one of those days where teaching religious education made you smile? Today was one of those days. After weeks of difficult and sometimes rowdy classes, we spent this class reviewing the material before the end of the year. Because I like games and like to teach with games, I decided to […]

Sacramental Readiness: WWYD?

Here is an opportunity to help one of our colleagues (we’ll call her Monica) who is faced with a situation of determining sacramental readiness. Please offer your advice by leaving a reply below. Hi Joe — One of our RCIC students, 13 year old, missed lots of classes, has not done any home make up […]

Final Assessment Results

So last evening, I conducted a Jeopardy-like review with my 6th graders and then followed it up with a final assessment. Here’s a summary: As part of our opening prayer, we included prayers for all those affected by the bombings in Boston. It is lamentable that, in the course of several months, we catechists have […]

Well-Intentioned Memes – Bad Theology/Catechesis

If you inhabit Facebook, you know that memes are all the rage – these images with phrases or captions, often humorous, sarcastic, or inspirational, that spread like wildfire through social media. They can be great fun and they can also be a powerful tool for communication. There was a proliferation of these during the papal […]