With So Much Self-Esteem, Who Needs Salvation?

In recent times, there has been a big emphasis in education on building self-esteem. This, of course, has carried over into catechesis (we begin teaching 3-year olds the refrain “I Am Special”). A recent study reveals, however that this emphasis has led to an increase in narcissistic tendencies. My concern is, if we are all so special, then who needs salvation? Of course, self-esteem is important. But so is humility. As Catholics, our self-esteem is grounded in […]

Please…No "Crash Courses" for Catechists

I recently heard a reference to a “crash course” for teaching religion. My understanding of a crash course is a course of study offered to people in an emergency or to people who really don’t want to commit over the long haul. That’s not how I see the role of a catechist. A crash course is the antithesis of life-long learning. A crash course suggests that we can get, in one small package or time period, what […]

The Jesus Tomb – Sunday Night Comedy

I watched a good comedy Sunday evening: the Discovery Channel’s showing of The Jesus Tomb. It was truly laughable. At the same time, I realize that the kids we teach can be very impressionable and might be swayed  by such programs simply because a lot of scientific jargon was tossed around (those of us who are Trekkies refer to it as “techno-babble”…impressive sounding nonsense used in Star Trek episodes to solve seemingly unsolveable problems). With […]

Supporting Our "Rookie" Catechists

Here’s an e-mail from a “rookie” catechist who is getting through his first year with the ups and downs that come with it. Luckily, it sounds like he has good support from his DRE, fellow catechists, and from the catechetical community that gathers here on my blog. Let’s hear it for our rookie catechists!!! Thanks for bringing “new blood” to our ministry! We’re here for you!    After reading your entry about from February 22nd about “When […]

We Believe

A junior high catechist writes that he does the following exchange with his students: If you meet someone at an airport or wherever and said you were Roman Catholic, and they asked what you believe, what would you say? Suppose they were Muslim, Buddhist, or another Christian denomination. I tell them the answer can be found in something we say at EVERY MASS!!! Our Profession of Faith. We then review it word for word, slowly. […]

Child A or Child B?

This is a true scenario about people I know personally. Child A: Her parents were not practicing Catholics (both were baptized Catholic but did not attend Church). Her father was an alcoholic and was abusive toward her mother. She attended public school (both grammar school and high school) and was not enrolled in any form of religious education throughout her childhood. There was no prayer at home and no effort to teach any form of […]

When Being a Catechist is Not Easy

Sometimes being a catechist is not easy. OK, it’s NEVER easy being a catechist! When I get overwhelmed by the challenges we face, I like to remind myself that Jesus faced some pretty difficult “classroom situations” himself:   Matthew 13:57 (Jesus is rejected in his home town) Luke 4;28 (Jesus is thrown out of the synagogue and dragged to a cliff) Mark 11:27 (the crowds challenge Jesus’ authority) Luke 9:51 (a Samaritan town refuses to receive […]

In My Thoughts and In My Words…

Sin begins in our thoughts. It’s no accident that, at Mass during the Penitential Rite, we ask forgiveness beginning with admission of those sins we’ve committed “in my thoughts” and then we add, “and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.” Repentance involves thinking. That’s the primary reason that we practice fasting during Lent – not because food is bad but because eating involves thinking and we […]

Jesus, You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

This Sunday’s Gospel about love of enemies ranks #1 in what I refer to as the “Jesus, you’ve got to be kidding” category. Now, I know that Jesus is not kidding, but I believe that the typical initial human reaction to Luke 6:27 is just that: utter dismay. I once asked a group of students, after reading this passage, if they “buy it.” They looked at me like I had 3 heads, primarily because no […]

Putting the Spotlight on Your Students

Years ago as a student teacher, I completed my first class and was quite proud. My cooperating teacher agreed that it went well but he said that I “talk too much.” His advice was, “You had the spotlight on yourself when it should be on the students. They are the ones who are here to perform, not you.” I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as catechists by putting ourselves in the […]

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