Whether you work with little children, teenagers, or adults, you are not alone in catechetical ministry. These posts highlight stories from catechists and faith formation leaders in the field, sharing the ups and downs of their work.

Why Do We Observe Lent?

March 21, 2017 Lisa Jones 1

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

The Extraordinary Power of Small Faith Groups

March 20, 2017 Joe Paprocki 1

This Lent, for four weeks, I am facilitating a small faith group for my parish, Christ the King. Now, I have to begin by telling you that this is not my prayer group or any kind of insular little group that has been meeting for years. Our small groups are “pop-up” in nature—we do them for four weeks, several times per year and people sign up for them not knowing who they will be thrown […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

March 16, 2017 Bob Burnham 1

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

Cricket and Conscience and Conversation

March 14, 2017 Denise Gorss 0

I love when someone answers a question with a wild guess or a funny remark, but then that answer proves right on target. Such was the case in a recent lesson on making moral choices and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I was explaining that we need to form our consciences to be able to make good moral choices. Since I learned long ago never to take for granted the students’ vocabulary knowledge, I backed up […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 2: Fasting with St. Vincent Ferrer

March 9, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]

Helping Parents Model Catholicism for Their Children

March 6, 2017 Joe Paprocki 1

My friend Steve once related that perhaps the most influential experience of his childhood—in terms of his Catholic faith—was getting out of the bed one night to go to the bathroom and seeing his father on his knees saying his prayers bedside. Steve had no idea that his dad prayed at all, let alone on his knees each and every night. Because children are so strongly influenced by their parents, we need to do all we […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 1: Praying with St. Patrick

March 2, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]

New Projects for Lent

March 1, 2017 Barb Gilman 6

This is my 13th year of teaching Lent to third graders, and I’m in need of some fresh new projects and activities for my students. While I will still use my usual activities—they will still be new to this group of third graders—I have realized that adding new activities and projects helps keep me engaged and challenged. This year I will include my usual Ash Wednesday video that shows photos of our foreheads after receiving […]

The Vocabulary of Lent

February 28, 2017 Denise Gorss 2

As we look to observe Lent with our students, I am thinking about the language of Lent and how to ensure that my seventh-graders know the Church’s vocabulary related to the season. I shared a post on the Vocabulary of Christmas two months ago, and many of the techniques for helping children understand key terms could apply here as well. But one of the advantages of Lent, from a catechetical perspective, is that it is […]

Identifying Our Gifts

February 14, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

At our Baptism each of us receives a call to service from Christ. In our lesson this week, we focused on how God enables each of us to fulfill that baptismal call. As fourth graders, the children typically understand that not only are each of us made in God’s image, but that we are each uniquely created as individuals. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents that make us who we are. […]

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