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.

Experiences Teaching Catholic Devotions

April 18, 2017 Denise Gorss 4

During my planning of sessions this year, it occurred to me that young people in our programs never get exposed to the Stations of the Cross or many other traditional Catholic devotions. Even when I include the Stations in my plan, I’m teaching what they are, not leading or praying them with the young people. Maybe I needed to think differently about my approach, so this year I decided to try praying the Stations of […]

Taking Children to Adoration

April 12, 2017 Barb Gilman 8

I teach at St. Margaret Mary School, and the students in grades five through eight participate in the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They witness the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in a monstrance for a day of Adoration. This year we just happened to have an all-school Mass on the first Friday of the month, and I realized that many of my students were unfamiliar with Eucharistic Adoration. I knew I […]

Passover Storytelling

April 11, 2017 Denise Gorss 6

In leading a lesson on the Last Supper and the Eucharist, I used most of my usual plan, inspired by Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 16. And, as usual, I needed to pause in the discussion of the Last Supper to talk about the Passover. Because my group is preparing for Confirmation, three types of young people gather with me each week: those who haven’t been to religious education classes since First Eucharist and First […]

Good and Bad Choices

April 4, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

During this week’s lesson, I asked my fourth-grade class if they had a choice to love God. Many confused faces stared back at me. Can a person decide for themselves to not love or follow God? Yes was their response. God created us because he loved us, but he didn’t force us to love him in return. He gave us a choice to love him back. “Why would he do that?” I asked. “If you […]

The Student Teaches the Catechist About Reconciliation

March 29, 2017 Bob Burnham 1

I often wonder if I am effective catechist. Too many times, the ninth graders I teach sit with blank stares and respond to questions with disinterested shrugs. I suspect that many of them are simply counting the days until their Confirmation, because they will no longer have to go to faith formation class. I often wonder what will happen to the seeds of faith I have scattered: will they take root or will birds come […]

Four Ways to Encourage Silence

March 28, 2017 Denise Gorss 0

The topic of silence has come up a few times in discussions with my seventh graders, and every time it does, the young people make it obvious by their facial expressions and comments that the idea of silence isn’t one they embrace. That’s not surprising, given the fact that they get so few opportunities to practice silence in our contemporary world. But I know that silence can lead to beautiful moments of prayer and can […]

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 […]

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