10 Tips for Maintaining Discipline—Free Downloads

Volunteer catechists come to a new year of faith formation with enthusiasm, excitement, and a love for God, the Catholic faith, and children. But often they also come with apprehension because they have had little to no training in classroom management—things like what to do when the children won’t stop talking or when they interrupt […]

Sharing Stories of Faith

We don’t make disciples of Jesus Christ by engaging others in debate or by lecturing to them about principles of dogma. Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. People are more open to hearing a story about an everyday life experience in which God’s nearness is revealed. As a Church, […]

Five Tips for Working with Little Children

Working with young children can be a challenge, but children can also be fun and even give you insights into our faith when you look through their eyes of innocence and imagination. With that in mind, here are five tips for working with little children in faith formation sessions. Know that logic doesn’t always work. […]

Three Ways to Turn Your Faith Formation Class into a Mini-Retreat

We live in such a highly-stimulated world, and no one experiences this more than our children. Their TV shows, movies, commercials, and even their school days are packed with flashes of images, sounds, and movement. This may create a sense that quiet and stillness is the worst possible environment. We know, however, that it is […]

He Did Not Say Anything to Them Without Using a Parable

This Sunday’s Gospel, for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (June 14, 2015) is about the Parable of the Mustard Seed and includes the line, “He did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Mark 4:34) Jesus’ use of stories/parables was not just some quaint medium of a simpler time. Even […]

Pentecost Fire Drill

In one of my first years teaching, I was introducing the story of Pentecost to my group of fourth graders. The book had an illustration of the Feast of Pentecost, with the disciples gathered in a room, tongues of fire over each of their heads. They were facing an open door with looks of shock […]

Speaking to the Heart

Parishes report that Easter Sunday and Christmas Mass are the highest attended services of the year and our congregations are made up of people at many different places in their spiritual journeys. As ministers we have a whole litany of terms for people who do not attend Mass regularly: “Chreasters” and “Eastmasses” for those who […]

Stories, Not Labels

I work in the Office of New Evangelization for my diocese, and I remember a phone call from an 86-year-old woman named Gladys. She wanted to find out more about the “coming home” programs the diocese was offering for Catholics who had been away from the Church for a while. After a period of active […]

Movie Time

When planning my weekly faith formation lessons, I tend to look for certain types of activities that I’m comfortable teaching. In addition to the textbook, I usually include worksheets (crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.), classroom games, and journal writing. Every once in a while we will do a craft or physical activity, but with a […]

Seven Discoveries I’ve Made in Reevaluating the Year’s Plan

About this time of year, we catechists might be feeling great about how the year is going or frustrated that things aren’t going as expected—probably a mix of both. We find ourselves in the middle of Lent, wondering whether our efforts will bear fruit. This is an excellent time to pause and reevaluate the year’s […]