Letting the Holy Spirit Lead When Your Lesson Falls Flat

November 23, 2016 Special Contributor 0

We’ve all been there. You’ve planned the perfect lesson for the children or adults in your session. You’ve spent the week memorizing the material and making notes. You did the extra research to come with some great information not found in your regular curriculum. You’ve even prepared handouts or activities or songs. But once you got in the classroom, the lesson plan didn’t work at all. The group didn’t understand the material; your activities were […]

Four Ways the RCIA Makes Me a Better Catechist

November 3, 2016 Bob Burnham 1

When I started out as a catechist, I began with my parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) ministry. A few years later I joined the faith formation team that served our parish’s young people, first as a substitute, then as a regular catechist. I continue to serve in both ministries, and while teaching the faith to candidates in the RCIA is different from teaching it to young people (For example, candidates in the […]

10-Year-Olds Leaving the Church?

October 28, 2016 Joe Paprocki 6

Recently, my good friend Julianne Stanz, Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI, wrote an excellent article in their diocesan newspaper, The Compass, in which she addressed the findings of a recent CARA study that reveals that young people around the age of 13 but as young as 10 are deciding to leave the Church. The reasons cited include: “Catholic beliefs aren’t based on fact. Everything is hearsay from back before […]

Smells and Bells: Props for the Catechetical Session

October 27, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the third article in a series about liturgical catechesis. One of the treasures of liturgical prayer is that it is physical and sensory in nature, filled with sights of seasonal colors and sacramental symbols: the smells of incense and chrism, the sounds of words and music. When we include these in our catechetical sessions, we let children know they are not entering mere school classrooms; they are entering sacred spaces where faith is […]

Getting Families Involved in the Classroom with Show-and-Tell

October 12, 2016 Kathy MacKenzie 8

One day last spring, I was hanging out in the lobby of our parish center, as I often do when classes end for the day. It was 5:00 P.M., and some of the parents had spent the entire hour waiting for their children by relaxing in one of our chairs, reading a book to pass the time. Others had just arrived, having run a quick errand since dropping off their children an hour earlier. This […]

Does Your Faith Formation Space “Speak Catholic”?

September 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 1

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Christ Our Life faith formation program. When children walk into religious education sessions in your parish, what do they see: another classroom like they have been sitting in all day in school? Or is it an inviting space that makes it easy to form community, where matters of the heart and spirit can be shared? Does your faith formation space “speak Catholic” through sign, symbol, […]

Sights, Sounds, and Movements: Connecting the Liturgy to the Classroom

August 25, 2016 Joyce Donahue 2

This is the second article in a series about liturgical catechesis. We know the importance of becoming a “liturgical catechist.” But how do you integrate liturgy and catechesis in practice? You can begin by observing the marks of the liturgy—the sights, sounds, and movements of the Mass—with an eye toward how they can be adapted to the classroom. Pay particular attention to how the Mass is celebrated throughout the liturgical year. What are the colors […]

Simple Tips for Leading a Simple Prayer

August 17, 2016 Joe Paprocki 1

While it is true that we can pray simply and spontaneously, at more formal gatherings, our prayer is to resemble how we pray at Mass. In other words, the prayer is meant to be liturgical, which means that it should have a basic structure. This means including parts for the assembly, including Scripture, and including elements of sign, symbol, and ritual. Many of us have never been taught how to prepare and lead a simple […]

Facebook Followers Share about Activities in the Classroom

August 16, 2016 Special Contributor 0

What’s your most creative idea for the Catholic classroom? We asked this question on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page and received a list of creative responses. From a jumbo Rosary to hashtags about holiness, catechists shared about activities for multiple grade levels, parents, and families. Saint Strips Catechist Kathleen Horrigan Butler from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., shared a first-grade activity that helps children pray with the saints, using art from Happy […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #10

August 5, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

It’s been a fun trip down memory lane this summer as I’ve recounted and shared ten of my favorite lessons from my experiences of teaching fourth, sixth, and eighth grade religious education over the last decade. Last but not least is a lesson I did several years in a row when teaching eighth grade; it is actually a string of lessons on Church history. This lesson was pretty labor-intensive, involving a PowerPoint presentation that I put […]

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