Heaven Is in the Details

One Sunday, as I was preparing my classroom for the arrival of my second graders, the popular saying “The devil is in the details” came to mind. I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for my class and attending to every little detail. I noticed that I began to worry: Is my […]

Journey through Jerusalem

Living in the Boston suburbs, my students have the privilege of regularly visiting many of our nation’s important historical sites. As much of a blessing as this is, it also makes it more difficult for them to conceptualize the setting of the important events in their faith heritage. I have been challenged by the task […]

Preparing My Heart and Mind: Four Ways to Get Ready for the Classroom

My three kids are back in school and I’m preparing to head back to the parish classroom as a third-grade catechist. It would be easy for me to overlook preparing for the class since I’ve been teaching the same grade for a few years, but I know that this would be a huge mistake. Just […]

Setting Goals for Successful Catechesis

You’ve arrived at the first catechist meeting of the year just in the nick of time. Your DRE hands you your catechist book, your class roster, and a list of expectations for the year. At the end of the meeting, your DRE wishes you the best of luck. You gather your things, head back to […]

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, […]

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 […]