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 […]

A “Flipped-Classroom” Approach to Religious Education

One of the challenges we face as catechists is never having enough time in our classes. We want to do so many creative and meaningful things, especially related to prayer experiences, but we have barely enough time to cover the basic doctrine. One approach that is gaining traction in faith formation is the “flipped-classroom.” This concept […]

Forging Pathways to Christ: The New Evangelization and Families

Talk of the New Evangelization is sweeping parishes and dioceses around the globe. We know it is necessary, but we can be confused about what it actually is, what it is not, and how to do it. There is often some confusion between evangelization and catechesis. Most people seem to respond to the “how” of […]

Lessons in Teaching from Jesus

We’re a little past the halfway point of the year in my parish’s program, and in reviewing the track of lessons, I noticed that I hadn’t yet used any skits this year. Our upcoming lesson on Jesus as Teacher will change that. Session 13 in Finding God, Grade 7, focuses on Jesus the Teacher. The […]

Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 5: An Attitude of Faith and Hope

This is the fifth and final article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. In his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis cautions Catholics of becoming “sourpusses” (EG 85). Pessimism and defeatism are not Catholic attitudes. We are people of […]

Loving Students as St. John Bosco Did

There is one in every class: the challenging student who saps up your last ounce of patience. Several years ago as a student teacher, I pledged to myself to find one thing that I could love about this child in my class and found several: his fascinating knowledge of war history, his intricate creations of […]

Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 4: A Reverence for Scripture and Tradition

This is the fourth article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. An important part in developing our Catholic identity is fostering a deep appreciation for the source of the knowledge of our faith. The Catholic Church recognizes that God’s Revelation comes to […]

Evangelization and Joy-Filled Witness

One of the pastoral recommendations provided during the 2012–2013 Year of Faith jumped off the page for me: The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the […]