Responsiveness

Recently, I stopped by a parish to see a staff member. The receptionist greeted me warmly, inquired how she could be of help, contacted the staff member, and then invited me to have a seat until he was available. Then, she did something that I’ve never exprienced in all my years of visiting parish offices […]

A Little Help? Creative Ideas for Parent Reconciliation “Meeting”

I’m looking for some creative ideas for Parent Sacramental Prep “Meetings” for First Reconciliation. My goal is to get away from the all-too-familiar 45-60 minute talk given by the pastor, associate pastor, DRE, or guest speaker, during which the parents sit passively and listen and then are given some logistics about First Reconciliation and sent […]

Dry Run for REP Kick Off Nite

Last evening, I got together with Deb, the DRE at St. Cajetan, to do a “dry run” in preparation for next Tuesday’s Kick-Off for the Religious Education program. We had many logistics to go over such as the sound system, the lighting, the video, the music and so on. In particular, I realized that I […]

Attracting Adults By Telling Them They Are Needed

A popular idea for engaging adults in faith formation is to invite parents of children in RE to some type of enrichment at the same time that their children are in class – another way to combat the “drop-off” mentality. These efforts are often met with mixed results. Some parishes have had success with this […]

The Gospel is More Than “Chicken Soup”

One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned in my experience as a catechetical minister is that the core message of the Gospel is not about simple character development (ala Chicken Soup for the Soul) but about radical realignment of our being. I was reminded of this notion by this Sunday’s Gospel about the Canaanite […]

Inviting Zacchaeus to Come Down from the Tree

A HUGE part of forming disciples is inviting people to take the next step (there is ALWAYS a next step!). Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus inviting people to take the next step in their faith journey. One such story is of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) and we see how this invitation was life-changing for him. Many […]

Good Discussion Questions for Catechist Grade Level Breakout Sessions

As I mentioned in a previous post, I enjoyed a day in the Diocese of Peoria, in particular, participating in a grade-level breakout session for 5th and 6th grade catechists. Some of these grade level sessions can grow tedious if not facilitated well. I like the fact that for these breakouts, the Diocese provided questions […]

YouTube Videos as Supplemental Resources for Jr Hi and HS Faith Formation

The General Directory for Catechesis states clearly that NO resource, no matter how well-tested or glitzy, “can dispense with the person of the catechist in every phase of the catechetical process.” (156) Some faith formation programs would have you believe that their resources, whether a textbook or a series of DVDs, will do all the […]

Recommended Reading

As I was cleaning off my desk in preparation for the holidays, I came across an issue of Catechetical Leader Magazine that I had saved because it contained one of the best articles I’ve read all year. It’s by Matt Halbach, director of the St. Joseph Educational Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and it’s titled New Pope, New […]

Simple Tips for Leading a Simple Prayer

Often, I find myself at a gathering of Catholics (usually catechists and/or catechetical leaders) in which someone has been asked to prepare and lead an opening prayer. All TOO often, however, the prayer experience proceeds in the following manner: The leader stands up and says something like, “OK, so, I thought I would share this nice […]