Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

This is the first article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) Happy are the catechists who can throw away a lesson plan, for they will respond to the needs of young people. One of my favorite things about being a catechist is lesson planning. I love coming up with activities and discussion questions […]

What’s the Big Idea?

I once took a course in homiletics (the art of delivering homilies and liturgical reflections). The professor often said, “Unless you can summarize the goal of your homily in one sentence, you have no business being in the pulpit.” He was serious about that. When each of us got up to deliver a practice homily, we were asked to tell the class our main goal in a single sentence. If we couldn’t, the professor made us […]

11 Tips for Catechists—Free Download

Preparation is key to the success of any catechist. Plan for a great new year of faith formation by reviewing my 11 Tips for Catechists, available to download for free this month here at Catechist’s Journey. Whether you’re an experienced catechist or new to the classroom, feel confident as you approach your planning by implementing these pointers. Catechetical leaders, please share the link to this post with your catechists and help them prepare for a […]

How Much Time Should a Catechist Spend Preparing Lessons?

I recently received an e-mail from a veteran catechist asking how much time catechists should put into planning their lessons. She had been using a textbook from another publisher for 10 years but was now using Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts from Loyola Press and was struck by the realization that she was being asked, not just to transmit information, but to facilitate a transformation of those she teaches. Here’s my reply to […]

Reading Ahead and Preparing for the Year to Come

Each summer I like to dedicate my office time towards a specific project. Last summer I opted to cozy up with the catechist’s books and become really familiar with the curriculum. Though I have taught much of the material in previous years, I wanted to have a more intimate understanding of our textbooks and the subjects that my students would cover. At my parish the DRE traditionally dictates which chapters should be taught each week. […]

How Do You Approach Lesson Planning?

How do you plan your lessons for faith formation sessions? The majority of us catechists don’t hold education degrees, so we likely don’t have much, if any, formal training in lesson planning. A good catechetical textbook with a teacher’s manual may outline ways to approach each lesson. This can be a great starting point, especially for new catechists. But with some experience, we can approach lesson planning in ways personalized to the group we have […]

A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan: It Is Right and Just

A few years ago, I developed a lesson plan on the theme of thanksgiving titled “It Is Right and Just.” It is packed with ideas, so you will probably have to pick and choose how much of it you actually hope to/think you can accomplish in the time you have during your sessions between now and Thanksgiving. This lesson is most appropriate for intermediate and junior high kids but can easily be adapted for younger […]

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 plan and make adjustments where appropriate. I am in a program that allows the catechists the flexibility to arrange the […]

A Session Planning Form – For Your Convenience!

So, as it turns out, my first session of religious education for this evening was canceled due to the excessive heat here in Chicago! It is in the mid to upper 90s during this 2nd week of September! Well, that’ll give me more time to polish my own lesson which will now take place next Tuesday! In the meantime, I’ve put the finishing touches on a resource I think you’ll find helpful. It is a Session […]

Happy New Year! My First Lesson of 2013

As we begin 2013 and continue with our Year of Faith, I wish you abundant blessings! It’s time to get back to work as a catechist! New Year’s Day proved to be a good day for me to plan my lesson for this coming Monday evening. Here is the outline of our session for Monday, January 7, 2013: The Prophets of Israel Challenge the People Big Idea: Prophets “get in the face” of the People […]

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