A Creative Way to Look Up Scripture Verses

Do you remember learning how to locate passages in the Bible? Those of us who teach religious education to children realize that we have to teach this every year. We must create opportunities in class for kids to find Scripture verses on their own. One day when I realized we would have a short class, […]

Sacraments and Stories: Reasons to Celebrate

I really enjoy teaching my students about the sacraments. After all, the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Jesus Christ through the sacraments. How could I not enjoy teaching them? In fact, I like to teach my kids that they don’t “do” the sacraments, they celebrate them! This can be a challenge when teaching the […]

Encouraging Reconciliation

In a recent class, I asked who had made their First Reconciliation. All my third-grade students raised their hands. But when I asked how many have celebrated Reconciliation since then, the majority of their hands went down. Even though these children are only one year removed from preparing for their First Reconciliation, they still need to […]

Bringing Confirmandi and Sponsors Together for Meaningful Conversation

Too often, the role of the sponsor at Confirmation is treated as though it’s akin to being a bridesmaid or a groomsman at a wedding: just stand there and look good. And, oh yes, be sure to put your hand on your confirmandi’s shoulder. In short, it is a missed opportunity for quality adult faith […]

How Are Your Lessons Calling People to Repent?

This Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:14–20) invites us to hear the first words out of Jesus’ mouth as he begins his public ministry: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” One of the reasons that we find this passage difficult to take to heart is […]

We’re Doing This Apprenticeship Thing All Wrong!

One of the most exciting and challenging ideas that the General Directory for Catechesis brought us is the concept of apprenticeship. This comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life. (67) The whole idea, of course, is that those seeking to enter more fully into discipleship are to […]

Holy Patrons for the New Year

A few years back, I read about a tradition that St. Faustina had with the sisters of her convent. On New Year’s Day, they would gather to pick a holy patron for the new year. Here is an excerpt from her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. There is a custom among us of drawing […]

Called to Be Saints

We are all called by God to be saints. Every year, I strive to teach the children in my parish third grade religious education class that they are included in that call. I explain that the saints were not perfect; they were regular people who sometimes messed up. The difference is that saints changed their lives […]

Marian Devotions—Free Poster

Our Lady. Blessed Virgin. Queen of Heaven. Madonna. Maria. Mary. The mother of Jesus and the Church is known by many names, which reflect just how revered she is all over the world. The importance of Mary as Mother of God lies not only in that Mary was the woman who gave birth to Jesus, […]

A New Look at the Phrase “Church Militant”

I was impressed by the Mass for Veterans that was celebrated at St. Barnabas parish in Chicago this past Sunday. Military personnel, past and present, from all five branches of the military were invited to participate in a rousing entrance procession complete with flags representing each of their branches. The music, which was splendid, was focused […]