“Alternative Facts” and the Eighth Commandment

February 10, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

Recently, we have been hearing references in the news to the phrase “alternative facts” when folks are debating the veracity of the reporting on an event. The truth is, while there can be different perspectives and different interpretations of the same event, there is an objective element to the story that demands accuracy. For catechists, this issue provides us with an opportunity to talk about the Eighth Commandment, which is ultimately about communicating truth. I’ve always […]

Going to Mass Is Liberating

February 6, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

As those of us responsible for adult faith formation seek strategies for responding to people—especially Millennials—who see little or no reason for going to Mass, here is one approach we might want to consider: stressing that going to Mass is not only a statement of faith but is also a statement of liberation. For the people of Israel, liberated by God from oppression through the Exodus/Passover event, proclaiming that “God reigns” was not only a […]

Understanding the Sacramental Seal of Confession

January 31, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

In a recent lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my fourth graders once again surprised me with their questions. After teaching and discussing the sacrament, our discussion turned toward how much God loves us. After all, God gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so we could be healed and know that he will always forgive us. Understanding God’s unconditional love and mercy for us is always one of my top themes with students. A couple […]

The Prayer Before Meals Opens a Conversation About Real-Life Prayer

January 24, 2017 Denise Gorss 4

In the middle of a session, the conversation turned to the Prayer Before Meals, and I asked my seventh-graders if they knew that prayer. One girl volunteered that she knew it in Spanish, so I invited her to recite it for our group. But aside from that girl, no one indicated they knew the prayer. I directed the young people to look at the words of the prayer in the book. The same girl who […]

Understanding Reconciliation: A Lesson from the Lost Sheep

January 18, 2017 Shannon Chisholm 2

My students are celebrating their First Reconciliation in February, and I have been trying to find engaging ways to introduce my students to Scripture stories that will help them to understand the sacrament (such as playing the Game of the Good Shepherd). I am hoping that they will come to a deeper understanding of the sacrament by experiencing the Parable of the Lost Sheep through the eyes of the different characters in the story. After […]

Practicing Real Presence

January 13, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

Sometimes we make theological concepts harder to understand than is necessary. One such is example is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. I tell parents all the time that practicing real presence is one of the highest demands of parenting. As a parent, you make every effort to be truly present to your child, especially for special occasions such as his or her birthday, first day of school, graduation, recitals, and big games. Likewise, you […]

Why Confess? Ideas for the Sacrament of Reconciliation Parent Meeting

January 11, 2017 Special Contributor 0

“But why do I have to tell my sins to a priest? Can’t I just go directly to God?” This time it’s the Confirmation students asking the question. And yes, you can pray directly to God, and God has already forgiven our sins through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But perhaps we have missed the point of sacramental Reconciliation. As catechetical leaders, it is our responsibility to meet people where they are and […]

Three Ways to Teach the Creed to Younger Children

January 5, 2017 Darcy Osby 0

I was teaching a class of second graders the Nicene Creed when I started reciting it phrase by phrase. I asked them to repeat the lines after me. A group of children who attended Mass regularly realized they knew what came next and excitedly continued on without waiting for my prompts. I let them go, curious to see how far they would get. They spoke the words very quickly; whenever they paused or thought about […]

Four Reconciliation Questions on the Mind of Every Third-Grader

January 4, 2017 Barb Gilman 4

Twice a year my students celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation with the other classes in the school—once during Advent and once during Lent. Since I teach third graders, I review the sacrament and the steps necessary to make a good confession. While every class is different, I have found some similarities over the years in their concerns, and they often have the same questions: What do I say at the beginning? What sins […]

Prayer That “Fits” Current Science

December 26, 2016 Joe Paprocki 4

In late November my daughter got married, and it was a wonderful experience. In the days leading up to the wedding, my wife was fervently praying for good weather. For several weeks before the wedding date, Chicago experienced unseasonal warmth and lots of sunshine. Forecasters, however, warned that “big changes” were coming, and the target date for those big changes turned out to be our daughter’s wedding day. Needless to say, my wife was not […]

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