10 Tips for Catechists from the Blessed Virgin Mary—and Your Chance to Win an Ignatian Inspiration Package

December 8, 2016 Bob Burnham 1

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Ignatian Inspiration pack today; details below. I’m always looking for help to become a better catechist. Since I often turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for help in other areas of my life, I asked her to help me in this ministry. […]

Celebrating St. Francis Xavier

December 2, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

Tomorrow, December 3, is the feast of the great Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, a companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola and then a fearless missionary to India and Japan. This feast is a great opportunity for catechists to teach about our missionary call to bring the Gospel of Jesus “ad gentes” (to the nations). In particular, Francis Xavier stands as a monumental example of learning and encounter. Some Jesuit schools observe “Xavier Day” by arranging […]

Three Lessons for Catechists from St. Nicholas

December 1, 2016 Darcy Osby 0

On December 6, we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas. On the night of December 5, children leave their shoes by the door, finding them filled with treats when they wake up the next morning. Catechists too can find “treats” from the life of St. Nicholas to help them in their ministry. Here are three lessons we can learn from the life of this fourth-century saint. 1. Be a gift-giver. St. Nicholas is best known […]

Drafting Prayers of Intercession

November 29, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

By the time my students hit my classroom in the fourth grade, most of them know basic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father. Most have also learned that there are different types of prayers: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. This week I decided to delve a little deeper into prayers of intercession, because I felt it tied in nicely to our lesson […]

St. Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians, Pray for Us

November 21, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

Tomorrow, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. I’ve made no secret on this blog about my insistence that music and singing must be a part of our catechetical ministry. I also believe that we have a largely untapped embarrassment of riches right under our noses in the form of young people who are adept at playing various instruments such as cello, flute, classical guitar, or piano. These […]

J.O.Y. in the Classroom: How to Teach Children to Cultivate a Joyful Life

November 16, 2016 Julianne Stanz 2

Cultivating and sustaining joy in the spiritual life has received quite a bit of attention in recent years. Pope Francis has made joy a central part of his message, as we see in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. The Holy Father reminds us over and over again that the Christian life is characterized first and foremost by joy: Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on […]

The End Times: Urgency, Not Fear (And a Thought About the Election)

November 11, 2016 Joe Paprocki 1

My best friend Joe is a real handyman, and he has a keen eye for spotting problems that might need some repair. He often says something like, “It may look OK now, but if you don’t deal with this soon, and if you don’t do it right, you could have some real problems on your hand.” His advice creates a sense of urgency, but not alarm. Joe is a realist, not an alarmist. In the […]

Game of the Good Shepherd

November 9, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 1

I attended the celebrations of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion at several different churches last year. While I was able to experience the joy of the sacraments in many different ways, I often heard the same Gospel reading: the parable of the Good Shepherd. This parable is a natural choice for these sacraments. It is a beautiful passage that depicts the intimate love and relationship between God and God’s people, and helps us to […]

Patron Saints Election Results

November 8, 2016 Denise Gorss 3

At the time I write this, my group of seventh graders has narrowed down the pool of saintly candidates to three as we move toward electing a patron saint for our classroom. The finalists are St. Mary, St. Francis Xavier, and Blessed Miguel Pro. Mary is polling as the current leader, but who knows what the final tally will say. You may recall that when I originally shared this activity of electing a patron saint, […]

St. Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of Catechists

November 4, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

In her book, My Best Teachers Were Saints, author Susan H. Swetnam writes about St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of catechists, whose feast day we celebrate today. She explains that he supervised the writing of an accurate catechism, rewrote liturgical texts and music, and began enforcing clerical reform in Rome after the Council of Trent. She writes that he was, “an energetic reformer who took ‘always the most austere and stringent interpretation’ of the […]

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