How Two People Can Change a Parish

It is no accident that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1). Think about it: if you want to convince people of something or be persuasive, it helps to have another person backing up your story. In a trial, it helps if there is more than one witness to testify. In […]

Need a Speaker for First Communion Parent Meeting? Try the Parents!

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of facilitating a First Communion Parents Meeting at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago. While I did do some presenting about a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the primary speakers for the evening were—drum roll please—PARENTS! The Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, recruited four parents […]

Four Ways to Keep the Faith in Vacation Bible School

This is the third article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. By this time, initial planning for this summer’s Vacation Bible School is underway, and the countdown has begun. We’ve selected a program, scheduled the date, and begun recruiting leaders for the many activities required […]

Discipleship Pledge Cards for Pentecost

Pentecost is just over a month away (May 24), so it’s not too early to talk about how the parish can approach this important day in our Church calendar. Too often, we stop at the perfunctory: ask everybody to wear red, sing some Holy Spirit hymns, and invite people to read the Prayers of the […]

11 Ideas for Protecting Your Faith While Leading Others

Today, we take a look back at an article originally written in 2011. While the author has moved on to a new position, his advice is still relevant. In the midst of an RCIA presentation, I told the group about the many people who had sought my counsel over the last several months. While we were […]

The Gifts of the Community in Vacation Bible School

This is the second article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. After I’ve selected my summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, focus, and theme, it’s time to center my efforts on the gifts of the community of people who will make it all happen. The […]

Parent Confirmation Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As children age into teens, they continue to look to their parents and guardians for cues on how to act and think in a mature way. Even if they don’t seek out advice or seem to actively dismiss it, young people are just as eager for parental guidance as they were when learning to tie […]

Stories, Not Labels

I work in the Office of New Evangelization for my diocese, and I remember a phone call from an 86-year-old woman named Gladys. She wanted to find out more about the “coming home” programs the diocese was offering for Catholics who had been away from the Church for a while. After a period of active […]

Choosing a Vacation Bible School Program

This is the first article in a four-part series about winning hearts and minds in the summer through Vacation Bible School. We start by looking at choosing a Vacation Bible School program. I’ve been looking at Vacation Bible School (VBS) flyers and previewing Web sites since Advent, when summer seemed a distant date on the […]

Echo: Grooming a New Generation of Catechetical Leaders

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Colleen Moore, the Director of the Echo program from the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life. The name “Echo” comes from the Greek word for “catechesis” meaning “to echo into” or “to resound.” The Echo program assists the Church in strengthening faith formation by […]