Beginning a Homily Prep Ministry

Is preaching homilies a challenge? Certainly. Any congregation can appreciate the fact that it is not possible to be spectacular week in and week out. By the same token, this is precisely why (theoretically) only specific individuals are ordained for this task: they are supposed to be individuals with a charism for preaching who have undergone […]

Ministry Burnout vs. Ministry on Fire

Several years ago, I read an article that truly hit the nail on the head regarding the ministry of directors of religious education. The article was titled, “Unsung (and Underpaid) Heroes of the Parish,” and included this paragraph: The U.S. bishops believe that the “single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the […]

Challenges and Successes of Being a Catechetical Leader

Every year as a Director of Religious Education has its own unique challenges and successes. I keep telling myself that if I’m doing the same thing as the year before, then I’m doing it wrong. Here are some continual challenges I face and the ways I have found success amidst them. Challenge 1: Recruiting Catechists […]

Prayer Blankets as a Component of Adult Faith Formation

As we continue to expand our notion of what adult faith formation is—taking it beyond the scholastic sphere—I’d like to talk about one idea that combines several aspects of the six tasks of catechesis. I’m referring to the practice of parishes creating a Prayer Blanket (or Prayer Shawl) Ministry. In this ministry, parishioners sew/create prayer […]

Would It Hurt to Put Up a Sign and a Balloon?

As I drive through various neighborhoods, I typically see no small number of lawn signs announcing yard sales, garage sales, or real estate open houses. Often, attached to the signs are a few balloons. The message is clear: this is where the action is! Contrast that with an experience I had recently (and all too […]

Helping Adults Deal with Holiday Stress

Advent is fast approaching and, along with it, the stress that comes with the secular holiday season. Often, the Church’s message for Advent is that we need to slow down and find some quiet time. Too often, that message is delivered as a scolding accompanied by a condemnation of the fast-paced and noisy secular celebration […]

Grace in My Role as a Catechetical Leader

Grace is such a packed topic for a blog post; I realized that I would have to narrow things a bit. So, I turned to the Catechism, and found my focus in Paragraph 2004: “Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the […]

Recruiting Responders for Adult Faith Presentations and Parish Missions

If you’ve been following Catechist’s Journey for a while, no doubt you’ve read my lament that one of the mistakes we make in adult faith formation is that we assign participants a passive role: we bring in a speaker to do a presentation, perhaps open it up for some Q & A, and call it a […]

Service Within the Context of Faith and Discipleship

More and more, I am finding that many parishes have numerous adults involved—under the radar, in many respects—in giving service to others. On a weekly basis, folks are visiting/staffing food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and so on. They are preparing sandwiches, folding clothing donations, and delivering meals to people. All of this is wonderful. […]

Seven Principles of an Evangelizing Community

The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. —Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 24 How can we tell if our evangelization efforts are working? We know that many times we are called to scatter the seeds of […]