A Good Vocation Video

I began my career in ministry back in 1981, teaching in a high-school seminary in Chicago. It was always my quest to find a good video on priestly vocations to show to the young men in my classes; however the options were usually slim. Since that time, there have been a number of videos produced on the topic of priestly vocations—some better than others—but they still tend to exhibit one of the following shortcomings: They […]

Celebrate, Remember, and Appreciate: Mystagogy for Children

Mystagogy is a time for the community and the newly baptized to “grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist and doing the works of charity.” (RCIA 244) Mystagogy is clearly a period of encounter, accompaniment, and integration. Both the community and the newly initiated grow together. Unlike adults who are instructed and mentored prior to Baptism, […]

Teaching the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist

Various studies in recent years have revealed a disturbing fact: less than half of people who identify as Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a central tenet of our Catholic faith. We believe that, in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly though mysteriously present to us under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine. Is this a difficult concept to teach to children […]

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ: Hard to Swallow?

Once, when I gave a Scripture presentation to a group of adults, an elderly gentleman came up to me afterwards and said, “I don’t understand why God seems to be all over the place in the Old Testament, but he’s nowhere to be found in the New Testament.” My guess is that he was referring to the dramatic theophanies of the Old Testament, such as the burning bush. I replied, “Oh, no, God is very present in […]

A Catechist Aide Just For You!

I know most catechists appreciate having an aide to assist them, especially when that aide can act as a “co-catechist” of sorts, jumping in from time to time to offer support, insight, and perspective on the lesson being taught. This is especially helpful for catechists who teach younger children whose attention spans can be so short! With that in mind, Loyola Press is happy to provide those of you teaching First Eucharist and First Reconciliation […]

Real Presence in the Eucharist

The subject of the Real Presence in the Eucharist came up during a lunchtime conversation. I am always a bit surprised to hear Catholics question what to me is a central tenet of our faith. I am reminded that unity of faith may be more an ideal than a reality. The question was left unanswered, but caused my reflection on what I really believe, and why, and what difference it makes in my ministry. Some […]

A Different Approach for Letters to the Bishop for Confirmation

During a trip I made last month to Jacksonville, FL, I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with my friend and colleague Sean Williams (to my left) and two wonderful people, Deacon Jerry Turkowski (DRE) and Monina Mulleague (CRE), of San Juan del Rio Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Deacon Jerry and Monina recently adopted the Finding God program for their very sizeable parish and, over lunch, we discussed various aspects of evangelizing catechesis, and we […]

The Student Teaches the Catechist About Reconciliation

I often wonder if I am effective catechist. Too many times, the ninth graders I teach sit with blank stares and respond to questions with disinterested shrugs. I suspect that many of them are simply counting the days until their Confirmation, because they will no longer have to go to faith formation class. I often wonder what will happen to the seeds of faith I have scattered: will they take root or will birds come […]

Going to Mass Is Liberating

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

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 […]

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