New DVDs for Sacramental Preparation: God’s Gift

July 11, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

I am very excited to tell you about a new DVD series for sacramental preparation—a project that I was privileged to be intimately involved with from writing scripts to hosting segments! This new video series enhances instruction and parent involvement in sacramental preparation for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. As part of the God’s Gift 2016 program, these DVDs are to be used in retreats, parent meetings, faith-formation sessions and more. There are five DVDs […]

Stealth Catechesis: Teaching without Teaching

July 5, 2016 Bob Burnham 6

One evening, my 10th-grade Confirmation class revolted. “We do not want to use the book anymore,” said their leader. “Why not?” I asked. “We’ve been in school all day, and we’re tired of sitting around listening and reading. This is supposed to be church, not school.” I could see her point. After all, I had been working all day, had gone straight to the church from the train, and I had yet to eat dinner. […]

Evaluating Your Catholic School/Religious Education Liturgies

May 27, 2016 Joe Paprocki 4

Recently, I was invited by a pastor to observe his parish’s weekly Catholic school liturgy, which leads me to this post suggesting that it would be a good idea for every Catholic school and parish religious education program to evaluate the liturgical experiences they invite their young people to participate in. Before I go any further, let me ask you, what is your overriding concern about your school’s or religious education program’s liturgies? I’d love […]

Sacraments of Initiation Learning Stations Used with Seventh Graders

May 24, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

In the next-to-last session for the year, I used the Sacraments of Initiation learning stations with my group of seventh graders. As the download page for the learning stations explains, the activity gets young people “out of their seats and moving around doing simple tasks to learn about the symbols and signs used in each Sacrament of Initiation.” Overall it was a successful lesson. I was surprised by how quiet the young people were as […]

Four Tips for Making Connections Between the Mass and Class Discussions

April 26, 2016 Denise Gorss 2

One of the boys in my group asked, “Do you go to church?” We were discussing the Mass, and he seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that, yes, I do go to church for weekly Mass. He admits he only goes to church occasionally, and he, like many kids in our programs, is more the norm than the exception. I don’t have the secret formula for how we change this trend and encourage those […]

Leading Others to an Experience of the Real Presence

April 13, 2016 Special Contributor 1

Many years ago I was challenged by a high school student who accused me of telling her what to believe. We were discussing Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians regarding receiving the Eucharist unworthily (1 Corinthians 11) and whether or not Catholics must believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion in order to “receive worthily.” The idea that she must believe this to be true in order to receive the Eucharist bothered […]

Sacraments of Initiation Learning Stations—Free Lesson Plan

March 16, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

We encounter Jesus through the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. In this lesson, young people will complete activities at 12 different learning stations—each sacrament has four stations—that will deepen their understanding of the Sacraments of Initiation. The free lesson plan packet includes instructions for how to set up learning stations that get children out of their seats and moving around doing simple tasks to learn about the symbols and signs used in each Sacrament […]

A Celebration for All: First Holy Communion and the Parish

March 10, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 2

Last year was my first solo direction of the liturgy for children receiving First Holy Communion. At my parish, this Mass is not part of our regular weekend liturgies. This gave me the ability to ensure that every child had a role. Although we celebrated two beautiful liturgies, I felt that they were lacking a critical element: the involvement of the entire parish. This year I have been trying to reinforce that our celebration of First […]

Embracing the Change of the Sacraments in Restored Order

March 9, 2016 Eric Gurash 1

Parishes in our diocese were asked some years ago to take on the task of introducing our families to the Restored Order of the Sacraments. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is used in regards to a shift in the preparation and celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation from the order of Baptism followed by First Eucharist at about age seven or eight, followed a few years later by Confirmation (between the ages of 12 […]

It’s All About Jesus: Children and the Mass

March 1, 2016 Lisa Jones 1

This week’s lesson for my third-grade faith formation class was about the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Most of my students celebrated their First Holy Communion less than a year ago, so the previous lessons on the Eucharist are relatively fresh in their minds. They seemed confident in knowing that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and they all understood the mechanics of receiving communion. As we got deeper into the lesson, […]

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