Evaluating Your Catholic School/Religious Education Liturgies

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 […]

Sacraments of Initiation Learning Stations Used with Seventh Graders

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 […]

Four Tips for Making Connections Between the Mass and Class Discussions

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 […]

Leading Others to an Experience of the Real Presence

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 […]

Sacraments of Initiation Learning Stations—Free Lesson Plan

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 […]

A Celebration for All: First Holy Communion and the Parish

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 […]

Embracing the Change of the Sacraments in Restored Order

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 […]

It’s All About Jesus: Children and the Mass

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 […]

Honesty and the Gift of Reconciliation

Among my group of seventh graders, I have several who are preparing to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist this year. Because of this, I spent more time in a recent session on Reconciliation talking about the steps of receiving the sacrament than I otherwise would. And that led to a surprising […]

Apologies and Forgiveness

We were created for love, and we naturally seek forgiveness. This is one reason children naturally take to lessons on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In their young lives, the kids in my third-grade class have made mistakes and gotten in trouble, all the while being continuously loved and constantly forgiven by a parent. In our […]