Celebrating the Canonization of Mother Teresa

In just a few short weeks (September 4, 2016), we will be celebrating the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta—a saint who personifies and embodies the humble mercy we are focusing on during this Year of Mercy. This celebration is so timely and fitting as we find ourselves in the midst of a long and frustrating presidential campaign characterized by bluster, braggadocio, and bombast (How’s that for alliteration?!). Mother Teresa—all four feet and eleven inches […]

Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve: Celebrating the Life of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was officially recognized as a saint on September 4, 2016. Her life’s work with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and throughout the world inspires those of us who hear Christ’s call to spread the love of God to each person we meet. Mother Teresa’s canonization is a great time to celebrate her life with students in our faith-formation classes, especially in our continued celebration of the Year of Mercy. Mother Teresa embraced […]

Saint Anthony of Padua

I was sitting in a meeting at my parish, and in the corner of the room sat a life-size statue of Saint Anthony of Padua. Several years ago, the statue was moved up from a basement storage room, and there he now sits, with the baby Jesus in his arms. Our image of St. Anthony is a bit chipped and the paint has faded, but it’s always nice to know that he’s around. Maybe some […]

Mary, Mother of Catechists

The Blessed Virgin Mary is so many things to us: she is our mother, our help, our comfort, and our joy. She is our model disciple; she is the “untier of knots.” She is also our model catechist. Here are three ways we can be more like Mary as catechists. 1. Say “Yes.” When I invite parishioners to prayerfully consider becoming a catechist, their first response is often “Who, me?” followed by expressions of doubt, […]

Four Ways to Teach About the Saints

I once had a student ask why we spent so much time talking about the saints; did he not attend faith formation classes to learn about Jesus? I told him that this is precisely why we learned about the saints: “our communion with the saints joins us to Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 957). The saints reveal much to us about God, and they give us an example of how to live as followers […]

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Catholic Way

Having grown up in Ireland for the first 23 years of my life, I have a simple request: Stop the St. Patrick’s Day madness! For the love of St. Patrick, it is not Paddy’s Day (or Patty’s Day, which is even worse), but Saint Patrick’s Day. Some of the traditions that I see today associated with St. Patrick’s Day are so devoid of meaning to be almost comical. In Ireland, we do not celebrate St. […]

Who Ya Gonna Call?

We Catholics mark the first day of the secular calendar by celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. As Bishop Robert Barron often reminds us, Marian feast days are ultimately about Jesus. Today, of course, is no exception. While we celebrate the great honor bestowed upon Mary as the Mother of God, the ultimate message of this day is that her child—Jesus—is God. Not just like God, but “God from God, Light from […]

Say Yes to God

How can you convey a love of and devotion to Mary with all the necessary background knowledge in just one class period? The simple answer is that you can’t. You have to select the greatest message you want the class to absorb, focus on it for the class, and then add more about Mother Mary throughout the year as you teach other lessons. Just as you invite her to be with you daily, you must […]

All Saints/All Souls PowerPoint Presentations and More

Several years ago, I made available a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of All Saints and All Souls Day. Don’t forget to take advantage of this free download, which is also available in Spanish! This presentation includes a script (in Note Pages view) to assist you in effectively leading your students to a deeper understanding of these feasts. To download the All Saints and All Souls slideshow from authorSTREAM, click on the link or the image below. […]

Celebrating the Saints: Four Ways to Be a Catholic Superhero

As a child I always thought of the saints as Catholic superheroes. While they may have started out as normal people like you and me, I imagined that they received their super powers of holiness after being bitten by a radioactive, grace-infused spider or by falling into a chemical pit of sacred ooze. The fact is, however, that we have all received super powers of holiness through our Baptism! Baptism transforms us from ordinary people […]

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