Three Ways to Teach the Creed to Younger Children

January 5, 2017 Darcy Osby 0

I was teaching a class of second graders the Nicene Creed when I started reciting it phrase by phrase. I asked them to repeat the lines after me. A group of children who attended Mass regularly realized they knew what came next and excitedly continued on without waiting for my prompts. I let them go, curious to see how far they would get. They spoke the words very quickly; whenever they paused or thought about […]

Prayer That “Fits” Current Science

December 26, 2016 Joe Paprocki 4

In late November my daughter got married, and it was a wonderful experience. In the days leading up to the wedding, my wife was fervently praying for good weather. For several weeks before the wedding date, Chicago experienced unseasonal warmth and lots of sunshine. Forecasters, however, warned that “big changes” were coming, and the target date for those big changes turned out to be our daughter’s wedding day. Needless to say, my wife was not […]

Why Do We Pray?

December 20, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

Have you ever asked kids why they pray? We spend a lot of time teaching children to say their prayers, teaching them about different ways to pray, and even spend time teaching them to write their own prayers, but we don’t often talk that much about why we pray. In class this week we began by reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of […]

Drafting Prayers of Intercession

November 29, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

By the time my students hit my classroom in the fourth grade, most of them know basic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father. Most have also learned that there are different types of prayers: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. This week I decided to delve a little deeper into prayers of intercession, because I felt it tied in nicely to our lesson […]

J.O.Y. in the Classroom: How to Teach Children to Cultivate a Joyful Life

November 16, 2016 Julianne Stanz 2

Cultivating and sustaining joy in the spiritual life has received quite a bit of attention in recent years. Pope Francis has made joy a central part of his message, as we see in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. The Holy Father reminds us over and over again that the Christian life is characterized first and foremost by joy: Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on […]

Creative Ways to Pray the Rosary

October 6, 2016 Darcy Osby 1

Teaching children to pray the Rosary does not have to be monotonous and painful. Since every child interacts with the world around him or her differently, Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences can help catechists make praying the Rosary a positive experience. Here are some creative ways to engage the eight “signs” of intelligence proposed by Gardner. Try praying the Rosary using a different technique each month, or offer several choices for the class as […]

Simple Tips for Leading a Simple Prayer

August 17, 2016 Joe Paprocki 1

While it is true that we can pray simply and spontaneously, at more formal gatherings, our prayer is to resemble how we pray at Mass. In other words, the prayer is meant to be liturgical, which means that it should have a basic structure. This means including parts for the assembly, including Scripture, and including elements of sign, symbol, and ritual. Many of us have never been taught how to prepare and lead a simple […]

Celebrating Catechetical Sunday: How Do You Pray the Faith?

July 20, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

How do you pray? What is your favorite form of prayer? When was the last time you thought about your personal prayer life and the way you pray in the classroom? The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, which falls on September 18, is “Prayer: The Faith Prayed.” The USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis offers resources for catechists, adults, and families to explore what prayer is, how to pray, how to prepare for prayer, […]

Starting Your Meeting with Prayer

March 3, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the final article in a series about leading prayer. If you have read the previous installments of this series on leading prayer, you have prepared or practiced strategies for leading group prayer at a gathering or meeting: Setting the Stage: Creating the Space for Prayer (When we pray in a space other than church, it is essential to include symbols, sacramentals, images, and more.) Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer (Prayer is part […]

The Leader of Prayer: Five Skills for Lay Presiders

January 7, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the fourth article in a series about leading prayer. Have you ever noticed that some priests are really good at presiding over the Mass? When they get everything right, it simply feels good. When done well, the priest “disappears” and he presents himself in persona Christi: acting in the person of Christ, he unites the offerings and prayers of the people to Christ. A good presider is confident, clear, and “leans in” to […]

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