“Alternative Facts” and the Eighth Commandment

Recently, we have been hearing references in the news to the phrase “alternative facts” when folks are debating the veracity of the reporting on an event. The truth is, while there can be different perspectives and different interpretations of the same event, there is an objective element to the story that demands accuracy. For catechists, this issue provides us with an opportunity to talk about the Eighth Commandment, which is ultimately about communicating truth. I’ve always […]

How About a Year of Truth?

Now that the Year of Mercy is over, some catechists have been asking what “year” we will be celebrating in 2017. The truth is, not every year has a theme such as 2016’s Year of Mercy. This was a special Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope Francis. The notion of proclaiming a theme for each year was popularized by St. Pope John Paul II right before the celebration of the Millennium, when he declared three years […]

Ten Commandments Games

My second-grade students have very busy bodies. I have struggled to accomplish anything in class, and I have been growing frustrated—I waste too much time trying to get their attention. After a few weeks together, I am realizing that I should find ways to focus their excitement and energy rather than stifle it. I am going to try a new approach: we will play more learning games and do fewer crafts, and I will incorporate lots […]

The Mercy Rule: How to Teach the Works of Mercy

Are you familiar with the “mercy rule” in sports? The mercy rule states that if one team is ahead by an insurmountable lead, the game ends so as to not drag out the humiliation of the losing team. Since many children play sports, they are familiar with the mercy rule. It can be a great starting place for teaching mercy and the fact that we are called to show God’s compassion to everyone, even our […]

Works of Mercy Prayers and Activities—Free Resource Packet

Mercy is a virtue that influences a person’s compassion for another. Mercy inspires the will to ease another’s misfortunes or suffering in either body or soul. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are charitable actions that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need. However, the works of mercy are more than gestures or obligations. To gain merit in heaven, the actions must be performed as acts of love for our neighbor as […]

How Are Your Lessons Calling People to Repent?

This Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:14–20) invites us to hear the first words out of Jesus’ mouth as he begins his public ministry: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” One of the reasons that we find this passage difficult to take to heart is because of a lack of understanding of what it means to repent. Here’s how I understand it. Among the many […]

State Farm Shouldn’t Be the Only Good Neighbor

For years, State Farm Insurance has promoted itself as being a “good neighbor” with its popular jingle, “like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRS4shfH1Pw The gospel for this Sunday challenges us to be a good neighbor but adds a definition for what it means to be a good neighbor: it means to be one who shows mercy. Being a good neighbor means more than just maintaining a clean lawn and keeping the noise […]

The Conversion Process – “Stirrings”

The New Evangelization is a renewed invitation to conversion. Unfortunately, conversion is a word that is often misunderstood. We tend to think of conversion as either the changing from one Christian denomiation to another or a dramatic bolt of lightning in which we hear God’s voice loud and clear, calling us to a major change in life.  As a result of these rather limited understandings, most people don’t feel that they have experienced, are, experiencing, or […]

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