Hallelujah and Peace to Celebrate Easter Season

Because our faith formation program takes time off for Holy Week and Easter Week, the Second Week of Easter is the first time we meet after the Church has celebrated the Resurrection and the Alleluia has returned to Mass. I like to make a point of that for the young people in my group and […]

Four Ways to Help Children Understand Easter, the Feast of Feasts

Easter is central to Christian faith. We are, as St. Augustine pointed out, an Easter people. How do we help students identify themselves as Easter people and claim Alleluia! as their song? First, make sure they know the story of Easter. Easter is the “Feast of feasts,” the moment when the Kingdom of God enters […]

18 Questions on the Paschal Triduum

Today, we enter into the most solemn three days of our liturgical year: the Triduum. For many, these three days may seem a bit confusing. We celebrate with profound and reverent rituals that are only seen, felt, and experienced at this time of the year. To help with our understanding of the Triduum, the USCCB […]

The Challenges of Teaching Holy Week

Teaching Holy Week to second graders is a bit like herding cats: daunting, if not impossible, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I’ve made many mistakes when teaching Holy Week. In the past, I’ve attempted to cram the principles of the Triduum and Easter on the last Sunday of class before Easter break (which […]

Preparing for Holy Week in Junior High

In our last session before Holy Week, I like to walk through the Passion story with my group. Last year I tried starting with Joe Paprocki’s Bible story treasure hunt. I hid pictures of symbols related to the events of the Passion around the room and gave the young people a few minutes to find […]

Teaching Second-Graders the Beauty of Lent

The beauty of Lent offers a time for the Church to relive salvation history. By practicing the penitential disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, many adults savor this transformative season. But how does an untrained teacher who meets only briefly with her wiggly second-grade faith formation class communicate the beauty and relevancy of Lent in […]

Keep the Lent Momentum Going: A Lesson in Spiritual Physics

If you are like me, on Ash Wednesday you make about 20 Lenten promises: I’m going to give up sweets, pray evening prayer every day, go to weekday Mass twice a week, give a weekly donation to a charity, etc. These promises usually last until the following Friday, and then it all falls apart. How do […]

Preparing for Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so we’ll take all the children in the religious education program to church for Mass. It’s the same Mass the full parish is invited to, and it’s usually crowded. By taking the children to this Mass, we emphasize that not only is Ash Wednesday something special, but that we are part of […]

Getting Ready for Ash Wednesday

Realizing that over the next few days, many of you will be preparing people for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, I thought I would remind you of some resources that might be of assistance to you. Ashes (blog post) What’s That on Your Forehead? (my popular Ash Wednesday post) Lent FAQ with Joe […]

More than a Sacrifice: Making Lent Count

“So, what are you giving up for Lent?” This is a common question among Catholics, young and old alike. But Lent is about more than giving something up. Through the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent prepares us for Easter. Yet when young people focus on what they give up for Lent, this season […]