Five Ways to Pray with Jesus During Ordinary Time

September 29, 2016 Joyce Donahue 1

Most catechists can easily help students visualize and pray with particular images of Jesus during the “big seasons” of the liturgical year. During Advent, Jesus is in Mary’s womb; at Christmas, he’s Baby Jesus. During Lent, Jesus is beside us in the desert; at Passiontide (the last two weeks of Lent), he’s the Suffering Servant; and at Easter, he is the Risen Christ. But what is our image of Jesus during Ordinary Time? Finding a […]

Kindness Angels

July 26, 2016 Special Contributor 1

What’s your favorite project to work on with students in your group? We asked this question on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page and received a variety of creative ideas. Today we’re highlighting one lesson called “Kindness Angels.” This lesson is ideal for the Advent season as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf. It can also be used throughout the year for busy families who are looking to engage in a meaningful way. […]

Hallelujah and Peace to Celebrate Easter Season

April 5, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

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 start sessions after Easter by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” It grabs the attention of the young people […]

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

March 31, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

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 into our time (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1168‒1169). Jesus’ Death on the Cross and his Resurrection after three days […]

18 Questions on the Paschal Triduum

March 24, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

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 has put together 18 Questions on the Paschal Triduum, a resource that may help to answer some questions about these […]

The Challenges of Teaching Holy Week

March 23, 2016 Lisa Brown 0

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 happens to be Palm Sunday). I did this because I wanted to make sure I had enough time to prepare […]

Preparing for Holy Week in Junior High

March 22, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

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 them all. They found most without trouble, and I gave hints to help them find the more well-hidden ones. It […]

Teaching Second-Graders the Beauty of Lent

February 24, 2016 Lisa Brown 0

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 language they can understand? The short answer: by acting out Christ’s desert experience in a way that highlights how fasting, […]

Keep the Lent Momentum Going: A Lesson in Spiritual Physics

February 11, 2016 Darcy Osby 0

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 we keep up the momentum for 40 days? Think back to your high-school physics lesson on momentum. An object at […]

Preparing for Ash Wednesday

February 9, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

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 a parish community. Because of the Mass, we don’t have a class session this week to discuss Lent; we had […]

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