Epiphany: God Does All the Work

January 6, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany—that day when Jesus Christ was revealed to the world as represented by the Magi. In the Eastern Tradition, the epiphany or theophany (revelation) to the Magi is seen as one of four “manifestations” of Jesus to the world: the Nativity, the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus, and the Wedding Feast at Cana. In all four of these manifestations, Jesus’ identity and mission are revealed to a […]

Leading Others to Epiphany

December 29, 2016 Joe Paprocki 3

Soon we will celebrate the wonderful Feast of the Epiphany, when Jesus is revealed to all the nations as the Son of God. This feast contains so many messages and images that are apropos for catechists. Here are a few. The Magi do not travel alone. Although they are from different locations, the Magi come together to seek the king. We catechists recognize the wisdom in this. We do not travel alone. We are part of a […]

Five Christmas Activities for Your Class

December 28, 2016 Special Contributor 0

Although many of us take a break from classes during Christmastime, if you’re looking for some activities to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany, here are a few ideas. These are courtesy the Finding God Activity Finder. Hope for the World Young people will reflect on the human condition and how Jesus’ birth brought hope to the world. Shepherds with Candy-Cane Crooks Children will be able to identify the shepherds as the first people to welcome Jesus. […]

The Vocabulary of Christmas

December 27, 2016 Denise Gorss 2

In one of my first years of teaching, one of the parish priests visited my fourth-grade classroom in December. He asked how many of the children’s families had displayed a crèche as part of their holiday decorations. None of the children said yes, which disappointed the priest, who left to visit another class. As soon as he left, one of the children asked me, “What’s a crèche?” I asked if others had the same question […]

Christmas and Catholic Identity

December 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

The celebration of Christmas is unabashedly Catholic. I describe Catholic identity as being characterized by five traits: a sense of sacramentality a commitment to community a deep respect for the dignity of human life, leading to a commitment to social justice a reverence for tradition a disposition to faith and hope and not despair These five characteristics are integral to the Christmas story, and Christmas can help us to strengthen our Catholic identity. I offer […]

The Reason for the Season: Teaching a Spirituality of Christmastide

December 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

It can be difficult to see Christ in the way most families celebrate Christmas. Weeks of seeing Santa everywhere, festive decorations, and parties are followed by just a single day of feasting and opening presents. Christmas seems to end as soon as it started. Christmas trees and Christmas music disappear as people rush to post-holiday sales. Even though God became one of us and shared completely in our humanity, we often act as if that […]

When Christ Comes, Let Us Welcome Him

December 17, 2015 Julianne Stanz 3

The Christmas season is one of immense opportunity for us to re-engage those who come to church only sporadically. During this time, we should be especially effusive and warm in our welcoming efforts. Unfortunately, hospitality has become synonymous with coffee and donuts after Mass in many parishes. We seem to have relegated welcoming to a particular committee such as the Stewardship Committee or the Hospitality Committee. Not only has this mindset absolved our parishioners of […]

When Simpler Is Better

December 9, 2015 Lisa Brown 0

As a non-creative person by nature, I spend a good deal of time trying to think of ways to make my second-grade class as captivating as possible. As catechists we know that the subject we teach is the most exciting, life-giving topic ever to be shared. But finding new ways to engage our students is easier for some than others, especially for non-creative people like me. I always felt that I’d need to ramp up […]

Waiting and Preparation: Teaching Advent and Christmas

December 3, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

What should Catholic children know about Advent? They should know that it is a season of waiting and preparation, not fulfillment. In contrast to the frenzied Christmas shopping season, the patient waiting that characterizes Advent has its own particular beauty. More than that, it helps us understand something important about Jesus: he is the awaited Savior of the people of God. Use the rich symbols and stories of the season to help children experience Advent […]

Glory to God!

December 24, 2014 Joe Paprocki 0

In his Urbi et Orbi message for Christmas 2013, Pope Francis said: I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people. I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man […]

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