Eight Ways to Teach Ascension and Pentecost

Ascension and Pentecost—the two great feasts that signal the end of the Easter season—often occur at the end of the school year. They may even occur after religious education programs have ended. We can easily forget about them. But understanding Ascension and Pentecost is essential if our young people are going to grow into what Pope […]

Three Questions at the Heart of the Celebration of the Ascension

Next week, we will be celebrating the Ascension of the Lord, a feast that often seems to lack the “punch” of other aspects of the Paschal Mystery. We tend to “get” the Incarnation, the suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. But why is it important to know that Jesus ascended into heaven? Does this feast simply […]

Ascension to Pentecost: The First Novena—Free Poster and Booklet

During the Easter season, we look at the Gospel stories of Jesus Christ’s appearances after the Resurrection. At the end of 40 days, Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to send a helper to the disciples as they took on their mission of spreading the Good News. That helper—the Holy Spirit—came 10 days later on the […]

Five Tips for Celebrating the Easter Season in Your Classroom

The DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, presents the legendary figures of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman as the protectors of the innocence, hopes, and dreams of children. In one important scene, the Easter Bunny explains to Jack Frost, the newest guardian, the meaning of Easter. “Easter is new […]

How to Learn the Paschal Greeting with a Tech Twist

I love seeing my students after our Easter break. They look fresh-faced with that “I-just-got-a-haircut” look, they seem taller, and they are sporting a new pair of shoes! I greet them with with colorful Easter decorations, which include my table-top sized Easter tree. Each Easter I love teaching my students about the Orthodox paschal greeting. […]

Easter Blessings

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ, Alleluia! He is indeed risen! As we begin this glorious 50-day season of Easter—a time in which we celebrate fully the Lord’s triumph over sin and death—may our hearts be filled with new life and may our spirits soar! To help us begin this celebration, I am […]

Good Friday Points to Easter

My friend, Todd Williamson (Director of the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago), likes to remind people that we should not approach Good Friday as though we do not know the outcome—namely, the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter! While Good Friday is a solemn and sober celebration, we know full well that it is leading […]

Celebrating the Light of Christ and the Easter Vigil

Recently, I received an e-mail from a fourth-grade catechist, Gail, who hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In it, she shared a very nice idea for making Paschal candles in preparation for the Easter Vigil. Here is how she goes about doing this easy project. Hello Joe, Celebrating the Light of Christ and the Easter Vigil: […]

Let the Triduum Teach

Any liturgist will tell you that the best way to teach about liturgy is to celebrate richly and robustly. The Triduum, which is only weeks away, is without a doubt the most robust sacramental celebration in our life of worship and, as such, provides an extraordinary opportunity for quality adult faith formation simply by inviting people […]

Preparing for Pentecost

Pentecost Sunday is less than a month away! As we look forward to this wonderful feast, I thought I would share with you an excerpt from my book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ, that explores what happened on that first Christian Pentecost! As recorded in Acts of the Apostles, […]