Celebrating the Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord often happens after our religious education sessions are over for the school year. However, it can be the perfect final lesson of the year as students depart for the summer. Include the Ascension in your lesson plan for the final session by encouraging students to be disciples over the summer. Just as Jesus left the Twelve with a mission, you can do the same. I Am with […]

Condensed Easter Lesson

The downside of having a late Easter this year is that we only have one full session after returning from Easter break and before our May Crowning closes the year. This means that I have to condense my Easter Season lessons from two or three to one. Here’s my basic plan. I’ll start by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” While this song is more often played during Christmastime, the celebratory “Hallelujahs” make it […]

Drawing the Joy of the Easter Season

With the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter, we transition from a season of penance into a season of joy, and I wanted to help my fourth-grade class think about this transition. I began by asking them to draw a picture of what they did during Lent. This picture did not have to be fancy; it could be a drawing of what they gave up or something they did, such as praying the […]

Celebrate the Joy of Jesus During the Easter Season

The Easter season is a time of wonder and of joy, a time when we don’t want families to ditch church for baseball season and forget about Jesus’ big days! How can catechists help young people and families meet the Risen Jesus in ways that will engage them and deepen their relationship with him during this season? Here are a few thoughts. Extend a personal invitation to families to participate in the Easter Triduum and […]

Easter Is a Season, Not One Day

For many Christians, Lent is a popular, longsuffering road culminated by one Sunday of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. Yet we know that the liturgical season of Easter is, in fact, a 50-day journey. During the Easter season we hear of the excitement of the first Christians, the power of the Holy Spirit as the new Church developed, and the conversion of many to this new faith. Unfortunately, I find too many Catholics are unfamiliar […]

Easter Blessings

As we celebrate this Easter Sunday, I extend my sincerest best wishes and prayers to all who enjoy the privilege of proclaiming the Resurrection of Jesus in the catechetical ministry. I hope you enjoy this special Easter reflection, part of our Arts & Faith series. For the transcript, an activity idea, and a related Ignatian reflection on this video, click here.

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 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

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 […]

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 Francis has called a Church of “missionary disciples.” Jesus gave us a mission to “Go into all the world and […]

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 tell us where he went? And what does it mean that “he is seated at the right hand of the […]

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