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 day of Pentecost. Between the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and Mary waited in prayer […]

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 beginnings, new life,” he says. “Easter’s about hope.” And really, it is. Our goal during the Easter season is to […]

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. You say, “Christ is Risen!” Your neighbor replies, “Indeed he is Risen!” What a great way to greet your neighbors […]

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 happy to offer you this brief video reflection on the Gospel story of Peter and John running to the tomb […]

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 us to the joy of the Resurrection and Christ’s triumph over sin and death. With that in mind, I thought […]

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: I have used Pringles (potato chips) cans for my students to make their own version of the Paschal candle. I used […]

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 to play a role in the celebrations. Here are some ideas for how to make that happen. Holy Thursday Evening […]

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, chapter 2, the apostles proclaimed the Gospel for the first time on that day. When all was said and done, […]

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

I know little about the Greek language, however, when I was in my Doctor of Ministry program, one of my classmates was an Orthodox priest who taught me that their Easter greeting is “Christos Anesti!” which means, “Christ is Risen!” to which the response is “Alithos Anesti!” or “Indeed, He is Risen!” or “Truly, He is Risen!” And so, this Easter, instead of simply wishing you a “Happy Easter,” my greeting to you is, Christ […]

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