Lent 2016

Yes, my friends, it’s that time of the year already! Can you believe that Lent is only a couple of weeks away? (Ash Wednesday is February 10.) We’ve barely had time to take down and store away our Christmas decorations. As always, this season of Lent promises to be full of abundant graces for us and […]

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Lenten AWE: Reaching Out to Young Adults

young adult woman smiling

Research indicates that young adults are highly likely to be present at Ash Wednesday services and to engage in Lenten practices such as abstaining from meat on Fridays and fasting. When I worked in parish young adult ministry we were especially attentive to those young adults who would come to Ash Wednesday services but were […]

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Lesson Plans for Lent—Free Printables

Lesson Plans for Lent

Ash Wednesday 2016 is February 10. Start the season with passion and purpose by using our free lesson plans for Lent. Three complete lesson plans are available—for primary, intermediate, and junior high groups. Children will identify ways that they can act more like Jesus during Lent, explain Lenten practices, such as almsgiving, fasting, and abstinence, […]

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The Mercy Rule: How to Teach the Works of Mercy

baseball team

Are you familiar with the “mercy rule” in sports? The mercy rule states that if one team is ahead by an insurmountable lead, the game ends so as to not drag out the humiliation of the losing team. Since many children play sports, they are familiar with the mercy rule. It can be a great […]

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What Would You Ask the Pope?

Dear Pope Francis

If you could ask Pope Francis one question, what would it be? What would the children you work with ask the Pope? In Dear Pope Francis, the Pope’s first book for children, he personally responds to 30 questions from children around the world. The book is published by Loyola Press, and we’re excited to share […]

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The Wedding Feast at Cana: A Call to Community

Marriage at Cana by Maerten de Vos

Have you ever noticed that many heroes in popular culture are loners? These heroes save the day, but they tend to do it all by themselves. Think of Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wolverine, and for those of us who are a little older, the Lone Ranger. Our heroes tend to be rugged individuals who, even if […]

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Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures Cycle C Video Options

Facilitating Small Faith Groups for Lent

Last year I offered handouts for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures, to be used in parish small faith groups. Year C materials for 2016 are now available. This year, I selected some options for online videos for further reflection on each week’s theme. Always remember to preview videos before showing to your group, to determine […]

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Ministry Burnout vs. Ministry on Fire

desk with paperwork

Several years ago, I read an article that truly hit the nail on the head regarding the ministry of directors of religious education. The article was titled, “Unsung (and Underpaid) Heroes of the Parish,” and included this paragraph: The U.S. bishops believe that the “single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the […]

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Bibles at Home

mother reading Bible with daughter

Every year part of our third-grade curriculum includes teaching children how to look up a verse in the Bible. In the past I’ve used fortune cookies with a verse from Scripture as the “fortune” to make the learning fun. We started out this class by handing out a Bible to each child and showing them […]

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Understanding Ordinary Time

Grand Canyon

Today we once again find ourselves in Ordinary Time—at least for a month or so until Lent begins on February 10. Ordinary Time gets a bad rap, as though it is time that is easily ignored because it is so “ordinary.” First of all, we call it “ordinary” because it is “counted time,” as in […]

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