Movie Time

movies - film equipment

When planning my weekly faith formation lessons, I tend to look for certain types of activities that I’m comfortable teaching. In addition to the textbook, I usually include worksheets (crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.), classroom games, and journal writing. Every once in a while we will do a craft or physical activity, but with a […]

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St. Patrick’s Day for Grown Ups

St. Patrick stained glass window

At the risk of alienating some folks, I have to admit that I have never much gotten into the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day as it is celebrated in the United States. Perhaps it’s because I’m Polish and the day really celebrates all things Irish, not the saint per se. But that’s not even the […]

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Celebrating the Light of Christ and the Easter Vigil

Paschal candles

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: […]

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Teaching in a Culture Not My Own

relief image of classroom diversity

This year I am teaching the second-year of Confirmation prep at my parish. My students are working-class Hispanic, while I am of white European descent from a typical American middle-class family. In this room, I am the stranger in a strange land. These young people are first- and second-generation immigrants, and they bring cultural diversity […]

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Teaching the Great Commandment

mezuzah, IHS plate, and children's project

This school year, our third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students all received their own copy of a children’s Bible. This has been a great experience. In the past, each classroom only had a few copies of the Bible, and the students had to share them. But with their own Bibles, students have ready access to look […]

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Seven Discoveries I’ve Made in Reevaluating the Year’s Plan

planning notes

About this time of year, we catechists might be feeling great about how the year is going or frustrated that things aren’t going as expected—probably a mix of both. We find ourselves in the middle of Lent, wondering whether our efforts will bear fruit. This is an excellent time to pause and reevaluate the year’s […]

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Let the Triduum Teach

Easter Vigil reading

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 […]

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A “Flipped-Classroom” Approach to Religious Education

gymnastics flip

One of the challenges we face as catechists is never having enough time in our classes. We want to do so many creative and meaningful things, especially related to prayer experiences, but we have barely enough time to cover the basic doctrine. One approach that is gaining traction in faith formation is the “flipped-classroom.” This concept […]

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Forging Pathways to Christ: The New Evangelization and Families

mother and daughter reading together

Talk of the New Evangelization is sweeping parishes and dioceses around the globe. We know it is necessary, but we can be confused about what it actually is, what it is not, and how to do it. There is often some confusion between evangelization and catechesis. Most people seem to respond to the “how” of […]

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A Culture of Service

May Day Basket

Joking with my students one day I said, “Jesus didn’t gather his apostles around him and say, ‘Lets do a service project!’” Jesus gave us an example of how to serve one another, and I like to encourage a culture of service in my classroom. Teaching service as a way of life can be challenging […]

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