Pope Francis and a Change of Tone and Balance

Recently, my stereo just didn’t sound right: I was playing good music but it wasn’t coming across well. Then I realized some of the settings needed adjustment: the tone and balance were off kilter. Once they were re-set, the sound came through beautifully. In much the same way, Pope Francis’ recent remarkable interview is not calling for a change in doctrine but for a change in tone and balance. When the Holy Father said, ““We […]

The Engaged Catechist: Forming Catechist Enrichment Groups

In his book, Growing An Engaged Church (Gallup Press), Albert L. Winseman explains that, without true engagement, volunteers burn out quickly. He identifies 3 ways to make an immediate impact on the level of engagement of church members: clarify the expectations of membership help your members discover what they do best create small groups I think these can (and should) be easily applied to catechists, who, without engagement, do indeed burnout quickly. Those catechists who […]

Sacramental Readiness and Initiation – Developing New Habits

We’ve had a good conversation here about sacramental readiness over the last few days thanks to a plea for help from “Monica.” Thank you to all who have so generously shared their wisdom. Our discussion got me thinking about the notion of readiness and the fact that all of our catechesis takes its cue from the process of Initiation which is an apprenticeship into a way of life. Assessment of knowledge of the faith is […]

Catholic Identity? It’s in the W.A.T.E.R.

This coming Monday (April 29) is my last evening with the 6th graders. Following the closing Mass in church, I should have about 20 minutes left with them and I plan to use that time to send the kids off with something concrete about how to live out their faith as a Catholic. First, I’m going to show them some images of Chinese artist Liu Bolin who is known for his “Invisible Man” images in which […]

Papal Transition – It’s More About Continuity Than Change

The media’s emphasis during this papal transition is all about change – as if one political party is about to replace the current political party and bring in a whole new agenda. While it is true that the Church is always in need of reform, for Catholics, the transition is more about continuity than it is about change. The white smoke and the words “Habemus Papam” are reassuring words that the Chair of St. Peter […]

Prayers for Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on the Announcement of his Resignation

Just a few months ago, I read an interesting book titled The Pope Who Quit that tells the fascinating tale of the election and subsequent resignation of Pope Celestine V in 1294, the only pope to ever abdicate the Chair of St. Peter. That story provides a context for us to understand just how historic is the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Given the significance of this moment, it is evident that our […]

Why the Title “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?”

I had to chuckle at the follow-up email I received from Dr. Thomas Groome, asking why I chose to title my post, “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?” I can understand why he might take exception to that title since he is still very much on the scene! The truth is, the title was intended to be provocative (you know how we bloggers are always trying to capture attention!) The question, “where have you gone, […]

A Year of Faith…So What?

OK, that title above might be a little provocative. I am certainly not approaching the Year of Faith with a dismissive attitude. However, the “so what?” question is always key: we need to be able to explain what it is that we do as Catholics and why. So, a Year of Faith…faith in WHAT? Faith in whom? Simply put, our faith is not in a set of ideas or in an institution. It is in […]

Opening Mass Tonight; Thinking Ahead to Next Week

Tonight, our religious education program celebrates our Opening Mass in the Church which means that I will primarily be supervising my 6th graders as they gather for Mass and then throughout the Mass. This afternoon, I plan to go over their names so that this evening I will be able to greet them and talk to them by name. As we wait for Mass to begin, I thought I would do some Q & A […]

Off to a Good Start!

I was very pleased with my first session of 6th grade religious education last evening! 🙂 Here’s a rundown of highlights and lowlights: Since I teach in the later session and someone is in the room before me, I don’t have much time to set up (15 mins…if I’m lucky) so it is a real whirlwind trying to get things ready. I have this notion that the kids will walk into this very serene and prayerful […]

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