Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 5: An Attitude of Faith and Hope

This is the fifth and final article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. In his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis cautions Catholics of becoming “sourpusses” (EG 85). Pessimism and defeatism are not Catholic attitudes. We are people of Easter joy because of our confidence in the Resurrection. Our attitudes are rooted in our identity, so as we help […]

Discussion Questions for Under the Influence of Jesus!

I am very excited to share this news with you: discussion questions for my book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ, ARE NOW AVAILABLE! Thanks to my good friend and co-worker, Carrie Freyer, and to the Marketing Department at Loyola Press for designing this resource and making it available for folks! These discussion questions make it possible for small faith groups and book discussion groups to spend some time reflecting […]

What’s Your New Year’s Catechetical Resolution?

Happy New Year everyone!!! I thought it would be fun for us to make some catechetical New Year’s resolutions as we begin 2014! Mine is to incorporate more Catholic Social Teaching into my lessons. What’s yours? Here are some suggestions: devote more attention to lesson planning improve at handling discipline deepen my own knowledge of the Catholic faith incorporate more prayer into my sessions learn how to lead guided reflections use more technology in the […]

Session 11 (Dec. 3, 2013) – God Leads His People from Slavery in Egypt to Freedom

Here is my plan for this evening’s session. BIG IDEA: God Leads His People from Slavery in Egypt to Freedom PRELIMINARY (10 mins) Begin with opening procession to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Aaron Shust). Bell ringer = Maddie Opening prayer ritual (final collection for Catholic Relief Services – Philippines) Instead of sharing petitions, sit quietly and listen again to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, reflecting on how/where we need God to come into our […]

Stories of Abraham and Jacob: Around the “Campfire” (While Roasting Marshmallows!)

This evening’s session is all about storytelling! First, we need to finish our work on the stories of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac from last week but then we will segue immediately into the great stories of that rascal, Jacob! To set the mood for the storytelling, I’m going to build a pretend campfire! Take a look: (For directions on how to make the pretend campfire and marshmallows, visit http://www.funinthemaking.net/2009/02/17/pretend-to-campout-how-to-make-a-pretend-campfire-and-paper-marshmallows/). Here’s the overall plan: BIG IDEA: […]

VIRTUAL Pilgrimage to Italy, Day 5: Getting Down to Business

Up to this point, our VIRTUAL Pilgrimage to Italy has been filled with lots of sight-seeing which has been wonderful. Today, things get a little different as we jump headlong into the International Conference for Catechesis, the centerpiece of this whole experience to mark the Year of Faith with an emphasis on catechesis. Here’s our itinerary for the day (be sure to bring a notebook and pen with you…looks like lots of opportunities to take […]

Catechetical Sunday (9/15/13) – Open the Door of Faith

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 15, 2013, and will focus on the theme “Open the Door of Faith.”  As always, and appropriately so, catechists will be called forth in their parishes to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday […]

Nik Wallenda, the Grand Canyon, and Faith in Jesus Christ

This is strictly an opinion piece and therefore open to debate which I invite, but as always, be charitable in your comments to me, to one another, and to Nik Wallenda! So last night, daredevil Nik Wallenda made his historic walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope with no tether and no safety net, gluing countless numbers of viewers like myself to the live broadcast. In addition to the drama of the stunt itself, […]

Artistic Beauty Can Lead the Human Heart to God

In a general audience in August, 2011, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of art in the life of faith, saying that artistic beauty can lead the human heart to God. “Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God,” said the Holy Father. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, we are all drawn to beauty. In fact, […]

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