Grandparents and Grandchildren Go to Faith Camp

Grandparents can play a unique and important role in family faith formation. The General Directory of Catechesis describes the family as the primary place where catechesis takes place: “In this family catechesis, the role of grandparents is of growing importance. Their wisdom and sense of the religious is often times decisive in creating a true Christian climate.” (236) Pope Francis echoed a similar message in a tweet about grandparents: How important grandparents are for family life, […]

Ice-Cream Evangelization: Reaching Out During the Summer

Summer is a great time for busy families to relax and reconnect, enjoying warm weather and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, it can also be a time when many families take a vacation from faith formation. Our faith-formation programs themselves might be partly to blame: many programs run from September through May with no activity taking place during the summer. As a result, we reinforce the mistaken conception that faith formation is solely a catechetical endeavor that […]

Living the Liturgical Seasons at Home: Summer/Fall Ordinary Time

The liturgical year is 365 days a year, and the season of Ordinary Time is a course of instruction in the Christian life. Ordinary Time after Pentecost and before Advent is a period when we celebrate no particular aspect of Christ, but honor him in the fullness of his mystery. (Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year, 43) We spend time with Jesus and let him be with us and in us as we grow closer […]

File Away for Next Lent: Neighborhood Way of the Cross

I would have shared this with you earlier, but I didn’t hear about it until Lent was over! So, file this one away for next Lent. I recently heard about a parish that did the Stations of the Cross during Lent through their neighborhood, arranging to stop at 14 pre-selected homes where each Station was prayed. I think this is a wonderful idea and a way to get families involved in a traditional Lenten practice. […]

Helping Parents Model Catholicism for Their Children

My friend Steve once related that perhaps the most influential experience of his childhood—in terms of his Catholic faith—was getting out of the bed one night to go to the bathroom and seeing his father on his knees saying his prayers bedside. Steve had no idea that his dad prayed at all, let alone on his knees each and every night. Because children are so strongly influenced by their parents, we need to do all we […]

Encouraging Family Mass Attendance One Family at a Time

Those of us who serve in the ministry of catechesis know the disconnect that exists between religious education and families who do not attend Sunday Mass. How do we get parents who drop off their kids at faith formation classes but do not attend Mass into church on Sunday? We can try gimmicks, requirements, scolding, and guilt, but the only thing that will get families into the pews is conversion. I’d like to share one […]

Helping Families Celebrate Lent

The Lenten devotionals started arriving in my mailbox before Advent was over. We keep a box in the office. On one side it says “Lent/Easter,” on the other, “Advent/ Christmas.” The box fills quickly. Churchy people like me delight in the selection and struggle to make just the right choice for helping families celebrate Lent with this year’s meditation and prayer. We think everyone should be as excited about this season as we are. We […]

Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

How to Include Parents in Faith Formation Through Community-Building Family Nights

How do we involve parents in faith formation? This age-old question seems to be getting harder and harder to answer. We seem to live in a “drag, drive, and drop off” culture when it comes to parental involvement in our faith formation programs. We use phrases like “create a culture of expectation,” “invite, welcome, and include,” and “mandate, require, and coerce” when talking about our efforts to include busy parents. But how do we effectively […]

Advent: Of Elves or Angels?

Advent is a time of expectation and excitement as we prepare for the birth of Christ. Within Advent is the unfolding of beautiful readings that build from one week to another, along with complimentary music, colors, and the rituals surrounding this liminal time. The opening of Advent calendars or the many other creative ways of counting sacred time is amongst my favorite childhood traditions. Keeping pace with sacred time is becoming more and more difficult […]

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