A Catechist Aide Just For You!

I know most catechists appreciate having an aide to assist them, especially when that aide can act as a “co-catechist” of sorts, jumping in from time to time to offer support, insight, and perspective on the lesson being taught. This is especially helpful for catechists who teach younger children whose attention spans can be so short! With that in mind, Loyola Press is happy to provide those of you teaching First Eucharist and First Reconciliation […]

Giving Something Besides Money for First Communion

I’ve posted about this previously: when it comes to giving a child a gift to commemorate his or her reception of First Holy Communion, I propose that we do better than just putting money in a card! Of course, children are conditioned today to equate receiving money with the highest expression of generosity, and I realize that, by offering them some other gift, they may come to the conclusion that such a giver is “cheap.” Perhaps […]

The Parent Panel for Parent Meetings

A few years ago, I posted about an approach I’ve been taking for parent sacramental prep meetings, particularly First Eucharist. Basically, I’ve been asking the catechetical leader to recruit four or five parents from the previous year’s First Eucharist class to form a panel that I can interview about their experience of bringing their children to the sacraments. I have had nothing but great success with this format as these parents eagerly give witness to […]

Seeing the Wonder

Kathy MacKenzie has been involved in youth faith formation for the past 12 years, most recently as Director of Religious Education at St. Timothy Parish in Norwood, MA. We asked her to tell us about a favorite moment in the faith-formation year. Any moment at which I see the bright light of understanding dawning on young faces, an expression of wonder and awe at the beauty that is God’s grace, is an instant of pure […]

A Celebration for All: First Holy Communion and the Parish

Last year was my first solo direction of the liturgy for children receiving First Holy Communion. At my parish, this Mass is not part of our regular weekend liturgies. This gave me the ability to ensure that every child had a role. Although we celebrated two beautiful liturgies, I felt that they were lacking a critical element: the involvement of the entire parish. This year I have been trying to reinforce that our celebration of First […]

A Magnificent Banquet

During the “Christmas honeymoon”—those few weeks of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent—I found that I had been lulled into a sense of complacency. My second-grade class had covered a lot of material during the fall, and I felt good about their grasp of the material. But then reality hit me—their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion were only weeks away! I started to panic, and I wondered if my students were really prepared for […]

Communion Cash: A Child’s First Experience of Stewardship

One of the strange realities of the experience of First Holy Communion is the fact that relatives and friends shower the First Communicant with gifts of cash. While it is done with the best of intentions, it is simply a strange notion to give someone money for receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. The unintended result of this gesture is that the child is encouraged to think of what he or she can buy with this […]

Need a Speaker for First Communion Parent Meeting? Try the Parents!

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of facilitating a First Communion Parents Meeting at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago. While I did do some presenting about a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the primary speakers for the evening were—drum roll please—PARENTS! The Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, recruited four parents of children who recently received First Communion to comprise a panel, sharing their experiences of walking with their children through […]

We’re Doing This Apprenticeship Thing All Wrong!

One of the most exciting and challenging ideas that the General Directory for Catechesis brought us is the concept of apprenticeship. This comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life. (67) The whole idea, of course, is that those seeking to enter more fully into discipleship are to be mentored into the Christian way of life. This is the basis of our Catholic practice of providing sponsors for […]

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