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, […]

A Father’s Day Message

I’m not one to claim mystical experiences of hearing God talking to me (as in actually hearing a voice and spoken words) however, I have had a couple of moments in life when I felt that God tossed a few syllables my way. One such occasion occurred some years ago on Father’s Day. Now, let’s be honest, Father’s Day pales in comparison to Mother’s Day (a cookout and a new tie often are considered sufficient […]

The Most Holy Trinity – A Feast of Heaven and Earth and Close Encounters

There seems to be no shortage of movies about the lives of human beings AFTER the earth is destroyed (Wall-E, Oblivion, After Earth, just to name a few). We seem to be resigned to the notion that our penchant for disposability will result in the eventual destruction of this planet. Unfortunately, too much of Christianity does little to combat this notion since the false notion persists that our ultimate destiny is to escape this planet […]

The Office – Ends on an Ignatian Note

Last night, in case you missed it, was the final episode of The Office – a cutting edge comedy that ran for 9 seasons. I have to admit that I was never a huge fan of the show (I sometimes found it tedious, frustrating and depressing) but I also appreciate the brilliance of the show and its moments of comic genius as well as genuine tenderness. I really enjoyed the final episode last night, especially […]

Having Students Set Goals – Developing New Habits

I’ve been talking the last few posts about helping those we teach to develop new habits, inspired by a book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the things the author talks about is the importance of people taking ownership of the process of developing new habits, beginning with the notion of setting goals for themselves. By setting goals for yourself, you internalize motivation (as opposed to all of the motivation having […]

Closure

Tonight is the last session that I will be teaching for my 6th graders this year (next week is our closing Mass). I’ll reflect soon on what this experience has been like for me (in brief, it’s been wonderful!) but for now I’d just like to offer a glimpse of what I’ll be doing tonight. Preliminaries (15 mins) Gather, attendance, misc. – young people write prayer intentions Opening prayer ritual/procession Engage (10 mins) I plan […]

Encountering God in the Bible

After what seemed like an endless string of interruptions (days off, practices for Seder Meal, Lenten and Holy Week prayer services, etc.) in our regular teaching schedule, I finally get to teach a lesson this coming Monday! With only 3 classes left for teaching, I am going to do one more session on the Bible this Monday before sending their Bibles home with them. Here’s my plan: Session 23 – Encountering God in the Bible  Session […]

Meet Pope Francis – A Teachable Moment

Loyola Press has put together some great activities related to the election of Pope Francis that you can use in your catechetical setting. They are: Find Your Pope Name Welcome Letter to the New Pope Pray for the Pope, Pray for the World Here, There, God is Everywhere! Here’s an interesting resource from the world of secular education seeking to use the election of the new Pope as a teachable moment. Here’s how a Catholic […]

Papal Conclave: Political Maneuvering or the Holy Spirit? Yes

As we approach the papal conclave, it is interesting to notice the coverage taking place. The media focuses on the political maneuvering taking place while Church spokespeople talk about prayer, discernment, and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Which is it? Both. We would be naive to think that there is no political maneuvering taking place among the cardinals at the conclave. At the same time, we would be just as naive to think that […]

6th Grade Psalms

We had a very enjoyable session last evening focusing on the Psalms. In case you missed it, here is what I had planned. The kids enjoyed the opening activity of describing the emotions portrayed in a series of pictures and selecting one that best described how they felt at the moment (they almost all selected the picture that represented being tired except for one very peppy young man who said, “I’m just happy to be […]

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