Will Robots Replace Catechists? Can They?

May 15, 2017 Joe Paprocki 4

During the lifetime of some people who are reading this blog, artificial intelligence will be an everyday reality. Already, robotics are manufacturing and driving cars; the only difference is that they do not have a “face.” Technology in all forms is a daily growing force in our world. Which poses a question: Can a robot serve as a catechist? Without hesitation, I would say no. A catechist is first and foremost a disciple of Jesus […]

Simple Tips for Leading a Simple Prayer

August 17, 2016 Joe Paprocki 1

While it is true that we can pray simply and spontaneously, at more formal gatherings, our prayer is to resemble how we pray at Mass. In other words, the prayer is meant to be liturgical, which means that it should have a basic structure. This means including parts for the assembly, including Scripture, and including elements of sign, symbol, and ritual. Many of us have never been taught how to prepare and lead a simple […]

Starting Your Meeting with Prayer

March 3, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the final article in a series about leading prayer. If you have read the previous installments of this series on leading prayer, you have prepared or practiced strategies for leading group prayer at a gathering or meeting: Setting the Stage: Creating the Space for Prayer (When we pray in a space other than church, it is essential to include symbols, sacramentals, images, and more.) Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer (Prayer is part […]

Using Sacred Space for Small Faith Groups

February 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

One of the most important “ingredients” for small faith groups is establishing a climate of prayer at the beginning of a session. Small groups each have their own unique focus: exploring the Sunday Scripture readings, discussing a book, watching and discussing a video series, and so on. What remains constant, however, is the need to create a climate of prayer in which the “work” of the group takes place. Some of the resources that small […]

The Leader of Prayer: Five Skills for Lay Presiders

January 7, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the fourth article in a series about leading prayer. Have you ever noticed that some priests are really good at presiding over the Mass? When they get everything right, it simply feels good. When done well, the priest “disappears” and he presents himself in persona Christi: acting in the person of Christ, he unites the offerings and prayers of the people to Christ. A good presider is confident, clear, and “leans in” to […]

Make Your Group Prayer Meaningful

November 5, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the third article in a series about leading prayer. In the previous two installments of this series, I wrote about setting the environment for prayer and best practices for structuring public prayer. But how do you choose the content of prayer so that it is meaningful for participants? Every group has different needs. When prayer is “one size fits all” it can be hard for people to feel it has a meaningful connection […]

First Experiences with Two Forms of Prayer

October 27, 2015 Denise Gorss 0

One of my favorite parts of teaching religious education is introducing young people to various forms of prayer. In addition to starting sessions with three traditional prayers—the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father—I’ve led them in lectio divina and guided reflection. When I mentioned to another catechist that I was doing lectio divina with seventh graders, she questioned how that worked, unsure that the technique was one young people […]

Best Practices for Leading Group Prayer

October 1, 2015 Joyce Donahue 1

This is the second article in a series about leading prayer. Whenever Catholics pray before group activities—whether a staff, catechist, or parent meeting or a gathering of the parish youth group—we offer all our efforts to the Father. We acknowledge that when we are gathered, Jesus is present with us. We invoke the Holy Spirit to guide us. Group prayers sanctify the activity, reminding us that the ultimate goal is to glorify God. Yet how […]

Setting the Stage: Creating the Space for Prayer

September 3, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

This is the first article in a series about leading prayer. When Catholics pray, we are often surrounded by reminders of who we are. At Mass, we can easily identify the current liturgical season or feast from how the sanctuary is decorated, the color of the priest’s vestments, the hymns we sing, and sometimes from the aroma of incense. We are accompanied in our liturgical prayers by statues of the saints, Scripture stories in stained […]

Creating Worship Kits for Parish Groups

July 13, 2015 Joe Paprocki 0

Many parish organizations have supply cabinets in which they stash their paper plates, napkins, coffee cups, pens, pencils, paper, and so on, so that when they meet, they can swing into action. I suggest that every parish organization have access to another important resource for their supply cabinet: a “worship kit.” Every time a group or organization gathers in the parish, someone should be responsible for setting up a prayer space and leading the group in […]

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