For many of us, the stories of the saints—while inspiring and often dramatic—always seemed to be about people from far away places who lived long, long ago. Paintings and statues of saints clearly depicted them as belonging to another century, if not another millennium. That’s why it is so exciting these days to be able to see color photographs and even video of saints such as St. Pope John Paul II and Saint Teresa of […]
A few months ago, a friend of mine told me she was going to use one of the videos I filmed for my book Little Lessons from the Saints at her next RCIA session. “Really?” “Yep. I’m leading a lesson on the communion of saints, so it’s perfect. Besides, I think they would get a kick out of seeing you on video.” “Either that or a good laugh.” “Probably both,” she said. A few days […]
“Some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard about faith came from a teenager,” says Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints. Enjoy the short video below to learn what those wise words were and what they have to do with St. Clare of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow. Hint: it has to do with authenticity, which we discussed recently in our Spirituality of the Catechist retreat.
I hate to admit this, but I often give the saints short shrift in my faith-formation classes. Since I am helping ninth-graders prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, my focus is usually on having them pick a Confirmation name. To that end, I ask them to write a paper, produce a video, or perform a skit about a saint. If I can find the time, I will set aside a lesson in which I give […]
“The purpose of education is to instill the virtues in the next generation,” says Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints. In honor of St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day we celebrate April 29, watch the brief video featuring Burnham below. He says Catherine is an example who can teach us about virtues. How do you teach about the virtues in your classroom?
This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]
This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]
In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]
On December 6, we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas. On the night of December 5, children leave their shoes by the door, finding them filled with treats when they wake up the next morning. Catechists too can find “treats” from the life of St. Nicholas to help them in their ministry. Here are three lessons we can learn from the life of this fourth-century saint. 1. Be a gift-giver. St. Nicholas is best known […]
The Blessed Virgin Mary is so many things to us: she is our mother, our help, our comfort, and our joy. She is our model disciple; she is the “untier of knots.” She is also our model catechist. Here are three ways we can be more like Mary as catechists. 1. Say “Yes.” When I invite parishioners to prayerfully consider becoming a catechist, their first response is often “Who, me?” followed by expressions of doubt, […]