Discipleship Is a Relationship—Catechetical Sunday 2017

This Sunday, September 17, 2017, is Catechetical Sunday, with the theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples.” I’d like to take this time to offer my gratitude and affirmation for all catechists who have responded to the call to serve in this heroic vocation and this splendid ministry! For many of us, the notion of discipleship is still a bit of a mystery. What exactly does it mean to be a missionary disciple? It sounds like a […]

Catechists as Missionary Disciples

Catechetical Sunday, with its 2017 theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples,” is a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on why we do the challenging work of catechesis. How do we live as missionary disciples? Mission When I hear the word missionary, I think of a priest sailing to some far away and foreign land to preach the Gospel, armed only with his crucifix and his conviction. We might think that the call to be […]

Celebrating St. Francis Xavier

Tomorrow, December 3, is the feast of the great Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, a companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola and then a fearless missionary to India and Japan. This feast is a great opportunity for catechists to teach about our missionary call to bring the Gospel of Jesus “ad gentes” (to the nations). In particular, Francis Xavier stands as a monumental example of learning and encounter. Some Jesuit schools observe “Xavier Day” by arranging […]

The Spiritual Life of Catechists, Part 5: Missionary Zeal

This is the fifth article in a series about the spiritual life of catechists, inspired by the list of characteristics in the National Directory for Catechesis. Have you ever met someone who was “on fire” for God? When you encounter someone who speaks about faith with contagious enthusiasm, that’s missionary zeal. It’s memorable—and contagious. Zeal is not a word we use much today. The dictionary defines zeal as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of […]

The Six Tasks of Catechesis #6: Promoting a Missionary Spirit

Recently, we began a series here on my blog about the six tasks of catechesis, focusing on the notion that God is calling each of us to fulfill a role that he has planned for us. Just as actors rely on certain strategies to immerse themselves in character, we too rely on certain strategies to “immerse” ourselves in the role that God is calling us to fill: the “best version of ourselves” (to borrow a phrase from […]

Using SKYPE in Catechesis

My friend Victor Valdez, a DRE in Mountain View, CA, sent me this link about an 8th grade language arts teacher in Iowa who invited his students to select a name from the CNN Heroes finalists so that he could arrange for them to speak with him or her using SKYPE. Eighth Graders Learn Big Lessons from CNN Heroes Assignment Victor astutely suggests that this would be a great idea for a religious education class in […]

Online Retreat for Catechists – Week 6: Missionary Zeal

Welcome to the 6th week of our online retreat focusing on the spirituality of the catechist. Last week, we looked at the characteristic of an authenticity and coherence of life. Thanks so much for all of your wonderful and inspiring comments! This week, we focus on the 6th aspect of our spirituality: missionary zeal. If you’re just joining us, you can go back and “catch up” and then come back to jump in to week […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: A Spiritual St. Patrick’s Day Activity

St. Patrick’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of Lent and, for many, is seen as a “day off” from Lent. A quick search for St. Patrick’s Day activities reveals mainly opportunities to color shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold; very little of spiritual value is offered. As catechists, we can still have fun with our young people on St. Patrick’s Day while also teaching something of spiritual value. Here are a few […]