Faith Formation Isn’t Self-Improvement

You may hear parents or others in your faith community talk about catechesis like it’s a self-improvement course. While following Jesus and growing closer to God will hopefully improve our lives, the goal is not self-improvement. The entire message of Salvation through Jesus Christ is that we are incapable of saving ourselves and are in need of a divine intervention, which means a renouncing of the self. Our destiny is not to become a better […]

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 […]

Melting Those “Stone Faces” at Parent Meetings

When I am asked to present at a parent meeting (First Reconciliation or First Eucharist), I am often met by a lot of what I call “stone faces”—a look on the parents’ faces that says they would rather be anywhere else but here! Don’t get me wrong: the folks are cordial, just not very emotive, and I remind myself that most are coming straight from work or a long day at home. A big part […]

Why Confess? Ideas for the Sacrament of Reconciliation Parent Meeting

“But why do I have to tell my sins to a priest? Can’t I just go directly to God?” This time it’s the Confirmation students asking the question. And yes, you can pray directly to God, and God has already forgiven our sins through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But perhaps we have missed the point of sacramental Reconciliation. As catechetical leaders, it is our responsibility to meet people where they are and […]

Start-of-the-Year Parent Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As you plan for the new catechetical year, schedule a start-of-the-year parent gathering. This is a great opportunity to meet parents and encourage them in their role as their children’s first catechist. To help you, I’m offering a free PowerPoint presentation, complete with suggested script, for hosting a parent gathering. The message it conveys is that faith formation isn’t just another activity; it’s a way of life. Support the domestic church with this encouraging presentation […]

Faith Formation for Parents: Bruce’s Story

As he sat down, he leaned to the mom next to him and whispered, “Don’t ask any questions; I want to get out of here before eight!” This was Bruce*, a 40-something professional man whose daughter Denise was enrolled in our Confirmation program. The setting was a parent session offered before the children’s sacramental preparation began. Bruce rarely went to church, had little to no spiritual life, and no real knowledge of his Catholic faith […]

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 […]

First Reconciliation Parent Session

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of facilitating the First Reconciliation Parent Meeting at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park, IL, where I served as a catechist for a number of years. I had been the presenter at this meeting several times in the past, however, I was not comfortable just delivering a talk in the church to the parents who sat passively throughout. I worked with the DRE, Lori Kennedy, to create a […]

Dry Run for REP Kick Off Nite

Last evening, I got together with Deb, the DRE at St. Cajetan, to do a “dry run” in preparation for next Tuesday’s Kick-Off for the Religious Education program. We had many logistics to go over such as the sound system, the lighting, the video, the music and so on. In particular, I realized that I have to practice my timing with the songs/videos that I’ll be projecting throughout the prayer service…it’s as if I’m the […]

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