Free Prayer Cards Inspired by the Letters of Pope Francis

As we near the end of the catechetical year, you might be thinking how you might mark the occasion with a special keepsake for your students. Encourage children to keep up a practice of prayer throughout the summer break by giving them a prayer card (or three!), free for you to download this month. Inspired by the letters of Pope Francis in the book Dear Pope Francis, the cards each display artwork drawn by children […]

Allow God’s Gaze to Rest on You

Recently I led a half-day retreat for Directors of Religious Education at a nearby parish. These are the men and women who work hard all year through, helping to care for the faith of others. They are nearly always “on duty,” organizing, running, and problem-solving within their parish faith formation programs. The weather had finally, finally come around to spring qualities. We were at an expansive retreat center with lawns and water and trees and […]

Dear Pope Francis in the Classroom

As we were finishing up faith formation class the other day, I showed my class a new book: Dear Pope Francis. It is a hardcover, colorful book of letters and drawings from children around the world to Pope Francis. The best part of the book is that Pope Francis answered each of the letters. His answers are not one- or two-line answers, but thoughtful, multi-paragraph answers that an elementary-age student can understand. I fell in […]

Bringing Pope Francis to Children

While you may not be able to bring Pope Francis to your faith formation session as a guest speaker, you can still bring him closer to the children you teach! By now, I’m sure you have heard of the amazing book, Dear Pope Francis. In this book (also available in Spanish), Pope Francis answers questions from children around the world. Some are fun. Some are serious. And some will quietly break your heart. But all […]

What Would You Ask the Pope?

If you could ask Pope Francis one question, what would it be? What would the children you work with ask the Pope? In Dear Pope Francis, the Pope’s first book for children, he personally responds to 30 questions from children around the world. The book is published by Loyola Press, and we’re excited to share it with you. The Wall Street Journal shares the story behind the project and the book’s trailer here. Dear Pope […]

Pope Francis Has a Message for You!

On his recent trip to Africa, Pope Francis spoke to catechists and teachers and had a powerful message for them—a message that is, in turn, for all who serve as catechists. In his message, the Holy Father emphasized that the work of catechists is rewarding but not easy. It is important for us to know that the role of the catechist in many places throughout Africa and also in South America is quite different than […]

Happy Catechetical Sunday!

This Sunday, September 20, 2016, is Catechetical Sunday, with the theme of “Safeguarding the Dignity of Every Human Person.” Here is a Catechist’s Prayer from the USCCB: Father of all families, you have called me to serve the family in truth and love as a catechist. May I be faithful to this call, rooted in your Word, and open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May I use these gifts, especially the gifts of faith, […]

Welcoming Pope Francis to the U.S.

In just a few short weeks (September 22–27, 2015), our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will visit the United States for the first time! This is an exciting time for the Church in the United States as the “Francis Effect” continues to shape the lives of individuals and the Church as a whole. Here is his full itinerary. Among the highlights of the Holy Father’s visit are: Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra Address to the […]

Pope Francis’s Message of Simplicity

Since the day he was elected pope, our Holy Father has been teaching us, in word and action, that to follow Jesus means to live a life of simplicity. He appeared on the papal balcony for the first time wearing only the white cassock and simple black shoes, eschewing the red cape with furry trim and the red shoes of his predecessor. He boarded the minibus with the other cardinals to head back to the […]

Pope Francis on Catechesis Beyond the Scholastic Sphere

Recently, Pope Francis made some very interesting comments about evangelization and catechesis. In particular, he said that catechesis needs to go beyond just the “scholastic sphere” and lead people to an encounter with Christ. I’m thrilled to hear him talk about this because, as important as familiarity with doctrinal concepts is, it means nothing unless we have a relationship with the living Christ. Catechesis needs to speak to both the head and the heart. In […]

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