Stories of Abraham and Jacob: Around the “Campfire” (While Roasting Marshmallows!)

This evening’s session is all about storytelling! First, we need to finish our work on the stories of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac from last week but then we will segue immediately into the great stories of that rascal, Jacob! To set the mood for the storytelling, I’m going to build a pretend campfire! Take a look: (For directions on how to make the pretend campfire and marshmallows, visit http://www.funinthemaking.net/2009/02/17/pretend-to-campout-how-to-make-a-pretend-campfire-and-paper-marshmallows/). Here’s the overall plan: BIG IDEA: […]

“I Pray for Malala”

During our prayer the other night, as the young people were offering intercessions, one young lady said, “I pray for Malala, the girl from Pakistan, who is speaking out about peoples’ rights.” After the prayer, I acknowledged this intercession and said how impressed I was that she had mentioned Malala Yousafzai and began to explain her story to the class in case some were not familiar with her. She is an education activist who was shot […]

Summary of 10/15/13 Session: God Creates Something Good Out of Nothing

Yesterday, I gave a couple of little tidbits (Ave Maria activity and a humorous comment from a student) about this past Tuesday’s session so now I thought I’d give a more detailed summary. For the first time, I had a couple of absentees so I was down to 7 students. As soon as students entered, I put them to work locating passages in the Bible using their Bible Bookmarks from my book The Bible Blueprint and a Scripture Search […]

VIRTUAL Pilgrimage to Italy, Day 5: Getting Down to Business

Up to this point, our VIRTUAL Pilgrimage to Italy has been filled with lots of sight-seeing which has been wonderful. Today, things get a little different as we jump headlong into the International Conference for Catechesis, the centerpiece of this whole experience to mark the Year of Faith with an emphasis on catechesis. Here’s our itinerary for the day (be sure to bring a notebook and pen with you…looks like lots of opportunities to take […]

The Engaged Catechist: Forming Catechist Enrichment Groups

In his book, Growing An Engaged Church (Gallup Press), Albert L. Winseman explains that, without true engagement, volunteers burn out quickly. He identifies 3 ways to make an immediate impact on the level of engagement of church members: clarify the expectations of membership help your members discover what they do best create small groups I think these can (and should) be easily applied to catechists, who, without engagement, do indeed burnout quickly. Those catechists who […]

Find Your Inner Iggy

July 31 is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. In celebration, Loyola Press has been running 31 Days with St. Ignatius all month, and tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24, we start another fun feature called Find Your Inner Iggy. From July 24 until July 31, 2013, we’re asking you to share where you find God by using the hashtag #FindIggy on your favorite social media channels. Answer the daily question with a creative post, photo, or […]

Let’s Help a Colleague: Project Based Learning for Confirmation Prep

 I received the following email from Tom, telling me about his idea of doing a “project-based” approach to Confirmation preparation. Here’s how he describes it:     Hi Joe, It was great to meet you in Winnipeg last month; your visit got me thinking about our parish’s catechetical confirmation prep. The candidates are in Gr. 9 (or as you folks say, ninth grade). I’m looking at implementing project based learning at the core of the […]

Having Students Set Goals – Developing New Habits

I’ve been talking the last few posts about helping those we teach to develop new habits, inspired by a book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the things the author talks about is the importance of people taking ownership of the process of developing new habits, beginning with the notion of setting goals for themselves. By setting goals for yourself, you internalize motivation (as opposed to all of the motivation having […]

“Keystone” Habits – How Change (Conversion) Happens

In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg talks about how we form habits and how we can change them. He specifically describes habits that he refers to as “keystone habits,” explaining that “success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.” Keystone habits are those that, when changed, […]

Sacramental Readiness and Initiation – Developing New Habits

We’ve had a good conversation here about sacramental readiness over the last few days thanks to a plea for help from “Monica.” Thank you to all who have so generously shared their wisdom. Our discussion got me thinking about the notion of readiness and the fact that all of our catechesis takes its cue from the process of Initiation which is an apprenticeship into a way of life. Assessment of knowledge of the faith is […]

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