The Catechist as a Personal Trainer for Prayer Life

“Central aspects of the formation of children are training in prayer and introduction to Sacred Scripture” (General Directory for Catechesis 178). Today let’s focus on the training in prayer part of that. Training indeed is key, but how do we understand that? Think of a personal trainer: when we need to get in shape or need new motivation to stay in shape, we might hire a trainer to teach us the basics of fitness and […]

How to Be a Prayer Coach

It’s no coincidence that some of the best coaches and managers in sports are former players themselves. They understand what it’s like to be on the court, field, or ice. In fact, some of the best coaches and managers are those who themselves struggled during their playing years. As a result of their struggles, they studied the game more intensively, seeking to learn every nuance that might assist them since their own pure talent was marginal. […]

The Prayer Before Meals Opens a Conversation About Real-Life Prayer

In the middle of a session, the conversation turned to the Prayer Before Meals, and I asked my seventh-graders if they knew that prayer. One girl volunteered that she knew it in Spanish, so I invited her to recite it for our group. But aside from that girl, no one indicated they knew the prayer. I directed the young people to look at the words of the prayer in the book. The same girl who […]

Drafting Prayers of Intercession

By the time my students hit my classroom in the fourth grade, most of them know basic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father. Most have also learned that there are different types of prayers: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. This week I decided to delve a little deeper into prayers of intercession, because I felt it tied in nicely to our lesson […]

Three Ways to Nurture a Catechist’s Prayer Life

Prayer is an essential component in the life of a catechist. Prayer helps us stay connected to Jesus Christ, the Master Catechist who works through us in our ministry, who strengthens us with the grace to do our ministry well, and who desires to be in relationship with us and with our students. How can we help our catechists maintain a life of prayer? Here are three ways. 1. Keep it simple. We often think […]

A Week with Jesus: Making the Examen More Intentional

The Daily Examen or Awareness Examen is a reflective, prayerful spiritual practice that comes to us from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Its simple premise—that we can with practice become more consciously aware of God’s activity in our lives—makes it a great prayer for young and old. If you’re looking for a fun, interactive way to introduce young people to this wonderful spiritual practice, consider taking up the following challenge for a […]

The Examen in Catechetical Programs

Several years ago, I became acquainted with Ignatian spirituality, and over time, incorporated many of the key components of this spirituality into my daily living. Although I’m certainly not an expert, I have learned enough so as to feel comfortable weaving such topics as the Examen into our programs. There are five key components to the Examen, a daily review of how the day went. Become aware of God’s presence. Even first graders are leading […]

Teaching Young Adults to Pray

When I look back on my faith journey as a young adult, I am extremely grateful for the older adults in my life who took the time to teach me how to pray. Their gifts of sharing their wisdom and teaching me the practical tools of our faith serve me well as I journey through the transitions of young adulthood. The young adults I have worked with on retreats hunger for methods of prayer that […]

Simon Says Pray

It’s spring! We all look forward to this glorious time of year, especially after a long, dreary winter. But spring also makes it difficult for children to fight the wiggles and sit still during religious education class. They would much rather run and play and enjoy the sunshine like the rest of us. Rather than fight to make my wiggly third graders sit still on one particularly pretty spring day, I decided to take them outside […]