symbols of the Seven Sacraments
Liturgy and Sacraments

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: The Sacraments

This month I’m revisiting my book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe, with the notion of keeping our faith simple without dumbing it down or making it simplistic. The truth is, while there have been many great thinkers and intellectuals throughout our Church history, the Church was founded by fishermen and tax collectors and a hodgepodge of men and women disciples who were everyday, common folks with little […]

happy man relaxing
Spiritual Growth

Pause Without Pausing

My wife and I recently took our spiritual pulse, using a brief assessment derived from Terry Hershey’s book, The Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less. I was happy with my results: I am “a powerful pauser” and know how to balance my priorities. Of course, finding this balance has required me to make some difficult decisions. For example, earlier this year I recognized that I had overcommitted myself. Teaching a ninth-grade class full-time […]

arms folded - gesture of ignoring or non-participation
Junior High

Patience with Quiet Students

Being a catechist requires patience. Some years it’s patience with behavior issues, and other years it’s patience with a class that’s too quiet. Let me explain. When discipline issues arise, there are a number of strategies for managing classroom behavior. But when young people are well-behaved yet non-participatory, we need different strategies, which we often don’t hear much about. The overreaching strategy to working with young people who don’t want to join in discussions or […]

preschool faith formation program - God Made Everything
Books

Populating the Imaginations of Preschool Children

When speaking about the roles of parents, godparents, grandparents, catechists, and teachers in forming the faith of children, my friend and colleague, Tom McGrath, often emphasizes the need to “populate the imaginations” of young children with stories, images, signs, and symbols of our Catholic faith. At a very young age, children develop a “worldview”—a way of seeing the world. Some develop a positive worldview that recognizes truth, beauty, and goodness as more potent than that which […]

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Catechetical Issues & Topics

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: The Creed

I have often said that, if a non-Catholic asked you to explain the Catholic faith to him or her, and you responded by reciting the Creed, listing and describing the seven sacraments, listing and describing the Ten Commandments, and reciting the Our Father, you would deserve a passing grade! Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer are the four pillars of our Catholic faith. The goal of catechesis should always be to make those four pillars accessible, which […]

Primary

Intermediate

Junior High