"The program's hallmark is respecting the students' dignity." - quote from story on green background
Special Needs

Shepherd’s Flock: One Parish’s Experience with Adaptive Catechesis

Certainly, everyone in catechetical ministry understands that all students—including those with special needs—are called to witness the Gospel. Every parish has children whose needs may not be adequately met in the typical classroom approach to faith formation, and my parish is no different. For more than a decade, our Shepherd’s Flock program has been ministering to students with learning challenges. Some are on the autism spectrum; others have Down syndrome or other genetic disorders. The […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist
High School/Youth Ministry

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Merciful

This is the fifth article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) Happy are the catechists who support, comfort, and guide young people, for they will witness God’s unfailing love. “God’s love for us is so great,” Pope Francis reminds us in The Church of Mercy. “It is an unfailing love, one that always takes us by the […]

celebrating Reconciliation
Liturgy and Sacraments

Preparing Students for Reconciliation

Once or twice a year all the children in our parish religious education program celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation during class time. For most of them, this is the only time they will receive this sacrament during the year. With that in mind, I spend some time preparing these children to celebrate Reconciliation. I start preparing a few weeks before they will celebrate the sacrament. I don’t go into too much depth at […]

young adult small group
Books

With Small Faith Groups, Capitalize on Flexibility

With Lent being just about a month away, many parishes are looking at utilizing small faith groups, one of the most effective formats for adult faith formation and a reality that I have written about previously. Too often, we think that we have to find a “permanent” resource for small faith groups—something that they can use continually without change. This flies in the face of one of the best things about small faith groups, which is […]

Excellence in Ministry - The Effective Catechetical Leader series
Leading a Parish Program

The Centrality of Evangelizing Households

Right before the holidays, I had the pleasure of enjoying a long, lazy lunch with my friend Tom Quinlan, Director of the Religious Education Office for the Diocese of Joliet and author of Excellence in Ministry: Best Practices for Successful Catechetical Leadership, part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series from Loyola Press and NCCL. Over a period of almost three hours, Tom and I chatted about a myriad of issues related to our shared passion—the catechetical […]

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