Online Book Club Week 4: Praying Like Children

Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 10–12. Learn more about the book club here. Today, I have a story about family prayer that is not in The Prayer List. This one requires a visual, so go put your hands on a set of rosary beads before you read any further. If you don’t […]

Teaching Children to Pray the Rosary

I love teaching the Rosary to my first graders. The Rosary helps them learn important prayers, highlights Scripture stories, and keeps their hands occupied when we are sitting together in a circle. In May I hand out rosaries to each student, usually a week after they learn the Hail Mary. I explain that they were blessed by a priest earlier in the day. (One year, I actually took a photo of our pastor with his […]

Praying with Little Ones

Last fall, Joe Paprocki provided 20 tips for catechists. The ninth tip stuck with me: as catechists, we are not teaching a subject, but we are facilitating an encounter with Jesus. All of us encounter Jesus in different ways on any given day, and our students are no different. Offering a variety of prayer experiences for children can open up new ways for Christ to work in their lives. When I’m praying with my first-grade […]

Praying with Second Graders

The longer I am a catechist, the more I feel the need to focus on prayer with the children in my classes. For so long I limited prayer to the start and end of class, and I encouraged the children to memorize traditional prayers. But I didn’t do much else. Now I lead the children in exploring new and varied ways to pray so they can grow in their personal relationship with God. Early in […]

Getting Children Involved in a Prayer Service

We often hear about the importance of full and active participation in Mass and in our communities. As catechists, that should be our goal for every class. One way I’ve gotten my students involved is through classroom prayer services. In my early days as a catechist, I thought first-graders would be too young for an activity like this. I assumed they wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough, or read well enough, or understand the […]

Teaching Children the Lost Art of Being

In today’s world, there is a lot of emphasis placed on knowing and doing and not so much on being. In other words, we find ourselves focused on what we know and do and not enough on who we are. As catechists, we have the privilege of helping those we teach to develop a deeper understanding of who they are in relation to a loving God, in whose image they are created. One of the primary […]

Visual Stimulation for Those Children Who Hear “Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah”

I’m sure you are familiar with the sound depiction of adults speaking in any of the Charlie Brown cartoons—a sound created by a trombone similar to “wah-wah-wah-wah.” For some visual learners, this is what a teacher’s voice can sound like. As a visual learner myself, I realize that often when I am listening to instructions, at some point the voice does indeed sound like the trombone-noise from a Charlie Brown cartoon! What does it mean […]

Praying with Families in the Classroom

Prayer is essential for a relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the most important responsibilities we have as catechists is to help our students develop a life of prayer. I encourage my students to find ways to pray with their families, and to facilitate that I invite parents and younger siblings to be part of our prayer circle at the end of each class. While children haven’t yet learned to be self-conscious about prayer, parents […]

Taking Children to Adoration

I teach at St. Margaret Mary School, and the students in grades five through eight participate in the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They witness the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in a monstrance for a day of Adoration. This year we just happened to have an all-school Mass on the first Friday of the month, and I realized that many of my students were unfamiliar with Eucharistic Adoration. I knew I […]

Helping Parents Model Catholicism for Their Children

My friend Steve once related that perhaps the most influential experience of his childhood—in terms of his Catholic faith—was getting out of the bed one night to go to the bathroom and seeing his father on his knees saying his prayers bedside. Steve had no idea that his dad prayed at all, let alone on his knees each and every night. Because children are so strongly influenced by their parents, we need to do all we […]

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