An Example of Excellence in Special Needs Faith Formation

Here’s a good news story! While many parishes are making strides in offering quality faith formation for young people with special needs, one parish stands out as an example of excellence. St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was recently honored as the recipient of the Opening Doors Award, presented by the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) in partnership with Loyola Press. With the award comes a check for $1000 and a plaque. St. Rose of […]

Special Needs Ministry on Both Sides of the Border

It’s hard to ignore the enthusiasm that radiates from Kathy Hagan, a retired school teacher working in Catholic religious education for 30 years. Hagan is involved in Confirmation preparation and special needs ministry at St. Luke Catholic Church in Irving, Texas. St. Luke’s is a vibrant community with parishioners from Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Vietnam. English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Filipino are spoken in the pews and classrooms. There is one more language—that of […]

Special Needs: Adaptive Kits for First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Now CONFIRMATION!

One of the challenges we face in catechesis is reaching out to those with special needs to help them encounter Christ in a meaningful way. Loyola Press is proud to be contributing resources to this effort, namely, the Adaptive Kits for First Eucharist and Reconciliation. Now we have proudly added a kit for Confirmation! The Adaptive Confirmation Preparation Kit was designed to help individuals with autism and other special needs enter fully into the faith experience, […]

Catechizing Children with Special Needs

While in Cleveland recently, I had a nice conversation with a husband and wife catechist team who catechize children with special needs. I have great admiration for people who dedicate themselves to this challenging yet wonderful ministry. It was the first opportunity I had to tell people personally about a brand new resource designed for catechizing children with special needs. It is the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit from Loyola Press. I had the privilege of […]

Curating Advent Resources to Fit the Needs of Those You Teach

As the role of the catechist continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, one of the models that is becoming more apt is that of the catechist as curator. Typically, we think of a curator as that person in a museum or gallery who is responsible for acquiring, caring for, and developing a collection of artifacts that will be displayed for the edification, education, and inspiration of those […]

Six Ideas for Taking Care of the Spiritual Needs of Your Catechists

It seems so simplistic to suggest that as leaders in catechetical ministry we need to be catechists to our catechists, but that is what the Lord calls us to be. Just as a catechist needs a manual to guide him or her through leading the sessions, so, too, we may also need to provide a spiritual handbook or other guidance along the way. St. Thomas Aquinas (patron of students) advises: “Hence we must say that […]

Adult Faith Formation Needs to Focus on Brokenness

The key to effective adult faith formation can be found in church basements all over the country. And what, exactly, can be found in church basements? Twelve Step meetings. People do not go to Twelve Step meetings because they like the music. They don’t go because of how the space is decorated. They don’t go because the seats are comfy or because of a big video screen. They don’t go because the food is good. […]

With So Much Self-Esteem, Who Needs Salvation?

In recent times, there has been a big emphasis in education on building self-esteem. This, of course, has carried over into catechesis, such as when we begin teaching three-year olds the refrain “I am special.” A recent study (link no longer available) reveals, however that this emphasis has led to an increase in narcissistic tendencies. My concern is, if we are all so special, then who needs salvation? Of course, self-esteem is important. But so is humility. […]

Silent Prayer Circle

I like to vary how my class prays partly to give everyone more tools in their prayer toolbox, but also because not everyone learns or prays in the same way on a given day. When I teach about the Holy Family, I teach my first-graders simple signs in sign language (ASL), which we practice together. Thanks to YouTube, you can easily teach yourself signs and phrases in ASL. I have learned how to sign “thank […]

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