90 Participating in Year of Mercy Small Faith Groups

Earlier this month, my parish, Christ the King, began hosting six small faith groups with 90 total participants gathering weekly for four weeks to reflect on Scripture passages related to the Year of Mercy. Two of the groups are being led by our Associate Pastor, Fr. Matt Litak, while the other four are being led by parishioners, including me. Two of the groups are meeting in the rectory, three are meeting in homes, and one—my group—is meeting in the […]

Themes of Mercy for the Year of Mercy—Free Discussion Materials

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Confirmed in the Spirit Confirmation preparation series. The Year of Mercy that Pope Francis proclaimed last year concludes this November. Mercy is the most fundamental and defining attribute of God, revealed through God’s actions throughout the Old Testament and most notably, in the person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Why not take some time in the next few months to explore themes of […]

Year of Mercy Discussion Group Videos

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Confirmed in the Spirit Confirmation preparation series. If you plan to use the free discussion materials Reflecting on Themes of Mercy for the Year of Mercy, you might consider using some of the following video options for further reflection on each week’s theme. Always remember to preview videos before showing to your group, to determine appropriateness for your setting and be sure things work as […]

A New Commandment and the Year of Mercy

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus gives his disciples and us the New Commandment. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35, NIV). So what is “new” about this commandment? The duty of loving neighbors is grounded in the Old Testament and had been at […]

Five Ideas for Including the Year of Mercy in the Classroom

After my first year working as the Director of Faith Formation, I realized that I had spent very little time focusing on Christian service with my students. Though service has been a great influence on my own faith, with our calendar already packed with so much curriculum to cover, service seemed like something extra—something nice to have if we could find the time. The Year of Mercy, however, offers catechists a unique opportunity to be […]

Bringing the Year of Mercy to Fifth Graders and Their Parents

As I’m sure you know by now, Pope Francis has declared an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will begin December 8, 2015, and last until November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. As I’ve described here before, mercy can be understood as treating people like they are one of the family. With that in mind, I am happy to announce that I will be working with two outstanding catechists at St. Cajetan Parish […]

Third Sunday of Lent, Year A: Mercy Without Limits

In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 4:5–42), the dialogue between Jesus and a woman from Samaria is among the most lengthy and most theological found in Scripture. The most startling aspect of the conversation is that it happens at all. Jesus, an observant Jew of that time, was expected to avoid conversation with women in public. The animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans should have prevented the conversation as well. The woman herself alludes to […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 3, Day 3: First-Aid (The Works of Mercy)

WEEK THREE: The Moral Life (Life in Christ) DAY 3:  First-Aid (The Works of Mercy) What would you expect to find in a typcial first-aid kit? No doubt bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, burn ointment, and so on. What would you include in a spiritual first-aid kit? The fact is, we provide first aid for people when they have an urgent physical need. Some physical needs that people have are ongoing and are not the result of a medical emergency. […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 3, Day 1: Before They Were Famous (Human Dignity, Sin, and Mercy)

WEEK THREE: The Moral Life (Life in Christ) DAY 1: Before They Were Famous  (Human Dignity, Sin, and Mercy) httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWmZ98dOEEA Every so often, on the Internet, you come across these fun features that show pictures of celebrities when they were young – before they were famous – and ask you to guess their identity. Try your hand at some of these. Recognizing someone’s true identity can be challenging. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable […]

The Triduum Is to the Liturgical Year as Sunday Is to the Week

One of the early inspirations in my ministerial career was Gabe Huck, a wonderful liturgist and warrior for social justice. At a workshop he gave years ago about the Triduum, he said, “The Triduum is to the liturgical year as Sunday is to the week.” Of course, Sunday, in Christian tradition, is a day “set apart” from the rest of the week, dedicated to worship, rest, and works of mercy. What Gabe Huck is suggesting, […]

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