About Bob Burnham
Bob Burnham, OFS, is a catechist for both high-school youth and the RCIA at Resurrection Catholic Church in Wayne, Illinois. In addition to being involved in youth ministry, he is a spiritual director, speaker, and writer. Bob is the author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You. Bob is also the councilor for youth and young adults in the Mother Cabrini Regional Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order. Read his blog about the spirituality of commuting at www.mtransit.org.

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 […]

Connecting with Other Catechists

Like the families we serve, catechists are a diverse group. We are of different generations (my fellow catechists include millennials, gen-X’ers, and baby boomers); we come from different backgrounds (some are cradle Catholics, others were baptized as adults, still others like myself came into full communion with the Catholic Church from another Christian tradition); and we grew up experiencing different cultural traditions (one friend of mine likes to share the traditions she learned from her […]

Where Has God Been in Your Classroom?

The midpoint of the faith formation year is the perfect time to reflect on how the faith formation year has gone so far. The following exercises, based on the wisdom of St. Ignatius Loyola, are meant to help you discern where God has been in the classroom and where God might be directing the classroom during the remainder of the year. Begin each exercise by warming-up with a Scripture reading, a prayer, or silence, and […]

The Saintly Catechist

The director of our faith formation program asked if I could help her develop a saints’ syllabus for the eighth- and ninth-grade classes. This was right up my alley. We met for coffee to work on the syllabus, which would complement our regular curriculum. Our discussion turned to the canonization process: how does someone become a saint? As we talked about the steps in the canonization process, I wondered, “What do we have to do […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

This is the final article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) Happy are the catechists who live in hope, for they will always find God at their side. I asked my ninth-grade class: “Do you want to know what I really get out of our faith?” That got their attention. […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

This is the seventh article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Happy are the catechists who live as God intends, for they can’t help but love the young people in their classrooms. I spent some time cleaning out my catechist’s bag earlier this week, and I came across some prayers written by the young […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

This is the sixth article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Happy are the catechists who are authentic, for the young people will see how much they rely on God. Some days, I find it very hard to be motivated to prepare for my faith formation classes. On these days, more than ever, I need […]

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 […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

This is the fourth article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) Happy are the catechists who help young people find God in all things, for they will find God in them. “I’m sorry Carrie was absent last night,” began the e-mail from the parent of one of the young people in my […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Meek

This is the third article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Happy are the catechists who meet kids where they are, for they will win over the classroom. I had quickly lost control of a recent class. One of the boys kept laying his head down on the table. Another boy was more interested in having […]

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