About Denise Gorss
Denise Gorss is a catechist with 19 years experience, mostly in junior high. She appreciates the gifts of Ignatian spirituality and likes sharing various types of prayer with the young people in her groups. She enjoys seeing the world on pilgrimages and lives in the Chicago area, where she works as Web Editor at Loyola Press.

Family Faith in Summer Choice Board

Our Family Faith in Summer Choice Board can help families remember with gratitude to God all the fun and relaxation summer holds. Give children choices by asking them to select and complete a set number of activities from the board: three-in-a-row, any four, or whatever number you choose. Activities include options that will appeal to multiple learning styles. While the choice board can be used on its own, several activities can be expanded with these […]

A Whole Bunch of Values Lenten Countdown for Children

For a fresh approach to a Lenten calendar, explore a variety of values with young children this Lent. Our Lenten Countdown for Children invites children to choose a good value to practice each day, coloring and numbering circles as they go to track their progress. Values listed include sharing, patience, honesty, and more—all traits covered in the book A Whole Bunch of Values. Download the Lenten Countdown for Children.

High School Lesson: Discernment of Spirits and the Missioned Life

Help teens ask themselves how they make decisions, and lead them to practice discernment so that they can live a life of meaning and purpose. Loyola Press, in honor of the Ignatian Year, offers an introductory lesson on Discernment of Spirits and the Missioned Life. Download this free lesson for high school students, based on an excerpt from Living Against the Grain by Tim Muldoon. For more on the Ignatian Year, visit IgnatianSpirituality.com.

Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood Activities Pack

Six African Americans are on the path to canonization as Catholic saints. Learn about these inspiring men and women of God through our Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood activities pack. The pack includes video suggestions with the brief biographies of: Venerable Pierre Toussaint Servant of God Mother Mary Lange Venerable Henriette Delille Venerable Father Augustus Tolton Servant of God Julia Greeley Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA After learning about these holy […]

Saints and S’mores

This past year inspired many catechetical leaders to use their creativity to reach out in new ways to parishioners. One success story is Laura Soldner’s summer event, Saints and S’mores. Laura is the Coordinator of Family Formation (K–6) at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish in Monona, WI. She shares about the program in the following interview. Denise Gorss for Catechist’s Journey: What is Saints and S’mores? Laura Soldner: Saints and S’mores is a drop-in […]

Faith Reading Camp

Host a Faith Reading Camp for children at the parish, school, or right at home. Loyola Press makes it easy by providing a camp calendar with suggestions for five days of fun. Each day, wherever your camp is, read a children’s book together, complete activities based on the book, and pray for intentions inspired by the book’s themes. And since camp wouldn’t be complete without snacks, our calendar includes snack time suggestions inspired by the […]

Marian Treasure Hunt

Explore the highlights of Mary’s life with a fun treasure hunt. Designed to be used as a family activity at home, the clues lead children to think about the Annunciation, the Visitation, and more, as they follow directions to get to a final prize. The prize may include a book of Bible stories, a book on Mary, a plush figure of Mary, or anything else appropriate. Prepare children for the hunt by discussing the stories […]

The Question of Doubt

In a recent class, one of the young people asked if it was OK to doubt aspects of religion. I was happy for this question, because I think others probably wonder the same thing but are afraid to ask. I told the young lady it was absolutely OK—and normal even—to doubt, but that she also had to consider why she was having doubts about a particular issue. For instance, was the doubt due to struggling […]

The Shepherd’s Story Scripture Activities

From Psalm 23 to the Nativity story as told by Luke and more, shepherds appear in the Bible numerous times. Explore the role of shepherds in Scripture with activities inspired by the new children’s book, The Shepherd’s Story by Jimmy Dunne and illustrated by Ivan Kravets. “Shepherds in the Bible” invites young people to look up Scripture verses about shepherds and then express what they learn in creative ways. Younger children will enjoy the “Christmas […]

Seven Activity Types That Require No Materials for Participants

For those returning to classroom settings this fall, sharing supplies or handing out materials may not be options due to safety regulations. To help catechists facing this challenge, here are some ideas for activities that don’t require any special materials for participants. Prayer—Every session, no matter the format, should include prayer time. Guided reflections, lectio divina, traditional prayers, and intercessory prayer are just a few options catechists can lead for fruitful time with the Lord. […]

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