About Julianne Stanz
Julianne Stanz is the Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Julianne infuses her talks, retreats, and seminars with humor, passion, and insights from her life in Ireland. A popular speaker, storyteller, and author, Julianne is married with three children and spends her time reading, writing, teaching, and collecting beach glass. She is the author of Developing Disciples of Christ and co-author, with Joe Paprocki, of The Catechist’s Backpack.

Using Visuals to Evangelize in the Classroom

The expression “a picture speaks a thousand words” is particularly apt for the culture in which we live. Image-intensive social media platforms promote sharing through memes, stories, and snippets of information that go viral. For young people, images are not a distraction from the central message but constitute the message itself. Authenticity and thoughtful imaging of the Christian message are particularly important for us as a Church. For those who are in a pre-evangelization stage […]

Jesus: Not What the Church Teaches but Who the Church Lives

“But how do we know Jesus was an actual person and not just made up?” John, one of my tenth-grade students, asked. “I know what the Bible says, but do we have any other evidence?” As catechists we are often asked this kind of question, and it can catch us by surprise. The temptation when faced with a question like this is to offer a standard response such as, “Well, the Catholic Church teaches us […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part IV): Echoes of Mercy

This is the final article in a series about the word catechist, which comes from the Greek word, “to echo.” The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (2015–16) was an opportunity for the Catholic Church—and for each one of us—to reflect on the merciful love of God the Father (Luke 6:36). Holy doors were opened in every diocese throughout the world as symbols of hope, healing, and love to announce the mercy of God, “the beating […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part III): Echoes of Truth

This article is the third in a series about the word catechist, which comes from the Greek word, “to echo.” “What is truth?” This is a question that we as a culture continually wrestle with; in the last few years, it seems that the truth has been put on trial and found guilty. It is a time when what is presented as true is actually false, and what is false is considered true. Truth seems […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part II): Echoes of Love

This article is the second in a series about the word catechist, which comes from the Greek word, “to echo.” Choosing a name for a child or yourself is one of the most important choices that we make in life. Behind a name might lie a family story or a connection to a person of influence. A person’s name might have been inspired by an experience or a specific place. We receive a name generally […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part I): Echoes of Hope

The word catechist comes from the Greek word “to echo.” As catechists, we echo the teachings of the Church. We also echo our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ through our words and deeds. This series of blog posts will look at the ministry of catechesis through the lens of the word echo. We will explore what it means to be a catechist who echoes hope, love, truth, and mercy. First, we begin with four […]

Age Spots and Polka Dots

As a mother of three young children, I am grateful for daily opportunities to look with fresh eyes on the wonder that unfolds in every day. Peering into the bathroom mirror one evening, my three-year-old daughter Ava asked what I was doing. “Mommy is looking at some spots on her skin,” I said to her. “Show me them,” she asked. And so, I kneeled on the floor and pointed out some of the age spots […]

Three Lessons from Mary, the First and Best Catechist

For any dedicated catechist, having a devotion to the Blessed Mother should be part and parcel of our spiritual lives. Mary, as the first and best catechist, provides a model for our own ministry of catechesis. Three aspects of the life of Mary, drawn from Evangelii Gaudium, serve as a guide for our ministries: 1. Finding God in All Things 2. Pointing to Jesus 3. Seeking Out Help Finding God in All Things St. Ignatius […]

Advice for New Catechists

Within two weeks of arriving from Ireland to live in Wisconsin, I found myself standing in front of a room full of tenth graders in a faith-formation classroom. As a new catechist and director of religious education, there were times when I definitely felt overwhelmed and a bit lost. But with mentoring, time, hard work, and patience, I found that I truly felt called to this ministry and that I sincerely enjoyed being a catechist. […]

Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS

Many catechetical leaders are familiar with the struggle of trying to find catechists at the last minute and begging parishioners for help. We have all heard the horror stories of people who tentatively volunteered and two weeks later found themselves standing in front of a room full of students, unsure of themselves and wondering how they ended up in this position. If our catechists are the backbone of our faith formation programs, then recruiting and […]

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