How Long Have You Been a Catechist? Let’s Hear Your Story!

Often, when I do presentations for catechists around the country, I ask my crowd, by show of hands, how long they have been a catechist: newbies? 1–5 years? 5–10 years? and so on. I’ll never forget how one woman, at a presentation in Texas, had her arm up through 40, 45, 50, and 55! I finally just asked her how long she had been a catechist, and she proudly announced, “60 years!” as the crowd […]

Sometimes the Young People Surprise Me

Sometimes the young people surprise me. Such was the case at the beginning of Lent, when I led a session on the season that focused on Christ’s temptation in the desert. I asked the young people what they already knew about Lent. An informal assessment of their previous knowledge, the question gave the students an opportunity to tell me things such as the season was 40 days and that they got ashes on Ash Wednesday. […]

Teaching Children about Angels

Teaching about angels is something that I weave throughout the catechetical year. There are so many ways that angels pop up in different contexts. My overall learning goals in teaching about angels are for the children to know: (1) Angels are unique and special beings created by God; (2) angels serve as God’s messengers and servants; and (3) everyone has a guardian angel. I want my students to recognize angels as special beings created by […]

Storytelling (Video)

Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. How can we get in touch with our stories of faith? Watch this video introduction to the topic. Read the post that inspired this video: Sharing Stories of Faith. Sharing the Wisdom of Time is a collection of stories about elders from around the world. From over 30 countries, elders share their wisdom carved from lifetimes of experience.

When it Comes to Learning Styles, What’s YOUR Bias?

We don’t like to think of ourselves as biased. To be biased is to have a preference or an inclination for one thing over another. Some biases are hurtful and prejudicial, such as if one is biased against a certain ethnicity. Other biases are more benign, such as having a bias for a hard copy book over an e-reader. As a catechist, you most likely have a bias you’re not aware of: a bias for […]

Teaching Early Childhood Is Not Just Fun and Games

Whenever I would tell folks that my inclination is to teach older children—eighth grade or high school—some would remark, “Oh, I admire you for teaching the older kids. I could never do that. I teach the little ones.” In response, I would always say, “Oh, I admire you! I could never teach that age group!” And that’s the truth! I don’t have the gift of connecting with the “wee ones” of early childhood (pre-school, K, […]

What Lenten Hymns Teach

Editor’s Note: With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, today we highlight one of the activities from our popular 40 Ideas for 40 Days feature. While organized according to the 2019 calendar, the activities aren’t limited to just one day of Lent. Check out 40 Ideas for 40 Days here. Today’s Lenten activity is an opportunity for catechists to reach those young people who are more musically inclined, tapping into the musical/rhythmic intelligence of some of your students. […]

Gathering Activities

Grabbing the attention of young people can be challenging when they go straight to their classrooms after being dropped off. With young people arriving in staggered fashion, straggling in one at a time, we need to have something for them to do as they arrive. Enter the gathering activity. What’s What? Page—Finding God Grade 7 includes a review page at the end of each chapter. Sometimes I use these as a pre-assessment before the session […]

Sharing the Wisdom: Lessons from Mom on War, Peace, and Prayer

Twelve-inch painted ceramic statues of Jesus and Mary are permanent fixtures on the bedside table of my mother, Caridad Ragasa. The painted-on hair, cheeks, and hands are partially worn off, evidence of my mother’s daily caresses. As a child, I witnessed her kneel before the statues in prayer every morning and evening. I marveled at her persistent daily devotion, which for years I never fully understood. Finally, as a teen I asked, “Mom, when did […]

Sharing the Wisdom: Wisdom from My Aunts

My parents taught me the importance of spending time with our extended family. My parents are gone now, but my husband and I would visit my aunt Jean—my father’s oldest sister, who was also my godmother—twice a month until she died this past December. We would also visit my mother’s oldest sister Lorraine, but not as frequently, since she lived several hours away. Reflecting on the faith-filled lives of these women, I recall three lessons […]

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