The Medium Is (Part of) the Message: Digital Resources for Faith Formation

Back in the 1960s, communications theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message,” suggesting that the primary focus of communication is not the message but the medium itself. While I have personally concluded that McLuhan’s statement is hyperbole, I acknowledge that it contains an essential truth: the medium we use to communicate affects how people receive the content. As a child, I became a Chicago Cubs fan even though I lived on the […]

The Little Red-Haired Boy

I was sitting at my desk after checking in on each of the faith formation classes. An aide from the first grade came into the office with a young boy. He had bright red hair, freckles, and a scowl that said he knew he was in trouble. The aide told me that she and the catechist had tried everything to get this boy to behave in class—time out, sitting with the aide, making sure they […]

Forming Catechists, Part Three: Doing

Welcome to the final installment of our series on the three dimensions of catechist formation: Being, Knowing, and Doing, this time focusing on the dimension of Doing. When I was in college, I decided I wanted to become a teacher, and I wanted to teach religion at a Catholic high school. To achieve this, I double-majored in theology and history, and I also minored in education for the purpose of achieving a teaching certificate for […]

Forming Catechists, Part Two: Knowing

We continue our look at the three dimensions of catechist formation: Being, Knowing, and Doing, this time focusing on the dimension of Knowing. In their book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton suggest that the “de facto dominant religion” among today’s young people in the United States can be thought of as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”  They surmise that this “religion” is characterized by the following beliefs: A […]

Five Tips for Teaching Children with Autism

Deacon Larry Sutton, author of Teaching Students with Autism in a Catholic Setting, shares five of his tips for making the academic year enjoyable and productive for teachers and students. Watch the below video for a preview of the hints, and then read the full article that inspired the video: Five Tips for Teaching Children with Autism.

Becoming a Catechist: Sharing Our Stories

One of the most compelling means of persuasion is storytelling—especially stories from one’s own experience. For that reason, storytelling has a significant role to play in evangelization and catechesis. Often, however, when I speak to catechists about sharing their stories, their initial response is, “But I don’t have a story!” The truth is, however, that all of us have a story to tell; in fact, we have many stories! All we need is a little […]

Forming Catechists, Part One: Being

Early autumn, which coincides with the beginning of many religious education programs, is a good time to pay attention to forming catechists—especially those who are new to the ministry and are eager to learn the knowledge and skills needed to proclaim the Good News effectively! With that in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at the three dimensions of catechist formation: Being, Knowing, and Doing. These will ensure that your catechists are fully […]

Helping Young People See a Path by Setting Goals

I have long-argued that one of the problems with how we form people in faith is that we don’t present Catholicism as a “spiritual path.” Too often, we present it as a set of doctrines to adhere to or simply a way of belonging to a group of like-minded people. This explains why so many young people end up being attracted by New Age movements or Eastern religions that present themselves as a spiritual path […]

Resources for Putting Parents First During the Catechetical Year

Whenever we fly somewhere and listen to the instructions from the flight attendants, we are reminded that, if there is a sudden drop in pressure and the oxygen masks come down, adults should put their own masks on first and then assist their children in doing so. The logic is simple: adults will be needed to assist young people throughout the crisis and beyond. We need to take the same approach to our faith formation. […]

Finding God in Beauty: Visio Divina

Over the Church’s history, it was known—long before anyone had heard of multiple intelligences—that some people learned better through visuals. This was especially true during times when average folks were illiterate. Today, even though most people are literate, many people (including yours truly) consider themselves visual learners. For some people, visuals are also helpful for prayer experiences. For this reason, the Church has a tradition that parallels lectio divina (“divine reading” or reflection on the […]

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