Shepherd’s Flock: One Parish’s Experience with Adaptive Catechesis

Certainly, everyone in catechetical ministry understands that all students—including those with special needs—are called to witness the Gospel. Every parish has children whose needs may not be adequately met in the typical classroom approach to faith formation, and my parish is no different. For more than a decade, our Shepherd’s Flock program has been ministering to students with learning challenges. Some are on the autism spectrum; others have Down syndrome or other genetic disorders. The […]

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 […]

Preparing Students for Reconciliation

Once or twice a year all the children in our parish religious education program celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation during class time. For most of them, this is the only time they will receive this sacrament during the year. With that in mind, I spend some time preparing these children to celebrate Reconciliation. I start preparing a few weeks before they will celebrate the sacrament. I don’t go into too much depth at […]

Evaluating the Marian Learning Stations

When I wrote about the Marian learning stations, I might not have been realistic about what we could accomplish in the time allotted. Because I wanted to keep working groups small—three or four people per station—I went with more stations than I should have. As a result, we ran out of time before everyone could get through all the stations, especially since each activity took a different amount of time to complete. The idea, you […]

My Vocation as a Catholic School Teacher

When I was a little girl, my big brothers teased me when I told them what I wanted to be when I grew up: “First I want to be an artist,” I had told them, “then a teacher, then a mommy, then a ballet dancer, and then a nun!” I guess I wanted it all. Now that I am older, I know that a job and a vocation are different, and part of my job […]

An Act of Creativity: Make a List

Let’s approach the new year with some encouragement to organization. Do you ever feel like this? There’s so much to do that I don’t know where to start. I think of everything I’m responsible for and everything I’d like to accomplish, and I panic—and sometimes I cope by doing nothing at all. Time to make a list. When life gets cluttered, it can be a good thing to get a huge sketchpad and just list […]

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 […]

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 […]

Marian Art, Advent, and Learning Stations

With both the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (a holy day of obligation) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December, and the readings in the second half of Advent telling Mary’s story in the days before Jesus’ birth, this is the perfect time to teach the children in our classes about Mary. I realized in my planning my Advent arc of activities this year that the Finding God art prints […]

The Boy in the Back of a Nativity Painting

Long-time catechists may find themselves going back to the tried-and-true activities that they’ve used before with predictable outcomes. But sometimes breaking out of that cycle can be a good thing. For a number of years, I would print out artwork that depicted the Nativity. I had 15–20 images from various artists. The first-grade children and I would sit in a circle on the floor, and I would show the images to the class and then […]

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