Announcing a New Online Catechetical Formation Series! And It’s Free!

Recently on Catechist’s Journey, we invited readers to participate in a poll indicating their preferences for catechist formation formats (reading a book, watching a video, attending a workshop or class, or online). Thanks to the many who responded! It is interesting to note how 22% (as of 3/12/2020) of those responding indicated a preference for online learning. And with the coronavirus keeping many of us at home, the option of online learning is helpful. With […]

10 Tips for Teaching Religion Lessons to Your Children at Home

In the midst of this COVID-19 threat, many parents find themselves in the position of doing a certain amount of homeschooling with their children, including teaching religion lessons that would normally be taught in Catholic schools or parish religious education programs. Teaching religion lessons is different from teaching other subject areas, because in faith formation, we do not teach a subject, we facilitate an encounter with Jesus Christ! With that in mind, here are 10 […]

Empowering Catechists

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. (1 Peter 4:10) Empowerment incarnates the wisdom given to us in this Scripture passage. That is, when we empower others, we make space for them to use the gifts given to them by God in service to the community. Empowerment is intentional, communal, and an exercise in interdependence, which, when done well, develops a level […]

When an Activity Doesn’t Work So Well

Sometimes when I add an activity I made up to the session, it works out great, but a recent session proved a reminder that sometimes it doesn’t. The chapter called for introducing the idea of different literary forms found in the Bible, as part of a discussion on apocalyptic literature and ultimately, the struggle between good and evil. I thought it would be fun to play a game to begin our session, so I came […]

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

How Would You Like That “Cooked”? A Poll Question About Catechist Formation

When you go to a restaurant and order an entrée, depending on what you’re getting, the server may ask, “How would you like that cooked?” It’s nice to have options so that the meal will be prepared in a way that suits your tastes. When it comes to catechist formation, we also have many options. Catechist formation can be “served up” in a variety of formats, depending on your preferences and learning style. With that […]

Catechists as Co-Missionaries

Each year when catechists are commissioned on Catechetical Sunday, I envision Jesus’ Great Commission before he ascended into heaven: Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole […]

Traditional Teaching Habits to Avoid

John Barone, co-author of The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities, suggests Five Traditional Teaching Habits to Avoid in an article over at LoyolaPress.com. If you find yourself shushing learners, talking too much, or giving complex instructions, try Barone’s “Try this instead” tips in the article to be a more effective catechist. Read the article here. Also check out Barone’s 9 Strategies for How to Get and Keep Attention, a […]

Teaching Young People How to Meditate

Just as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, catechists are called to teach young people how to pray. As a Secular Franciscan, prayer is not something I do; prayer is who I am. When I teach young people how to pray, I am sharing with them the essence of who I am. I recently had the privilege to share my prayer life with a group of eighth- and ninth-graders. Specifically, they invited me to teach […]

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