Pop-Up Catechesis: Crafting Faith

Did you realize that the Bible begins with a craft activity? The Creation stories of Genesis chapters one and two tell us that, out of the Divine imagination, God crafted the heavens and the earth, animals and plant life, night and day, oceans and sky, and human beings. That’s quite a craft activity! For this reason, crafts have always played a part in faith formation and deservedly so: when we craft something, we are imitating […]

eLearning: What Have We Learned? What Do We Need to Learn?

Here we are in January, 2021, halfway through a teaching year unlike any other! Because of the pandemic, many Catholic school teachers and catechists needed to jump into the world of eLearning and still face the possibility of several more months in the eLearning world. We here at Catechist’s Journey would like to help by offering the following: First, we’d like to host a conversation right here about what you have learned about eLearning and […]

A Prayer for Catechists: Apprenticeship

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. See the related article: What Exactly Is Apprenticeship in Faith Formation?

Make This Word Part of Your Catechetical Vocabulary: Mystagogy

When I worked for my Uncle Joe at his pharmacy back in the day, he once had me use his car to make some deliveries. With the sun shining in my eyes, I pulled down the visor, which resulted in a number of small slips of paper falling into my lap. I glanced at the slips of paper and saw a list of words with definitions. When I asked my uncle about those slips, he […]

Leading Guided Reflections with Second Graders

I’ve shared before how I introduce my second graders to a variety of prayer experiences. However, my favorite prayer experiences with them are guided reflections. In a guided reflection, I lead the children step-by-step to imagine meeting Jesus, talking with him, and listening to him. I’m thankful that my God’s Gift books include guided reflections paired to several of our lessons. Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts also includes guided reflections at every grade […]

You. Look. Great: A Marian Reflection for Catechists

Pregnant with twins and in her third trimester, Sarah—a catechist on maternity leave—settled into the chair next to me at the café. She let out a huge sigh and closed her eyes. “Yes, I’m quite pregnant,” she said. “Whenever I encounter another person there are just three words that I’m interested in hearing: You. Look. Great.” After sharing a good laugh, she continued, “Seriously, though, I’m not looking for compliments. ‘My soul proclaims the greatness […]

Prayer and Storytelling with a Digital Twist

In my book, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith, I emphasize the need for meaningful experiences of prayer and effective storytelling as crucial elements for a more evangelizing catechesis. As a Church, we have been praying and storytelling for more than 2,000 years, so these are nothing new. What is new, however, is the digital world of which we are all now citizens! The digital world has opened up […]

Engaging Children Online

Like many others, my parish has turned to virtual faith formation classes. Last spring, we had a few virtual sessions to close out the year, so I got a sample of what was in store. The difference this year was that I had never met any of my students in person, and I wondered how I could engage them. I mailed each child a postcard to say welcome to the class. I e-mailed each family […]

Areas of New Emphasis and Adaptations in the New Directory for Catechesis

This is part four of a four-part series on the new Directory for Catechesis. Previously, I reviewed the emphasis the new Directory for Catechesis places on the term kerygmatic catechesis and the process of evangelization. In this article, let’s look at some of the areas of added emphasis, adaptations, and changes in the new directory. In the preface to the directory, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization indicates that this document has “room for […]

Being, Knowing, and Doing

When we speak of someone being a well-rounded person, we are referring to the fact that that person is fully developed and possesses knowledge, capabilities, and skills in a wide range of areas. Catechists are most definitely called to be well-rounded! I was thrilled to see that the new Directory for Catechesis continues to use the language of the previous General Directory for Catechesis that insists that catechist formation be “three dimensional,” focusing on the areas of […]

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