Rediscovering the Value of Crafts in Faith Formation

As families find themselves spending more time together at home during the ongoing pandemic, parents and children alike are stretching their imaginative muscles to fill extra time on their hands due to canceled activities. Many parents are rediscovering the value of doing crafts, especially as a way to teach faith to their children. Too often dismissed as “fluff,” craft activities in religious education can serve as effective concrete expressions of the concepts being taught. They can […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Singing/Listening to Hymns

I have long asserted that if some “Grinch” came along and stole all of our Catholic faith formation textbooks and copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and left us with only a hymnal, we would still be able to teach the Catholic faith! Catholic hymns are catechetical; in other words, they teach us about our faith. One great way to teach children about their Catholic faith is to introduce them to Catholic hymns—the […]

Pope Francis Says… Posters

Decorate your learning space with the inspiring words of Pope Francis. Phrases encouraging joy, prayer, and sharing are paired with vibrant illustrations on a set of posters you can print for your classroom walls. Words and images are from Pope Francis Says… and El Papa Francisco dice…, charming children’s books from Loyola Press. The posters are available in English and in Spanish. Suggestions for Using the Posters Read Pope Francis Says… or El Papa Francisco […]

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 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. What […]

Coloring Pages with Older Students

Another catechist had a coloring page he recommended—“except for the older kids, of course.” I, as the seventh-grade catechist, took the page anyway. While I never want to bore or insult the young people with an activity that is too young for them, I have found coloring pages to be useful activities from time to time. A simple outline to color can help make a point in a learning station, such as an image of […]

Collaborative Religious Art

I love the artwork that adorns the hallways of our school. While we display art made by our students, religious art decorates the building itself: the first-floor hallway ends at a beautiful mosaic of the Madonna of the Streets, and a large cream-colored bas-relief of angels playing instruments greets students at the end of the north stairwell. Most recently, our school has added collaborative art projects made by the eighth-graders as a gift from the […]

Using Visuals to Evangelize in the Classroom

The expression “a picture speaks a thousand words” is particularly apt for the culture in which we live. Image-intensive social media platforms promote sharing through memes, stories, and snippets of information that go viral. For young people, images are not a distraction from the central message but constitute the message itself. Authenticity and thoughtful imaging of the Christian message are particularly important for us as a Church. For those who are in a pre-evangelization stage […]

There’s a Hymnal in My Bible!

If you’ve ever questioned the significance of music when it comes to our faith, consider the fact that, right before the halfway point of our Bible, you will find a hymnal—the Book of Psalms! Although we do not have the original melodies of these song-prayers, we do know that they were put to music and used in Temple worship. In addition to the presence of a hymnal in our Bible, also know that music appears […]

Arts and Crafts in the Classroom for the Non-Artist Catechist

Arts and crafts are not my specialty. I am upfront about this with my students, but I don’t want my lack of art skill to mean that we don’t have any artistic activities in our sessions. I certainly appreciate fine art. I have asked young people to draw pictures as responses to themes we’re discussing. And I do find some projects that I can lead that appeal to the artistic side of young people. What’s […]

“If These Walls Could Talk…” Catholic Walls Do Talk!

This is a picture I took several years ago of my wife, Joanne, pausing to sit and reflect at the Art Institute of Chicago. This is generally what we do when we encounter art: we pause and let it “speak” to us. Art that relies on images, shapes, and objects speaks to us without using words to tell a story. I remember as a young child attending the Latin Mass and not understanding most of it. […]

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