I Created My Playlist of “Go-To” Hymns!

Not long ago, I posted about creating a playlist of “go-to-hymns” that you can rely on to invite people to sing at any and every parish gathering so that we can more truly and consistently express the joy that is ours in the Risen Christ. Since then, I have been presenting at a number of gatherings (workshops and seminars) around the country where people have made a point of singing joyful hymns and refrains as […]

Changing It Up with a Craft

It was the week when all the students in Texas had to take standardized tests. Even on a good day, my third-grade faith formation class is a squirmy bunch. After being at elementary school all day, doing nothing but taking standardized tests, I knew they would be extra squirmy. I needed to do something different to keep their attention this time. I wasn’t going to follow my regular class plan, so I needed a hands-on […]

When the Craft Is a Challenge

Crafts are an important part of any elementary faith formation program, and there are a multitude of great crafts that are perfect for our faith formation programs. After spending just a few minutes on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ll feel overwhelmed by the number of options. How do we select which crafts to use for our lessons? Sometimes, as a catechist in a parish, we might not even have a choice—the craft activity might be chosen […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 2: Song and Praise

This is the second article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Catechists can encourage children and youth to participate in the Mass by helping them become comfortable with singing and sung prayer and praise. Age-appropriate music should be a regular element in every catechetical session. Most textbook series come with a grade-level CD or music recommendations of common hymns we sing at Mass. That’s a place to start. Certainly, […]

What Would Be Your Parish’s “Go-To” Songs to Sing?

I posted recently about two issues that have made a connection for me: Singing as an Expression of Faith and my Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola. While on the pilgrimage at our stop in Avila, I encountered a group of pilgrims in the town square joyfully singing hymns and clapping their hands, a scene I have encountered before from groups of different ethnicities. On the next bus ride, I lamented to my […]

Arts and Faith

Tips on using art in summer ministry. A contest hosted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans that showcases emerging young artists. An artist who’s painting the first portrait of Pope Francis. These are a few of the stories Loyola Press includes in its second annual series, Arts and Faith. Arts and Faith is a collection of stories about Catholics around the globe who demonstrate the creative ways art expresses and deepens their relationship with God. […]

Using YouTube Videos to Lead Song

One of the techniques that I’ve used with young people to lead them in song, either in a catechetical setting or at a liturgy, is to project a YouTube video with the music and lyrics provided. This works especially well because young people are very visual and are more comfortable with this than with a hymnal or song sheet. Likewise, it is very effective when you don’t have a music minister present to lead song […]

Using Arts & Faith: Holy Week with Young Adults

Following are suggestions for using videos from Arts & Faith: Holy Week with the young adults of your parish. Invite your group to deepen their experience of Holy Week through reflection and discussion of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Since I’m a chronic planner, living in the present moment is always hard for me. I like to think through all the possibilities and then take the next […]

Music Touches the Heart – Especially of Young People

Last night, music took center stage in my session as we we explored the Psalms! We focused especially on the myriad of feelings that are expressed in the Psalms and used contemporary music to capture some of those same feelings. Our emphasis was on the notion that we can talk to God under ANY circumstances and in ANY mood. Since last week was a snow day, not all of the kids remembered to bring in […]

Using Arts & Faith: Christmas with Young Adults

This is a guest post by Pamela Tremblay. Christ’s Birth as an Invitation to Enter the Messiness The reflection states that Christ, “enters messily into the imperfection of our lives.” It then ends with the challenging question of “How will she bring his light to the world?” Young adults are a generation filled with passion and desire to change the world. They want to be people of greatness and are at a time in their […]

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