Artistic Beauty Can Lead the Human Heart to God

In a general audience in August, 2011, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of art in the life of faith, saying that artistic beauty can lead the human heart to God. “Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God,” said the Holy Father. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, we are all drawn to beauty. In fact, […]

May Crowning Update

Last week, I posted about the beautiful Catholic tradition of May Crowning and my quest to find out how to either acquire or make a small “crown” for my backyard Mary Statue. As it turns out, the miniature floral crown that I ordered was WAY too mini! So, instead, I went to Michaels and found resources to make my own which I placed on Mary on Mother’s Day! I’m just a regular Martha Stewart!   […]

Lenten Family Mission – Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish, Park Ridge, IL

This week, I have had the privilege of preaching a Lenten Family Mission at Mary, Seat of Wisdom parish in Park Ridge, IL, on the theme of the Mass (drawing from my book, Living the Mass). It has been an extraordinary experience of grace and I thank the good people of the parish for their strong turnout each evening of the Mission. Last night, I focused on the Liturgy of the Word and how it […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: A Sense of Direction

Ask all of your students to stand up and, on the count of three, to point north. Inevitably, there is some confusion…not all have their bearings! Explain that we can rely on a compass to help us get a sense of direction. Make a simple home-made compass. You will need a magnet, a sewing needle, a shallow aluminum baking pan filled with water, and a small piece of Styrofoam (2 in. x 2 in.) Hold […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days: A Declaration of DEpendence

Lent is a time for us to declare our independence from sins that have been impinging on our freedom and to declare our DEpendence on God! Prepare your own “parchment” to use as a Declaration of DEpendence. Here is a picture of one I prepared next to a replica of the real thing.  Any sheet of white newsprint will do. The thinner the paper, the better. I like to use a sheet from an easel […]

Winners of Finding God Video Contest Announced!

Here’s a chance to see some of the creativity of young people as they put together videos to visualize the meaning of finding God in their everyday lives. Congratulations to the winners! The videos entered in this contest showed creativity as students and teachers worked together to visualize the meaning of finding God in their daily lives. The Winners of the 2012 Finding God Video Contest are the following: First Place Finding God at St. […]

Teaching the Bible to 6th Graders Last Night

As one of my “catechist-at-large” responsibilities, I did an introduction to the Bible last evening with the 6th graders at Most Holy Redeemer parish in Evergreen Park, IL. It was a very enjoyable experience. Here are the details: There were about 30-35 kids present along with their 3 catechists and 3 aides. Each child had a New American Bible (although there were 2 different editions which precluded me from relying on page numbers. I don’t mind, […]

Legacy Mural Workshops

While in Green Bay, WI, last week, I met an artist, Connie Greany, who offers a unique way to reach people and allow them to express themselves through ceramic mural creation. The workshops she offers result in a beautiful mosaic created by the participants. She has a brochure (no Web site) that describes the workshops and provides information on scheduling and costs. You can contact Connie at 920-257-8597 or at cgreany@sbcglobal.net. Here are some pics she […]

The Catechist’s Toolbox Sweeps into Winnipeg, CA!

I received the most incredible unsolicited endorsement of my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, from the Archdiocese of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada! The Director of Catechetics and Faith Formation, Judy Vermette, sent me the following. (the prayers she is referring to are the prayers at the end of each chapter). Hi Joe, The Archdiocese of Winnipeg and the Archdiocese of St. Boniface have collaborated to bring your book “The Catechist Toolbox” as the theme for a […]

9/11 Prayers for Peace

I received the following from Jennifer about what her class did on 9/11 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy and to pray for peace. Great job, Jennifer! Joe, I thought you might appreciate what my 8th grade CCD class did on September 11. I’ve copied the email sent to their parents. I’m so proud of them. Thanks, too, for The Catechist’s Toolbox and recent webinar on teaching jr. high classes which have been great […]

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