H.E.L.P. with the 4 Pillars of the Catechism

I was thinking this morning about how to explain the Catholic faith to someone in such a way that it can be grasped in simple terms (no easy task for a faith that is actually quite complex). It occurred to me that the Church already provides a simple structure for talking about our faith through the “4 pillars” of The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer. Even so, I was looking […]

Team Work!

I look forward to a couple of opportunities to work as a team with the other 8th grade catechists. First, this Monday, we will show the Church History timeline Powerpoint to the other 3 classes that have not seen it. My class will be run by Kris, my aide, and the other 3 classes will gather together in one room for the presentation. We will divide up the periods of church history so that each […]

What Color was Jesus?

Last night, as part of our meditation, I showed the young people a number of different images of Jesus from around the world and over many centuries. Included in the images were depictions of Jesus as an Oriental, as Native American, as Black, and other dark-skinned peoples. When we were finished, one young man came up to me and asked, “Not to be racist or anything, but how come some of those pictures showed Jesus […]

Catholic Tradition – It's the Network!

I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the Verizon commercials with the message “It’s the Network,” showing people on Verizon wireless phones backed up by a huge crowd of Verizon workers who represent their support network. The message is clear: wherever you go, the network is there with you. It occurred to me as I was talking with a group of catechists last night at a faith formation session, that we can think of Catholic Tradition […]

Powerpoint Went Well

The Powerpoint presentation I did last night on Church history went very nicely. First, I would say that the kids were intrigued at the notion of a “high-tech” religion class. They got a very clear message that “something was up” for that night’s class. It’s always good to communicate the message, as they arrrive, that “there is most definitely a plan for this session and I need YOU to fit into that plan ASAP!” Second, providing […]

Using PowerPoint

I’m going to try something different tonight. I’ve put together a Powerpoint presentation on Church history. It’s the first time I’ll be using this technology in this particular setting (a weekly religious education session). If you don’t know what a Powerpoint presentation is, here is a brief explanation: PowerPoint is a graphics program by Microsoft that allows you to produce a professional-looking presentation made up of a series of “slides.” The slide presentation, which can […]

Live Deep, Not Fast

A colleague of mine attended a workshop on adolescent ministry given by Dr. Robert McCarty, executive director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. She shared her notes with me and I was struck by one thing that Dr. McCarty emphasized over and over again: he said that we must teach our young people to live deep, not fast. I absolutly love that notion and I plan to share it with my young people […]

Prayer is NOT "E.T. Phone Home"

For last Monday’s session, as we were focusing on the nearness of God, I began by showing a 5-minute clip of the movie E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial). The clip is the very beginning of the movie that shows how E.T. gets left behind on earth. Most of the kids had seen the movie before so, after a little trip back to their early childhood, I asked them to summarize the plot of the movie. Simply […]

Congratulations, 8th Graders…You Just Meditated!

Last night saw great improvement in the kids’ behavior and ability to participate more maturely in reflective prayer (meditation). By the way, one of the boys asked at the outset of class, “Are we gonna pray again like last week?” I got a kick out of that because he was one of the kids who had trouble being still the previous week, although he was not a problem per se. I think he enjoys the […]

A Little Magic

I like to do science experiments in religion class from time to time! They make for good attention-grabbers. Tonight, our focus is going to be on the nearness of God and our textbook emphasizes the fact that, since the Enlightenment, advances in science have led many people to conclude that God is not actively involved in creation. The textbook goes on to show that science helps us to understand how God’s creation works while Scripture […]

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