Like Learning a New Language, Faith Formation Requires Immersion

My New Year’s resolution this year was to learn Spanish. I was all set: I signed up for a 10-week course, purchased some resources, downloaded some apps, and began the journey. I made some good progress at first, especially as a result of the classes, and even spent extra time while on the train each day going over lessons and learning vocabulary. Then I hit the wall. My class didn’t meet for a couple of […]

Year-End Baseball Review

Our parish ends the faith-formation year on the Sunday before Memorial Day, so even though there are still lessons we want to cover, we use the last class as a fun review day. In Washington, D. C., we root for our hometown baseball team, the Nationals, so I tease the last class by telling them the week before that we’ll be playing baseball during our last class. Before class, I lay out a baseball diamond […]

Aren’t We Blessed?

At a reception after the Easter Vigil, one of the newly baptized came up to me. He’s an eighth-grader and was prepared to receive the sacraments through RCIA for youth. I’ve only met him a couple of times, but he seems like a great kid. He had been invited to attend one of our religious education classes by a friend. A personal invitation by another teen is what started the process. God took care of […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

This is the fourth article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) Happy are the catechists who help young people find God in all things, for they will find God in them. “I’m sorry Carrie was absent last night,” began the e-mail from the parent of one of the young people in my […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are They Who Mourn

This is the second article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Happy are the catechists who can take time to be with God, for they will find the joy of knowing God’s love. A few weeks ago, I attended a catechist training at my parish. We went over safety procedures and were shown how to use […]

May I Speak to Vincent, Please?

This is an excerpt from Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25¢ at a Time by Jane Knuth. September 27 is the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul and therefore, by association, it is also the feast day of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. There are still times when I get caught unprepared for a rush on a particular saint, but that’s not going to happen this September 27. I have ordered a box […]

Take Time to Celebrate

At the end of the religious education year, there’s often a flurry of activity—final preparations for First Communion and Confirmation, May Crowning, early start on registrations for next year, and catechist recruitment before summer break. But it’s important that we take time to celebrate the year completed and savor its graces. Our parish did that in a tangible way with a special dinner for catechists and others who make religious education possible: crossing guards, aides, […]

10 Memorable Moments in Catechesis

Editor’s note: Today we kick-off a celebration of our 10th anniversary here at Catechist’s Journey. Ten years ago, Joe Paprocki started writing about the joys and frustrations of his classroom catechetical experiences. Since that time, we’ve welcomed a group of regular contributors to this blog to share their wisdom and experiences in the field of religious education. In honor of our anniversary, we’ll have special posts all this week and next Monday (the actual anniversary […]

The Gift of a Less-Than-Perfect Year

Another year of faith formation classes has come to an end, and I’ve got a big smile on my face and a few tears in my eyes. This has been my sixth year of teaching third-grade religious education classes at my parish, and as I look back on the year, I know I will happily sign up to teach again next year. This wasn’t my best year. I missed classes due to illness; I didn’t […]

Hidden Gems the Holy Spirit Hides

When I think about how I teach my class, I tend to highlight those lesson plans that were spectacular or sessions when I left feeling confident that that my students truly understood the lesson. I tend to forget—or ignore—those times when I felt “off,” when I didn’t prepare as much as I would have liked, or when I lacked confidence in my own understanding of the material. However, I have found that those classes are […]

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