Will They Be Back?

My 8th graders were confirmed last weekend and then had Monday off (because of a state holiday in Illinois). This coming Monday will be the first post-Confirmation class and I’m curious to see who shows up. We’ve emphasized over and over that Confirmation is not graduation but is the beginning of a new chapter in their spiritual journey. I’m told that the return factor at the parish is pretty good but this is my first […]

Does Homework Work in Religious Education?

Some catechists give “homework” to their students and have success in getting them to complete it. This does not appear to be the culture in the parish I’m at. Things sent home with the kids tend to disappear into a black hole. I know that we’ve struggled with getting kids to bring their books to class (normally we keep their text books at the parish but we experimented with sending home their Confirmation books…only about […]

With So Much Self-Esteem, Who Needs Salvation?

In recent times, there has been a big emphasis in education on building self-esteem. This, of course, has carried over into catechesis (we begin teaching 3-year olds the refrain “I Am Special”). A recent study reveals, however that this emphasis has led to an increase in narcissistic tendencies. My concern is, if we are all so special, then who needs salvation? Of course, self-esteem is important. But so is humility. As Catholics, our self-esteem is grounded in […]

Please…No "Crash Courses" for Catechists

I recently heard a reference to a “crash course” for teaching religion. My understanding of a crash course is a course of study offered to people in an emergency or to people who really don’t want to commit over the long haul. That’s not how I see the role of a catechist. A crash course is the antithesis of life-long learning. A crash course suggests that we can get, in one small package or time period, what […]

The Jesus Tomb – Sunday Night Comedy

I watched a good comedy Sunday evening: the Discovery Channel’s showing of The Jesus Tomb. It was truly laughable. At the same time, I realize that the kids we teach can be very impressionable and might be swayed  by such programs simply because a lot of scientific jargon was tossed around (those of us who are Trekkies refer to it as “techno-babble”…impressive sounding nonsense used in Star Trek episodes to solve seemingly unsolveable problems). With […]

Supporting Our "Rookie" Catechists

Here’s an e-mail from a “rookie” catechist who is getting through his first year with the ups and downs that come with it. Luckily, it sounds like he has good support from his DRE, fellow catechists, and from the catechetical community that gathers here on my blog. Let’s hear it for our rookie catechists!!! Thanks for bringing “new blood” to our ministry! We’re here for you!    After reading your entry about from February 22nd about “When […]

We Believe

A junior high catechist writes that he does the following exchange with his students: If you meet someone at an airport or wherever and said you were Roman Catholic, and they asked what you believe, what would you say? Suppose they were Muslim, Buddhist, or another Christian denomination. I tell them the answer can be found in something we say at EVERY MASS!!! Our Profession of Faith. We then review it word for word, slowly. […]

Child A or Child B?

This is a true scenario about people I know personally. Child A: Her parents were not practicing Catholics (both were baptized Catholic but did not attend Church). Her father was an alcoholic and was abusive toward her mother. She attended public school (both grammar school and high school) and was not enrolled in any form of religious education throughout her childhood. There was no prayer at home and no effort to teach any form of […]

When Being a Catechist is Not Easy

Sometimes being a catechist is not easy. OK, it’s NEVER easy being a catechist! When I get overwhelmed by the challenges we face, I like to remind myself that Jesus faced some pretty difficult “classroom situations” himself:   Matthew 13:57 (Jesus is rejected in his home town) Luke 4;28 (Jesus is thrown out of the synagogue and dragged to a cliff) Mark 11:27 (the crowds challenge Jesus’ authority) Luke 9:51 (a Samaritan town refuses to receive […]

In My Thoughts and In My Words…

Sin begins in our thoughts. It’s no accident that, at Mass during the Penitential Rite, we ask forgiveness beginning with admission of those sins we’ve committed “in my thoughts” and then we add, “and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.” Repentance involves thinking. That’s the primary reason that we practice fasting during Lent – not because food is bad but because eating involves thinking and we […]

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