Jesus' "First" Words

A lot of attention is often given to peoples’ last words. In the Christian tradition, we focus on the 7 last words of Christ. During this Easter season, I think it is crucial that we pay attention to the Risen Christ’s “first” words – following the Resurrection. “PEACE BE WITH YOU.” These words are so important for us to hear, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. What this world needs is peace […]

Helping Children to Cope with Disaster

We all struggle to deal with tragic and terrible events such as the shooting spree at Virginia Tech on April 16. It is especially important to be aware of how children may be affected by such violent realities. As catechists, we can provide comfort, reassurance and stability. The shooting at Virginia Tech will be the “Columbine” for the children we are teaching. Witnessing television reports about such violent events can result in fear and confusion. […]

A Different Kind of Grail

Since the DaVinci Code came out, there has been much talk about the quest for the Holy Grail, normally thought of as the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Funny how there seems to be little interest in finding another receptacle used at the Last Supper: the bowl with which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Perhaps this bowl is just too mundane for our tastes. Yet, in the same way that […]

What CAN Go Wrong, DID Go Wrong!

A few days ago, I wrote about ten things than can and will go wrong. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one of those things (#9 to be precise) DID go wrong last night! The catechist who was “on” for leading the class last night (I was scheduled to just sort of “co-pilot”) did not show up. I had nothing planned and a room full of 8th graders to keep occupied for 75 minutes! Luckily for me, […]

Pizza Party

With the end of the program year coming up soon, Patti and I are thinking of planning a pizza party for our class following our last session. We’ve received the DRE’s blessing as long as we have permission slips, etc. (the pizza place is right across the street from the church!) Several catechists have commented on this blog that they have done similar things to bring closure to their time together. The program has a […]

What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong

From my experience as a catechist, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten things that can go wrong when teaching a class. These are not in any order. Do these resonate with your experience? What else would you add? Your audiovisual equipment either didn’t show up or doesn’t work You find yourself short on the amount of books, handouts, or materials needed You are emotionally and/or physically run down and can’t find the energy […]

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far…

Patti, my co-catechist, met the mom of one of our students who, to say the least, has been a handful. The mom expressed surprise that she hadn’t received a phone call yet this year since “I get a call from his catechists every year!” The mom went on to express her disdain for continuing classes after Confirmation saying, “I don’t see why that’s necessary.” Patti did her best to explain to her that Confirmation is […]

Taking the Bad with the Good

So 11 of my 14 students came back for class after Confirmation! I’m pretty happy with that because it is a typical weekly absentee rate. We had a good discussion about their Confirmation (once they got past saying “It was too long!”) and an especially good discussion about their service experiences. There are so many highs and lows during any given class. On the one hand, 11 students returned. On the other hand, only 4 […]

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 […]

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