Peer Observation

I think that one of the most effective ways to grow as a catechist is to be able to observe another catechist in action. I learn a lot by watching the techniques that other catechists use as well as observing the rapport that they develop with their students. Of course, arranging peer observation is not easy. For many of us, the only time that other catechists are teaching is when WE are teaching. That doesn’t […]

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 […]

First Guided Reflection

Monday evening, I led my 8th graders in their first guided reflection. We were focusing on the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit helps us to pray. I invited the young people to make themselves comfortable…most chose to sit or lay on the floor. The guided reflection I used is from the Finding God program and is on a CD. After getting the young people to shift gears, I turned down the lights and put […]

Beyond Words

The famous French mime, Marcel Marceau, passed away Saturday. He entertained people through gestures, facial expressions, and body movement for over 50 years without uttering a word onstage. His philosophy was simple: “Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?” I believe that this philosophy lies at the heart of Catholic sacramentality (Marceau, by the way, was a French Jew). We celebrate the most moving moments of our lives – […]


My DRE included the following in her weekly e-mail update. I like this: Watch your thoughts:  They become your words.  Watch your words:  They become your actions.  Watch your actions:  They become your habits.  Watch your habits:  They become your character.  Watch your character:  it is your destiny. 

They All Talk At Once!

I received an e-mail from a catechist named Betty who mentions a discipline problem she faces in her sessions. Here’s her e-mail, followed by my response. I am a volunteer religious education teacher in a small parish. I teach the 9th and 10th grades as one class of 13 students. They are a great group of teens. I find it quite challenging but very rewarding. Challenging may be somewhat of an understatement at times.  As we are trying to have discussions […]

Week 2 Went Well

Week 2 of religious education went very well. I remembered most of the kids’ names (next week…no name tags!) and they continued to be very well-behaved. We went to church for an opening prayer service and the pastor did a nice job of speaking to the kids about the upcoming year and talking about Jesus as the key to our salvation. Next week, I will be getting a new student with special needs (hearing impairment). […]

Getting Ready for Week 2

Tonight is week 2 for religious education and a big chunk of the time will be devoted to an opening prayer service in the Church. Of course, this provides an opportunity to teach the young people about reverence. In many ways, reverence is a lost art in our society. Simply put, reverence means recognition of the sacred. In the church, we gather in a sacred space, aware of the presence of the Living God. One […]

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