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 […]

Seeking the Lost

Most of us catechists would prefer to “preach to the choir.” In other words, we tend to hope that our classes will have good participants who are enthusiastic about faith formation. I know I do. Today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus came to seek out the lost. This Gospel challenges us catechists to pay special attention to those participants in our group who are “lost.” I pray that this week as I teach, I will […]

Like a Dream

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I am blessed with a wonderful group of 8th graders! Tonight’s first class (I couldn’t wait till the morning to write this post!) went like a dream. I have 15 eighth graders – 8 boys and 7 girls – and from the moment they walked in, I could tell they were going to be a good group. They were polite and friendly, very outgoing, and very respectful. I […]

Catechists As Faith Coaches

In today’s world, the concept of “coaches” has really grown. Now, we not only have coaches for sports, but we have business coaches, relationship coaches, life coaches, and so on. (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just Google life coaches and you’ll see what I mean) I like to think of catechists as “faith coaches.” I used this term last night when I spent the evening with the 6th grade families at St. […]

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

Elton John had a song some years ago titled “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.” He’s right and this morning I learned the hard way. While parallel parking this morning near the train station, the woman parked in front of me suddenly started waving her arms and yelling, while pointing at her bumper, “YOU HIT ME!!!” I’ve parallel parked thousands of times and I know when I “hit” someone. I told her I hadn’t […]

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