How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #3: Proclaim Jesus’ Mighty Deeds

Some years ago, TV commercials for a food-processing appliance proudly proclaimed that this new innovation “slices, dices, and makes Julienne Fries!” Today, that phrase continues to be used, tongue-in-cheek, to convince people of the amazing capabilities of any new gadget and is emblematic of what we refer to as the advertising “claim”—the part of the ad that seeks to create a perception of superiority. It is the job of the advertiser to then convince consumers […]

Making Space for Questions

A recent class discussion showed the importance of building trust over time, which allows young people to feel free to ask hard questions. We were talking about the miracles of Jesus (Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 12) and how they showed his love and respect for all people. That led to a discussion on how we are also called to respect the dignity of all life according to Christ’s example and Catholic social teaching. The […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #2: Introduce Jesus as Savior

We began our series on how to be a more evangelizing catechist by talking about the need to proclaim an alternate reality (the Kingdom of God) to our brokenness. Today, we continue by emphasizing that the way to this alternate reality is Jesus Christ and that we are incapable of getting there on our own; we need a divine intervention. I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of an intervention: a carefully planned gathering […]

Videos Are Supplemental

I love showing videos when I teach. However, I have learned over the years that videos are to be a supplement to the lesson. This is especially true in faith formation since our faith is a living, incarnational faith transmitted by living people. Imagine if the Gospel of John said, “For God so loved the world that he sent a video of his only Son, Jesus…” No, Jesus came in the flesh and continues to share […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part III): Echoes of Truth

This article is the third in a series about the word catechist, which comes from the Greek word, “to echo.” “What is truth?” This is a question that we as a culture continually wrestle with; in the last few years, it seems that the truth has been put on trial and found guilty. It is a time when what is presented as true is actually false, and what is false is considered true. Truth seems […]

Engaging Students with a Church Tour

One of my favorite days of the year is when I lead second-graders on a church tour as part of their preparation for First Eucharist. I like to show them and their parents things in the church they might never have noticed or things they may see all the time but not fully understand what they are or why they are there. Before one such tour last spring, I launched into my usual welcome speech. […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #1: Proclaim an Alternate Reality to Our Brokenness

Welcome to the first post in my Lenten series on How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist. In my introduction to the series, I talked about how marketing efforts often rely on nine formulaic strategies for persuading people that they need to purchase the product or service being advertised. They kick off their efforts by emphasizing that something is missing from your life or that something in your life, as you live it now, is […]

Developing Students’ Prayerful Habits During Lent

Over my years as a catechist, I have become firmly convinced that our mission is not as much to teach children about Jesus but introduce them to Jesus. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is very different than only learning information about him. The best way for children, or any of us, to come to know Jesus is through prayer. I introduce and model many experiences of prayer throughout the year; I am especially conscious […]

Lenten Series: How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist

Now that Lent is upon us, it is a good time for us catechists to renew our efforts at effectively proclaiming God’s Word and creating new disciples of Christ. With that in mind, I am happy to announce a Lenten series of posts that I will be writing right here at Catechist’s Journey titled “How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist.” I’d like to begin by introducing you to Claude C. Hopkins, an advertising pioneer and […]

“If These Walls Could Talk…” Catholic Walls Do Talk!

This is a picture I took several years ago of my wife, Joanne, pausing to sit and reflect at the Art Institute of Chicago. This is generally what we do when we encounter art: we pause and let it “speak” to us. Art that relies on images, shapes, and objects speaks to us without using words to tell a story. I remember as a young child attending the Latin Mass and not understanding most of it. […]

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