Praying with a Classroom Visitor

The DRE told me that one of the parish priests would be stopping by sometime during class to talk to the young people about becoming altar servers. He was visiting several classrooms, and I didn’t know how much time he would spend in each one nor the order in which he would visit. So I started class knowing that at some point we’d have a visitor, though I didn’t know exactly when. Of course, he […]

Thanksgiving Poems

My school celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge food drive for a local food pantry. Classrooms of older students are paired up with classrooms of younger students. This food drive really ignites our school as the pairs of classrooms compete to bring in the most food and win a pizza lunch. My classroom celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing stories. I have the children write a poem called “A Story of Thanks,” that gives thanks using each of […]

Getting Children Involved in a Prayer Service

We often hear about the importance of full and active participation in Mass and in our communities. As catechists, that should be our goal for every class. One way I’ve gotten my students involved is through classroom prayer services. In my early days as a catechist, I thought first-graders would be too young for an activity like this. I assumed they wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough, or read well enough, or understand the […]

Handling Sensitive Conversations

I will never forget a moment in my tenth-grade classroom when the students were sharing all the different ways that our parish family and our own families have helped us to grow in faith. During the conversation one of my students tearfully burst out, “You all keep talking about your mother and father! But my mother is in jail, and I have never met my father. The Church isn’t a family; it doesn’t care about […]

Helping Parents Model Catholicism (Video)

Because children are so strongly influenced by their parents, we need to do all we can to equip parents with what they need to model Catholicism for their children. Enjoy the below overview video of how we can help parents do this. Read the post that inspired this video: Helping Parents Model Catholicism for Their Children.

How to Build a Sense of Community in Your Learning Space

Every faith formation experience should strive to form community since we, as people formed in the image and likeness of a Triune God, are inherently communal. It is in community that we experience Christ and are formed in Christ. The National Directory for Catechesis reminds us that, “Catechesis prepares the Christian to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church.” (20) In his book, The Intentional Christian Community […]

Accompaniment Requires Trust

One of the key phrases in our current conversations about evangelization and discipleship is what Pope Francis has described as the art of accompaniment. To accompany someone is to walk along with that person on his or her journey. It is important to recognize, however, that a prerequisite to accompaniment is trust! If someone is going to allow us to walk with him or her on the journey, that person needs to know, first and […]

Chosen to Be a Catechist

Jesus, your choosing me gives me a sense of my place in the world, a sense of purpose. You are not waiting until I become a better person; you choose me here and now. What do you want me to do with my life today? —Sacred Space: A Little Book of Encouragement This might sound over the top, but for me, this quote truly characterizes my life. It certainly didn’t describe me 30 years ago […]

Planning the Year’s Calendar

Some years are easier to plan out than others when it comes to the sequence of lessons in faith formation. This year, however, proved to be more difficult than usual. In my parish, the catechists have the flexibility to teach lessons in the order that works best for them. The DRE advises us to make sure our sequence of lessons coincide with the high points of the liturgical calendar. So I sat down with my […]

Prayer Sticks

Last winter, a teacher friend of mine posted a photo of her classroom showing her “task sticks” for her students. On each stick was written a specific task for the student who held it, such as “line leader,” “pencil patrol,” and “librarian.” I was trying to think of a way to engage my class in prayerful habits during Lent when I saw her task sticks. I thought I could borrow her idea and make “prayer […]

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