Creating a Climate of Encounter in Faith Formation

Today, more than ever, we are keenly aware of the term climate because of the issue of climate change. Climate refers to the prevailing weather conditions in a region over a long period of time. In a climate-controlled environment, we can control those conditions (heat, humidity, barometric pressure, etc.) to suit our purposes, such as growing plants and flowers in a greenhouse. A faith formation environment must be “climate-controlled,” not so much in terms of temperature—although we definitely […]

Helping Young People Write Intercessions

While many parts of the Mass are always the same (we use the same words for the Gloria; the Holy, Holy, Holy; the Lord’s Prayer; the Lamb of God; etc.), several parts are always different from one Mass to another: the Scripture readings, the homily, and the Prayer of the Faithful. This, of course, gives us an opportunity to invite young people to shape some of the words we use at Mass. In particular, inviting […]

Organizing Materials

Is your January resolution to get your religious education materials organized? I used to make this resolution every single year. I was pretty good at first, but like so many resolutions, my momentum faded, and by summertime I had a box of things that needed to be filed into folders, and it felt like a huge chore. Now, I keep materials in plastic sleeves in three-ring binders, organized by topics and lessons. Behind each divider, […]

The Influential Catechist

In a previous article I encouraged catechists—myself included—to move ever steadily toward God’s vision for us and the world. On this journey of accompaniment, we influence one another through our acts of Christian discipleship. Charlie is a catechist and influential civic leader. He helped re-establish a medical center in a town near under-served rural communities. He explains, “It often took over an hour for an ambulance to transport patients to a full-service emergency medical facility. […]

40 Small Changes for a Big Year

Editor’s note: This week we’re thinking about small changes we can make for a big year in ministry. As we start a new calendar year, it’s a good time to look at changes we can make in our faith formation settings that will make the most of the time we have left with our groups. Here’s a list of small suggestions, most easy to implement. And these are ideas only, not a checklist. Please don’t […]

Four Small Changes to Revitalize Parish Life

Editor’s note: This week we’re thinking about small changes we can make for a big year in ministry. When I first came to the United States, I was eager to sample the rich food that was new and unfamiliar to me. And so I indulged and over-indulged. To my surprise I found that, one day, I could no longer button my jeans comfortably! “How had this happened?” I thought. Certainly it didn’t happen overnight; it […]

Small Changes for a Big Year: Keeping Our New Year’s Resolutions Real

With the new year upon us, many of us are undertaking New Year’s resolutions, which is all well and good. Unfortunately, many of our resolutions fall by the wayside within a few weeks for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that many of them are simply unrealistic! When it comes to making changes in our habits, the changes need to be realistic and incremental, lest we become overwhelmed and give up […]

Simple Classroom Review Games

Using games in my faith formation class brings an element of fun that results in both engagement and positive responses from the children. At the beginning of almost every session, one of the children will ask, “Are we going to play a game today?” My answer is often “Yes.” Any catechist can take a simple list of questions or vocabulary words and use these for classroom review games with little or no preparation. I like […]

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