Building Community with the Communion of Saints

A few weeks ago, I was excited after a session on the saints because the young people in my group were excited too. We enjoyed playing a game, listening to an upbeat saints song, and participating in learning stations to get to know some of the saints. The first activity of the evening was Saints Musical Chairs. I found this game online a few years ago, and the writer shared brief descriptions of some of […]

Connecting Catechists

Every fall, our parish hosts a catechists’ kickoff workshop. More than 100 catechists, substitutes, classroom helpers, and other catechetical volunteers get together for what is always a spirited day of swapping ideas, sharing knowledge, mentorship, and community prayer. Veteran catechists help new catechists, and we get to hear best-practices for each grade level and see how we can adapt them. On-the-spot conversations lead to new approaches for classroom management, teaching techniques, or creative lesson plans. […]

A Vision Statement for Catechists

When my niece was three years old, I bought her a pair of bunny slippers, complete with floppy ears and whiskers. Delighted, she slipped them on and proceeded to march across the living room, calling out, “Bunny!” with each step. She stared at her feet while she marched, which was cute until she came close to bumping into a wall. I called out to her, “Stop!” Startled, yet undeterred, she turned around and marched in […]

Fidelis, the Advent Angel

Celebrating Advent with my second graders is a combination of traditional elements—such as praying around an Advent wreath—along with visits from Fidelis, our Advent Angel, and performing Advent acts of kindness. We start sessions with a short prayer service around the Advent wreath on our prayer table. The prayer service includes a Scripture reading, intercessions, and singing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Since we can’t use lit candles, we tape a paper cutout of a […]

Holding On to the Light of Christ: An Idea for Your Faith Formation Sessions

I have been and always will be an advocate for integrating a “language of mystery” into our faith formation sessions—using signs, symbols, rituals, music, movement, silence, and so on to deepen our awareness of the mysterious presence of Christ in our midst. The following idea flows from that commitment but also has value as a practical, pedagogical tool to enhance the experience of reading from a textbook. I have written before about the role of […]

Considering a Family Catechesis Approach for Next Year? Start Planning Now!

This is a powerful paragraph from the Catechism about the role of parents in faith formation: Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. (CCC 2223) Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Adults

Welcome to the final installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: High School

Today we continue our series, Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the next step in […]

All Saints Day Celebration

My favorite session of the year is our celebration of All Saints Day on the class preceding November 1. It combines storytelling (one of my favorite ways to catechize) and direct instruction with a dose of games that make for excitement on the part of the children. With this session I’m hoping to leave some knowledge about saints and also a positive association with the fun games. I also use this opportunity to get parents […]

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