10 Things Catechists Can Learn from Mister Rogers

Recently, we at Loyola Press were blessed with a visit from Hedda Sharapan, who worked alongside Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for over 50 years and continues to serve as a consultant for Fred Rogers Productions. (BTW, our Loyola Press President, Joellyn Cicciarelli, also worked alongside Fred Rogers for a stint early in her career.) Hedda shared some wonderful stories and profound insights about child development, which were at the heart of Mister Rogers’ success. […]

Praying with Second Graders

The longer I am a catechist, the more I feel the need to focus on prayer with the children in my classes. For so long I limited prayer to the start and end of class, and I encouraged the children to memorize traditional prayers. But I didn’t do much else. Now I lead the children in exploring new and varied ways to pray so they can grow in their personal relationship with God. Early in […]

Confirmation Apprenticeship at St. Sylvester Parish in Chicago

The General Directory for Catechesis states clearly that faith formation is to be an “apprenticeship” in the Catholic way of life (#67). This means, of course, that faith formation cannot be limited to the transmission of information but must invite one into a way of living that is transformational—one that changes our minds and hearts. For Catholics, part of our way of living involves practicing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, since we believe that […]

Celebrating the Wisdom of Elders

Encourage the children, youth, and families in your parish or school to acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from the wisdom of the generations in your community. Download resources inspired by Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends, including: An Intergenerational Event to gather families together to recognize and honor the gifts and wisdom of the generations. Family Prayer Box activity for any classroom. How Do I Help Celebrate the Wisdom of the Generations? […]

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 […]

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