Confirmation Scavenger Hunt

I read an article about researchers who analyzed data from hundreds of novels. They discovered that there are only six basic story types. I found this quite liberating; as a writer, I can have fun mixing the types of stories to create something new. I sometimes take a similar approach to my catechetical ministry and mix some ideas that were shared here at Catechist’s Journey. This past spring, I did that while hosting a virtual […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: If I Were a Church Hymn

One of my favorite musicals of all time is Fiddler on the Roof. Of all the wonderful songs in that musical, my favorite is “If I Were a Rich Man,” in which Tevye dreams about what it would be like if he were a wealthy man. Over the years, I have borrowed from that title to engage people in a fun activity I call, “If I Were a Church Hymn.” In this activity, participants think […]

Faith Reading Camp

Host a Faith Reading Camp for children at the parish, school, or right at home. Loyola Press makes it easy by providing a camp calendar with suggestions for five days of fun. Each day, wherever your camp is, read a children’s book together, complete activities based on the book, and pray for intentions inspired by the book’s themes. And since camp wouldn’t be complete without snacks, our calendar includes snack time suggestions inspired by the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Filling Your Home with Joy

The notion of a happy home can seem Pollyannish, given the complexities of family life in today’s very complicated world. Perhaps that’s because we tend to confuse the words happy and joyful. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is influenced by exterior conditions, for instance sunshine makes me happy. But we all know that exterior conditions are not always favorable. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-down gladness grounded in the love of Christ that […]

Pope Francis Announces Major Recognition of Lay Catechists

Pope Francis has announced that the role of catechist will now be recognized as a formal instituted ministry in the Church! While many, if not most Catholics, already considered the role of catechist to be a ministry, the Pope’s announcement in the apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium raises it to a level of official recognition by the Church as an instituted ministry. The Pope’s letter making the role of catechist an official ministry in the Church is not […]

Catechists as Teachers and Mystagogues

I’m sure you’re familiar with the word guru, someone who acts as a spiritual guide for others based on the notion that the spiritual path—the quest to connect with the Divine—is best not traveled alone. St. Teresa of Ávila said as much when she wrote in The Interior Castle: It is very important for us to associate with others who are walking in the right way—not only those who are where we are in the journey, but also those who […]

The Question of Doubt

In a recent class, one of the young people asked if it was OK to doubt aspects of religion. I was happy for this question, because I think others probably wonder the same thing but are afraid to ask. I told the young lady it was absolutely OK—and normal even—to doubt, but that she also had to consider why she was having doubts about a particular issue. For instance, was the doubt due to struggling […]

Hidden Heroes Helping Me in My Catechetical Vocation

I make it a daily practice to ask the Lord to bless the people I love, people I like, people I have no strong feelings for one way or another, and people I have strong negative feelings toward. I will imagine as much detail as I can about each person, hold that image in my heart, and pray, “Peace, Lord, give this person peace.” The biggest challenge for me in this practice is to think […]

A Prayer for Catechists: Using Technology

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. This year asks many of us to try new technologies in spreading the Word of God. What has been your experience with technology in faith formation?

Pop-Up Catechesis: The World Day of the Sick

Let’s face it: being sick is no fun. Serious illness is one of the most depressing things we can face in life. Not only does it make us feel powerless, it also makes us feel alone and isolated. For this reason, the Church encourages us to practice the corporal work of mercy of visiting the sick. Even if we can’t care in-person for those who are sick—especially during the pandemic—we can let others know that […]

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