Sharing the Wisdom: Lessons from Mom on War, Peace, and Prayer

Twelve-inch painted ceramic statues of Jesus and Mary are permanent fixtures on the bedside table of my mother, Caridad Ragasa. The painted-on hair, cheeks, and hands are partially worn off, evidence of my mother’s daily caresses. As a child, I witnessed her kneel before the statues in prayer every morning and evening. I marveled at her persistent daily devotion, which for years I never fully understood. Finally, as a teen I asked, “Mom, when did […]

Sharing the Wisdom: Wisdom from My Aunts

My parents taught me the importance of spending time with our extended family. My parents are gone now, but my husband and I would visit my aunt Jean—my father’s oldest sister, who was also my godmother—twice a month until she died this past December. We would also visit my mother’s oldest sister Lorraine, but not as frequently, since she lived several hours away. Reflecting on the faith-filled lives of these women, I recall three lessons […]

Sharing the Wisdom: Stories from Grandma

My grandma may not have been an educated woman—she left school before finishing the sixth grade for health reasons—but she was wise. I recently shared with my family some of the wisdom stories she had left us: Family is important. Every year she went up north from Brooklyn, Michigan to Harrisville State Park, and we often joined her. I never knew why we went to this particular state park in Michigan. I later learned that […]

Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from an Elder

I’ve been seeing another woman for the last 15 years. OK, now that I’ve got your attention, this woman is 84 years old and she is my spiritual director, Maureen. I met Maureen after a presentation I gave about ministry burnout at a time when I was at a low point in my own ministry. I was considering the possibility of seeing a spiritual director to help me through the darkness I was experiencing when […]

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? […]

Good Discussion Questions for Catechist Grade Level Breakout Sessions

As I mentioned in a previous post, I enjoyed a day in the Diocese of Peoria, in particular, participating in a grade-level breakout session for 5th and 6th grade catechists. Some of these grade level sessions can grow tedious if not facilitated well. I like the fact that for these breakouts, the diocese provided questions to guide the discussions. Here they are: Bringing Prayer into the classroom. Are there any regular prayers you use and […]

How’s Your Year Going So Far?

I think it’s safe to say that most catechists are well into their new catechetical year, getting to know their students and their themes. How’s it going for you so far? Pick one of the following hymns (or another one of your choice) that best captures how you feel about this year so far and send in a comment sharing your thoughts: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (i.e. it can’t get much better than […]

An Interesting Update

Some time ago, a catechetical leader shared her comments here about the total revamping of the catechetical program at her parish. I invited her to update us which she has done. Some interesting and innovative approaches: Dear Joe,  I shared with you how we completely revamped our religious ed. program.  You invited me to share more, so “here goes.”   I had been a catechist for about 16 years before I became the Director of Faith […]

The Catechist’s Toolbox Sweeps into Winnipeg, CA!

I received the most incredible unsolicited endorsement of my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, from the Archdiocese of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada! The Director of Catechetics and Faith Formation, Judy Vermette, sent me the following. (the prayers she is referring to are the prayers at the end of each chapter). Hi Joe, The Archdiocese of Winnipeg and the Archdiocese of St. Boniface have collaborated to bring your book “The Catechist Toolbox” as the theme for a […]

9/11 Prayers for Peace

I received the following from Jennifer about what her class did on 9/11 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy and to pray for peace. Great job, Jennifer! Joe, I thought you might appreciate what my 8th grade CCD class did on September 11.  I’ve copied the email sent to their parents.  I’m so proud of them.  Thanks, too, for The Catechist’s Toolbox and recent webinar on teaching jr. high classes which have been great […]

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