Whether you work with little children, teenagers, or adults, you are not alone in catechetical ministry. These posts highlight stories from catechists and faith formation leaders in the field, sharing the ups and downs of their work.

When an Activity Doesn’t Work So Well

Sometimes when I add an activity I made up to the session, it works out great, but a recent session proved a reminder that sometimes it doesn’t. The chapter called for introducing the idea of different literary forms found in the Bible, as part of a discussion on apocalyptic literature and ultimately, the struggle between good and evil. I thought it would be fun to play a game to begin our session, so I came […]

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Teaching Young People How to Meditate

Just as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, catechists are called to teach young people how to pray. As a Secular Franciscan, prayer is not something I do; prayer is who I am. When I teach young people how to pray, I am sharing with them the essence of who I am. I recently had the privilege to share my prayer life with a group of eighth- and ninth-graders. Specifically, they invited me to teach […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Teaching Children to Pray the Rosary

I love teaching the Rosary to my first graders. The Rosary helps them learn important prayers, highlights Scripture stories, and keeps their hands occupied when we are sitting together in a circle. In May I hand out rosaries to each student, usually a week after they learn the Hail Mary. I explain that they were blessed by a priest earlier in the day. (One year, I actually took a photo of our pastor with his […]

Teaching Math with the Saints

I love the saints. These holy men and women of God not only teach me about how I can live my life as a daughter of God, but they help me teach math as well. This year our principal asked all teachers to have their students work on word problems every day. Since my math book has so few word problems, I had to write my own that I tailor to different saints. For example, […]

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