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.

Facilitating a Small Group Online: St. Andrew Parish in Chicago

For years, it seemed as though faith formation at the parish level tended to lag behind the rest of the world when it came to taking advantage of technology. That all changed with the pandemic, didn’t it? Suddenly, we realized that, if we wanted to reach people, we would have to enter the online world. One successful example could be found just a few blocks away from Loyola Press at St. Andrew Parish, where Pastoral Associate and Director […]

Connecting with Middle Schoolers on Zoom

In the past few months, I learned that middle-school students know what is going on in the world and are deeply affected by it. I learned that they understand the power of prayer, especially in interceding for others. I learned that they turn to God when they are scared. I learned that they love their families intensely. How did I learn this? I learned it during our weekly Zoom calls, during which I offered them […]

Connecting Generations Choice Board

Encourage connections between generations with our new choice board that invites children to learn about and develop deeper relationships with their elders. Give children choices by asking them to select and complete a set number of activities from the board: three-in-a-row, any four, or whatever number you choose. Activities include options for children to interview their grandparents, write a song, make a chart, and more. Celebrate a loved elder’s birthday, honor Grandparents Day, or mix […]

Creating an Online Presence in One Week: A Tale of One Chicago Parish

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in mid-March because of the pandemic, many parish religious education programs found themselves facing unimaginable challenges. The main challenge, of course, was how to reach families and children who still had another six weeks of faith formation sessions left in the catechetical year. Many catechetical leaders and catechists all over the country responded with heroic efforts to sustain their programs through virtual contact. One such parish is St. Sylvester, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Blessing Your Children and Other Family Rituals

In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we look at the practice of blessing your children and other family rituals. Ritual actions have a way of conveying the sacred that words alone are incapable of. Children especially love rituals, because they communicate a sense of comfort and security, which can be particularly important during uncertain times such as this COVID-19 crisis. For more information about the power of rituals and especially rituals in the home, see the […]

“Flat Catechist” Encourages Faith Activities at Home

Like many catechists, I found myself in a strange, new place this spring when the coronavirus closed our parish and required us to suspend all activities. I was determined to find ways to stay connected with my first-grade class. I knew the parents were already feeling overwhelmed, so I wanted to create easy and engaging activities that would make them want to participate with their children. I also wanted to create something that had a […]

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 […]

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