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.

The Key to Effective Family Catechesis: Adult Faith Formation

Recently, I shared information about our exciting new Family Catechesis programs from Loyola Press. I can’t emphasize enough that the key to an effective family catechesis program is the formation of the parents and that, if you are taking the time to form parents well as part of a family catechesis approach, you have “killed two birds with one stone”—you have not only introduced a new model for children’s faith formation, you have successfully implemented […]

Relaxing Prayer

I prepared my students to pray with a guided reflection, telling them that using their imaginations to have a conversation with God might take some practice. I gave them permission to “not get it” the first time. This was important for establishing trust and tone. I then played the “Called by Name” prayer track from the CD that came with our Finding God program and sat down with my students to participate in the imaginative […]

Saints in the Classroom

My classroom is filled with statues, icons, and pictures of saints. These holy men and women who lived heroic lives of virtue and great charity constantly inspire me. I hope they inspire my students too. I am always looking for ways to help my students learn about the saints. Our school celebrates All Saints Day with a kindergarten parade. They dress up as their favorite saint or as a saint who shares their name. (The […]

How to Prepare for Class

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell—and so says any catechist who wants to be effective. But how do we prepare for class, especially when we might have just a few minutes before each session? I’m not talking here about planning the session in terms of what to teach and what techniques to use, but the immediate preparation on class day before the young people arrive. Here are five […]

Being a Catechist in Two Parishes

I first volunteered to be a catechist 14 years ago at my home parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer when my son was preparing for his First Holy Communion; a few years later, a friend mentioned that our neighboring parish, St. Jude, was in need of additional catechists. I volunteered to be a substitute catechist, but soon became a regular catechist there, where I also prepared children to celebrate First Holy Communion, which has […]

Low-Tech Ideas for Engaging Students

You don’t need the latest technology to capture your students’ attention. They’re probably so plugged in during their day that low-tech (or no-tech) activities will seem novel. I have created a variety of resources with nothing more than markers and construction paper. Add variety to your lesson by incorporating activities that use low-cost teaching supplies. Make sure that whatever you create has a learning component to it. Flash Cards Buy pre-cut flashcards or simply cut […]

Four Ways to Meet Them Where They Are

By now we’re all settling into our routines for the year and getting to know our students. Inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who advised “meeting them where they are” as the starting point for conversation, I’m wondering, do we meet them where they are? In order to take this Ignatian approach, we need to get to know them. Beyond playing a few get-to-know-you name games, which have their place, how do we go deeper […]

Teaching the Rosary

During October and May, I focus on teaching and praying the Rosary with my third graders. Since the Church honors Mary during these months, I want to make this time extra special for my students by passing on my love for Mary. I do this by making each student a twine rosary and giving them the materials for a keepsake Rosary prayer book. Each year our students are asked to bring a rosary from home […]

Family Catechesis, Adult Faith Formation, and Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

Perhaps the biggest challenge that I hear catechetical leaders and catechists talk about is reaching the parents of children in religious education programs. Over the past half-century or so, the Church has done a very effective job of training parents to drop off their kids at religious education classes so that “we”—those involved in the parish catechetical program—can teach them the Catholic faith. Years ago, when families and communities reinforced Catholic values, teachings, and practices, […]

Praying with Families in the Classroom

Prayer is essential for a relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the most important responsibilities we have as catechists is to help our students develop a life of prayer. I encourage my students to find ways to pray with their families, and to facilitate that I invite parents and younger siblings to be part of our prayer circle at the end of each class. While children haven’t yet learned to be self-conscious about prayer, parents […]

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