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.
Last fall, Joe Paprocki provided 20 tips for catechists. The ninth tip stuck with me: as catechists, we are not teaching a subject, but we are facilitating an encounter with Jesus. All of us encounter Jesus in different ways on any given day, and our students are no different. Offering a variety of prayer experiences for children can open up new ways for Christ to work in their lives. When I’m praying with my first-grade […]
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Lay Ministry Assembly in the Diocese of Saginaw, MI, on the topic of A Church on the Move, drawing from my book of the same name in which I discuss how a Church “on the move” thinks, functions, worships, forms people in faith, and engages the world. In the section of the book on how a Church on the move forms people in faith, I wrote: […]
Lesson planning is critical to the success of any class. With a solid plan, I walk into class more confident, but I build in flexibility in case an activity doesn’t work or if we run short (or long) on time. So, last year, when my Nativity lesson went off track, this flexibility allowed me to let go of my plan and respond to the needs of my students. The result was a powerful message about […]
As I reflect on how my religion class has gone so far this year, I’m struck by how often my third graders tie the concepts they learn back to their families and their relationships with one another. With each concept taught, we share stories about our experiences with our families. Building a comfortable relationship within the class that leads to students sharing family traditions is my favorite part of teaching our Catholic faith. For example, […]
The longer I am a catechist, the more I feel the need to focus on prayer with the children in my classes. For so long I limited prayer to the start and end of class, and I encouraged the children to memorize traditional prayers. But I didn’t do much else. Now I lead the children in exploring new and varied ways to pray so they can grow in their personal relationship with God. Early in […]
The General Directory for Catechesis states clearly that faith formation is to be an “apprenticeship” in the Catholic way of life (#67). This means, of course, that faith formation cannot be limited to the transmission of information but must invite one into a way of living that is transformational—one that changes our minds and hearts. For Catholics, part of our way of living involves practicing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, since we believe that […]
The DRE told me that one of the parish priests would be stopping by sometime during class to talk to the young people about becoming altar servers. He was visiting several classrooms, and I didn’t know how much time he would spend in each one nor the order in which he would visit. So I started class knowing that at some point we’d have a visitor, though I didn’t know exactly when. Of course, he […]
My school celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge food drive for a local food pantry. Classrooms of older students are paired up with classrooms of younger students. This food drive really ignites our school as the pairs of classrooms compete to bring in the most food and win a pizza lunch. My classroom celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing stories. I have the children write a poem called “A Story of Thanks,” that gives thanks using each of […]
We often hear about the importance of full and active participation in Mass and in our communities. As catechists, that should be our goal for every class. One way I’ve gotten my students involved is through classroom prayer services. In my early days as a catechist, I thought first-graders would be too young for an activity like this. I assumed they wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough, or read well enough, or understand the […]
Because children are so strongly influenced by their parents, we need to do all we can to equip parents with what they need to model Catholicism for their children. Enjoy the below overview video of how we can help parents do this. Read the post that inspired this video: Helping Parents Model Catholicism for Their Children.