Storytelling (Video)

Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. How can we get in touch with our stories of faith? Watch this video introduction to the topic. Read the post that inspired this video: Sharing Stories of Faith. Sharing the Wisdom of Time is a collection of stories about elders from around the world. From over 30 countries, elders share their wisdom carved from lifetimes of experience.

When it Comes to Learning Styles, What’s YOUR Bias?

We don’t like to think of ourselves as biased. To be biased is to have a preference or an inclination for one thing over another. Some biases are hurtful and prejudicial, such as if one is biased against a certain ethnicity. Other biases are more benign, such as having a bias for a hard copy book over an e-reader. As a catechist, you most likely have a bias you’re not aware of: a bias for […]

Teaching Early Childhood Is Not Just Fun and Games

Whenever I would tell folks that my inclination is to teach older children—eighth grade or high school—some would remark, “Oh, I admire you for teaching the older kids. I could never do that. I teach the little ones.” In response, I would always say, “Oh, I admire you! I could never teach that age group!” And that’s the truth! I don’t have the gift of connecting with the “wee ones” of early childhood (pre-school, K, […]

Gathering Activities

Grabbing the attention of young people can be challenging when they go straight to their classrooms after being dropped off. With young people arriving in staggered fashion, straggling in one at a time, we need to have something for them to do as they arrive. Enter the gathering activity. What’s What? Page—Finding God Grade 7 includes a review page at the end of each chapter. Sometimes I use these as a pre-assessment before the session […]

The Power of Witness and Appropriate Self-Disclosure in Faith Formation

St. Paul VI once wrote, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi) As someone who recently transitioned from youth minister to third-grade teacher at a Catholic school, I’ve been seeking a balance between my identities of witness and teacher in order to bring my students closer to Jesus. I have been on too many retreats where “witness […]

Incorporating Movement into Faith Formation Sessions

One of the young people in my group asked if we’d be moving around at all during the session. It hit me as a necessary reminder that I need to be intentional about incorporating movement into my sessions. While not every session has elements of movement that bodily-kinesthetic learners might appreciate, I try to include varied activities such as: Learning Stations—I’ve been incorporating sacraments learning stations into my classes for several years now, and last […]

Let’s Stop the Catechetical Pendulum from Swinging!

Recently, I came across an article in America Magazine that caught my eye: “How Can We Strengthen Faith Formation Classes?” The article by Becca Meagher and Claire Shea, both ministering at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, MN, makes a compelling argument for a more relevant and creative approach to adolescent catechesis. Permit me to begin by thanking Meagher and Shea for their excellent contribution to the ongoing conversation about effective catechesis. Perhaps the […]

How to Build a Sense of Community in Your Learning Space

Every faith formation experience should strive to form community since we, as people formed in the image and likeness of a Triune God, are inherently communal. It is in community that we experience Christ and are formed in Christ. The National Directory for Catechesis reminds us that, “Catechesis prepares the Christian to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church.” (20) In his book, The Intentional Christian Community […]

Accompaniment Requires Trust

One of the key phrases in our current conversations about evangelization and discipleship is what Pope Francis has described as the art of accompaniment. To accompany someone is to walk along with that person on his or her journey. It is important to recognize, however, that a prerequisite to accompaniment is trust! If someone is going to allow us to walk with him or her on the journey, that person needs to know, first and […]

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Paired Interviews

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my mini-series on creative approaches to reading from a textbook. As I noted in earlier posts, reading from a textbook is only one strategy in our entire arsenal of approaches, albeit a significant one since we are a Church of Tradition, which must be faithfully transmitted. In this post, we explore a strategy known as “paired interviews,” a strategy which is very effective for interpersonal learners, who […]

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