A More Evangelizing Catechesis: What It Means and How to Achieve It

We catechists are constantly bombarded with words and phrases (e.g. divine pedagogy, missionary discipleship, evangelizing catechesis) that are intended to inspire our ministry but often leave us scratching our heads with regards to what they mean in practical terms and how we are to translate these concepts into actual strategies in our faith formation settings. One such phrase, as mentioned above, is evangelizing catechesis. Personally, I am convinced that we desperately need a more evangelizing […]

Microshifts to Create a Retreat Atmosphere

Editor’s Note: This week we’re exploring microshifts we can make as catechists to improve our ministry, inspired by Gary Jansen’s MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. Learn more about the book here. Transformation often comes from small changes, and making these small changes, or MicroShifts, as author Gary Jansen calls them, can improve the faith formation experience for both catechist and young people. Consider how these microshifts can create a retreat atmosphere in the catechetical […]

Five Microshifts for the Classroom

Editor’s Note: This week we’re exploring microshifts we can make as catechists to improve our ministry, inspired by Gary Jansen’s MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. Learn more about the book here. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Begin again today, for up until now, you have done very little.” I love these words of his. They remind me to keep seeking to do more for God instead of resting on what […]

Microshifts for Catechists: Working on Positive Presence

One of my favorite new books from Loyola Press is Gary Jansen’s Microshifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. This book makes so much sense to me, because few of us wake up one day and decide to be evil and accomplish it in one huge fell swoop. We tend to “wade” into unseemly thoughts and actions on a gradual basis, often without paying attention to where we are going until we find […]

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 […]

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 […]

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