Service as a Catalyst for Missionary Discipleship

The corporal works of mercy play an important part in discipleship. When acts of service are planned to intentionally proclaim the Gospel and treat all people as if they were Jesus in disguise (see Matthew 25:34–40), they are a catalyst for initial and ongoing conversion. In her wisdom, the Church outlines a systematic and comprehensive process of evangelization and faith formation that nurtures conversion. This process of evangelization includes the following five stages. Pre-evangelization Initial […]

How Introverts Learn: Intrapersonal Learning

When delivering presentations, I often ask participants to raise their hands if they consider themselves an introvert. Usually about 40% of hands go up, to which I reply, “OK, almost half of you, and then a number of you didn’t raise your hand because you’re an introvert!” The truth is, I count myself in this category. Now, you may be surprised to learn that I am an introvert, but to be one doesn’t mean that […]

Learning by “Talking Things Out”—Interpersonal Learning

I have to admit that, as an introvert (technically speaking), I tend to cringe a bit when a facilitator or speaker tells us participants to turn to a neighbor or group of neighbors and engage in discussion. It’s just not my style. Of course, when I do follow instructions, I find that I meet some wonderful people and learn some amazing things! At the other end of the spectrum are people who are eager to interact […]

If a Young Mr. Spock Were in Your Religious Education Class

Sometimes I like to imagine what it would have been like to teach Catholic faith formation to either a famous or a fictional character. Recently, I thought to myself, “What would a catechist do if a young Mr. Spock showed up as a student in religious education class?” Of course, you remember Mr. Spock, the fictional character from Star Trek, who was half-human and half-Vulcan: an alien species that operated solely on logic and eschewed emotion. […]

There’s a Hymnal in My Bible!

If you’ve ever questioned the significance of music when it comes to our faith, consider the fact that, right before the halfway point of our Bible, you will find a hymnal—the Book of Psalms! Although we do not have the original melodies of these song-prayers, we do know that they were put to music and used in Temple worship. In addition to the presence of a hymnal in our Bible, also know that music appears […]

Storytelling as a Tool for Evangelization

Often, when I travel to different parts of the country, people quickly spot my Midwestern/South side of Chicago way of talking. The way we speak and act can often “give us away,” as when Peter denied Jesus after the bystanders said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” (Matthew 26:73) The big question is, can people spot us as being citizens of the Kingdom of God? Does the way we talk […]

Why Some Kids Just Can’t Sit Still—And Shouldn’t

“Sit still!” What catechist, teacher, or parent hasn’t uttered those words to a squirmy child? Some children simply love movement and thrive on experiencing reality through bodily movement. For them, sitting still is akin to closing their eyes to a reality that they prefer to access through movement and experimentation. Their constant movement is not necessarily an inability to pay attention but is a desire to use their bodies to experience life. Experts refer to […]

Auditory Learners: Whoever Has Ears to Hear, Let Them Hear!

Jesus famously said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear!” (Mark 4:9) The truth is, some people learn best, not by reading, seeing, or doing, but primarily by hearing. In order for auditory learners to truly receive and integrate information, they need to hear it. If we as catechists rely on lecture, that will be good for auditory learners; however, we need to remember that only 30% of learners are auditory learners, so the lecture-only […]

Visual Stimulation for Those Children Who Hear “Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah”

I’m sure you are familiar with the sound depiction of adults speaking in any of the Charlie Brown cartoons—a sound created by a trombone similar to “wah-wah-wah-wah.” For some visual learners, this is what a teacher’s voice can sound like. As a visual learner myself, I realize that often when I am listening to instructions, at some point the voice does indeed sound like the trombone-noise from a Charlie Brown cartoon! What does it mean […]

Active Learning That “Sticks”

I’ve always been a proponent of active learning—making sure that learners are actively involved in the process of accessing new information—and I’ve written about this here previously. Now, let me give you a specific example that I find very effective. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stickers! Who doesn’t? I know that my wife and I found stickers to be one of the best ways of keeping our kids occupied on car rides. […]

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