So Much Can Happen in 75 Minutes! (Part 2)

So, after we spent some time in discussion and praying for their classmate Joe who had died suddenly last Friday (as I described yesterday), I transitioned the young people into a guided reflection. I had planned on doing the guided reflection first this week as opposed to saving it to the end of class. It turns out that this was probably a good thing since they were already in a prayerful state of mind. Thank […]

So Much Can Happen in 75 Minutes! (part 1)

In many ways, last evening was a typical class. At the same time, it occurred to me just how much can take place in the 75 minutes we spend together! As a result, I have a lot I’d like to tell you about concerning last evening’s class, so I’ll spread it out over the next couple of days. First… As the young people were gathering, one of the young men asked, “Are we going to […]

Virtual Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis

Last week, a National Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis was held in Baltimore with 100 invited guests (academics, bishops, practicioners, and leaders of various disciplines related to adolescent catechesis). The goals of the symposium were: to identify factors that affect adolescent faith formation and their implications, to develop a common language that will help establish standards for effective adolescent catechesis and its assessment, to establish tools for addressing the creation of comprehensive youth faith formation programs. […]

Catch-Up Catechesis – Kids Out of Sequence

I hate the phrase “catch-up” catechesis but you know what I’m talking about…kids who come to R.E. programs having missed some years of R.E. and having missed reception of First Penance, First Communion, or Confirmation. Think this is a small problem for DREs? Think again. I recently asked a number of DREs to share some thoughts on this issue and here is a glimpse of what I got. You’re welcome to add your thoughts and […]

Authentic Evangelizers: You Don’t Have to Become Flanders!

I’m still interested in hearing more suggestions about how kids can evangelize (in the spirit of St. Paul) in practical everyday ways…see my post from yesterday. We have to find ways of helping kids to be authentic evangelizers and Christian witnesses. One thing they fear greatly is being stereotyped. They don’t want to be viewed as a type of “Flanders” – the character from The Simpsons who (along with his kids Rod and Todd) is the […]

How Kids Can Learn from Saint Paul

Lots of people have been asking me about resources for the Year of St. Paul to use with kids. To be honest, most of the resources I have come across are simply books or articles. Good stuff, but not a lot about activities we can do with kids. Lo and behold, this coming Monday, the chapter I’m teaching is about Peter and Paul telling the world about Jesus! So now I’m searching far and wide for something […]

Acceptable Immaturity

Last night, I gave a presentation to a small group of Confirmation students and their parents at a suburban Chicago parish. The kids sat as a group and the parents were scattered around them in the church. My presentation was on Living the Mass. I thought the kids were very well behaved and I complimented them on their behavior, especially after a very long day. Afterward, when talking to the DRE, I repeated that I […]

What If I Don't Want to Be Confirmed?

One of my students has asked me the following question twice now in 4 weeks: “If we don’t want to be confirmed, we don’t have to right? It’s supposed to be our choice, right?” I’ve told her both times that she is correct but that this is a decision she needs to talk over with her parents. Obivously, there’s something going on there. I hope to find an opportunity to chat with her to see […]

Sometimes I'm My Own Worst Enemy!

As you probably already know, when I teach class, I like to bring in lots of variety for the kids to make the session very engaging. What’s funny is that, I sometimes end up getting them stirred up! Indeed, sometimes, I am my own worst enemy! When I show a video clip, play a contemporary song, or do a game or activity, their level of energy increases as does the need for me to keep […]

A Definition of Insanity

Albert Einstein once offered the following as a definition for insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Too often, in catechesis, we fall into this trap. I was recently speaking with a junior high catechist who was lamenting the fact that last year, her kids were so quiet (not shy but recalcitrant) that it was painful to teach them. They refused to speak, save for one student. I was talking to […]

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