Connecting with Middle Schoolers on Zoom

In the past few months, I learned that middle-school students know what is going on in the world and are deeply affected by it. I learned that they understand the power of prayer, especially in interceding for others. I learned that they turn to God when they are scared. I learned that they love their families intensely. How did I learn this? I learned it during our weekly Zoom calls, during which I offered them […]

Creating an Online Presence in One Week: A Tale of One Chicago Parish

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in mid-March because of the pandemic, many parish religious education programs found themselves facing unimaginable challenges. The main challenge, of course, was how to reach families and children who still had another six weeks of faith formation sessions left in the catechetical year. Many catechetical leaders and catechists all over the country responded with heroic efforts to sustain their programs through virtual contact. One such parish is St. Sylvester, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis Season 2

Thanks so much for the great response to our Pop-Up Catechesis feature. We initiated the series at the beginning of the quarantine as a way of supporting parents with ideas for making faith come alive in the home. Due to the favorable feedback we’ve received, we are going to continue featuring Pop-Up Catechesis here on Catechist’s Journey, with some minor changes. We originally created three episodes per week of Pop-Up Catechesis to respond to the immediate need […]

Connecting Catechists

Every fall, our parish hosts a catechists’ kickoff workshop. More than 100 catechists, substitutes, classroom helpers, and other catechetical volunteers get together for what is always a spirited day of swapping ideas, sharing knowledge, mentorship, and community prayer. Veteran catechists help new catechists, and we get to hear best-practices for each grade level and see how we can adapt them. On-the-spot conversations lead to new approaches for classroom management, teaching techniques, or creative lesson plans. […]

Catholic Faith Formation on Facebook: Join the Group!

Like so many others, I get a lot of my news and information from social media these days. Navigating the terrain of social media requires no small amount of prudence, patience, and discernment in order to wade through the plethora of information and discover the various pearls of great value shared by reliable sources. One such “pearl” from a very reliable source (Loyola Press!) is the Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page that has been around […]

Using Audiovisual Resources Effectively in Faith Formation (Video)

You don’t need to be a techie in order to effectively integrate audiovisual resources into your faith formation sessions. Watch the following video overview of how to use audiovisual resources in the classroom. Read the post that inspired this video (with the six goals): The Effective Use of Audiovisual Resources in Faith Formation.

Videos Are Supplemental

I love showing videos when I teach. However, I have learned over the years that videos are to be a supplement to the lesson. This is especially true in faith formation since our faith is a living, incarnational faith transmitted by living people. Imagine if the Gospel of John said, “For God so loved the world that he sent a video of his only Son, Jesus…” No, Jesus came in the flesh and continues to share […]

Advent in Action: Bringing a Calendar to Life

Catechists and Catholic school teachers are responsible for what can seem like daunting tasks each liturgical season: being creative with lessons that get children excited and involved, and incorporating technology in the classroom. Keven Rinaman of Calvert Catholic Schools in Tiffin, OH, took an approach during Advent 2016 that included both efforts. As Director of Technology and former teacher at Calvert Catholic, Rinaman came up with an Advent calendar project after brainstorming with Barb Gilman […]

Connecting with Your Fellow Catechists

An important strategy for personal growth and success is to network with others. When my son Mike was bogged down working a job that didn’t always fulfill him as he had hoped, I encouraged him to network with clients, which he did. One of those connections led to a new job that he absolutely loves. As catechists, we benefit from networking with one another! As we all gear up for the start of the catechetical […]

Little Video Lessons from the Saints

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me she was going to use one of the videos I filmed for my book Little Lessons from the Saints at her next RCIA session. “Really?” “Yep. I’m leading a lesson on the communion of saints, so it’s perfect. Besides, I think they would get a kick out of seeing you on video.” “Either that or a good laugh.” “Probably both,” she said. A few days […]

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