Welcoming, Accompanying, and Evangelizing Young Families

In his book, Excellence in Ministry (part of The Effective Catechetical Leader series), my good friend Tom Quinlan makes a powerful plea for a significant shift in how we approach families when it comes to faith formation: I like to say that the “cement is wet” at Baptism and that by Confirmation (and even First Eucharist) the cement of family faith identity and practice has greatly or fully hardened. My strong exhortation for parishes today […]

Doing Confirmation Prep Digitally During the Pandemic

While you may be proceeding with plans for an in-person celebration of Confirmation at some point in 2021, chances are that your Confirmation prep is taking place this fall in the midst of the pandemic. Of course, this means that you are scrambling to figure out how to do Confirmation prep remotely! Never fear, Confirmed in the Spirit—the popular Confirmation preparation program from Loyola Press—is now available digitally! This includes the following: Young People’s Book My […]

Helping Parents with Faith Formation at Home

We ended the last catechetical year with many parishes asking parents to work with their children at home on faith formation because of the pandemic. Our hopes were, of course, that we would soon see a return to normalcy and that, come fall, young people and catechists could once again resume in-person sessions of faith formation at the parish. Alas, those hopes have been dashed in many parts of the country where the pandemic lingers […]

Re-Starting Religious Education This Fall: Loyola Press Digital Resources to Assist Parents and Parishes

As the pandemic continues and with fall right around the corner, parishes are making decisions about how to re-start religious education programs safely and wisely. Among the options being considered are: in-person sessions catechists teaching remote lessons parents teaching lessons at home a hybrid or combination of some of each of the above. The bottom line is parishes are looking for versatility and flexibility when it comes to using quality, approved catechetical resources with families […]

Introducing Springs of Faith: A Catechumenal Approach to Infant Baptism Preparation

For too long, infant Baptism preparation has been little more than a “hoop” to jump through in order for parents to have their baby baptized. That’s why I am so excited to share the news about a wonderful new program from Loyola Press: Springs of Faith. I’m proud to be associated with this program as I contributed to the writing of a number of its components and did catechetical reviews of most aspects of the […]

Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation

The God who loves us so abundantly is not some kind of nebulous, amorphous vapor of good feelings. God has revealed himself to us over the course of history through specific words and actions, climaxing in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn, revealed the Father’s love through specific words and actions. These words and actions formulate our narrative—the story of our salvation. When we invite others to enter into a relationship with […]

Advocating for More Robust Catechist Formation

Recently, I had the honor of being invited to present on the topic of catechist formation to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chaired by Bishop Robert Barron. You may well know that Bishop Barron is a leading voice in the country when it comes to the topics of evangelization and catechesis—especially with regards to those who are disaffiliated from the Church. He does this primarily through his Word on Fire ministries. I’ve known […]

Be the Tenth: Gratitude in the Life of a Catechetical Leader

I’ve long been fascinated by the Lucan narrative of Jesus’ cleansing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11–19). Jesus healed all ten, but only one returns to thank and worship him. As catechetical leaders, we often experience Jesus’ healing presence through our ministry. How often do we return to him to express our gratitude? Jesus heals us of apathy and transforms our experience. Children help us see the world through a clear, new lens. Think of […]

Recruiting Catechists Who Evangelize (Video)

Finding catechists who are evangelizers and see themselves as such is the key to a faith formation process that forms disciples. The below video highlights five aspects of the process using the word GIFTS. Read the complete article that inspired this video: Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS. Take a moment and ask yourself: does every activity in my parish point more deeply to Jesus? Julianne Stanz wants to help you and your […]

Calling Forth Catechists: Approaches

It’s important in your approach to calling people to serve as catechists to be positive! I’ve seen bulletin announcements that sound so desperate: “We are in dire need of catechists. We keep losing good catechists every year. Without catechists, we may have to cancel our religious education program!” Language like that makes it sound like you’re inviting someone to hop aboard a sinking ship. Present your program in a positive light, and describe the role […]

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