Does Your Parish Have a Director of the Corporal Works of Mercy?

Recently, as I was searching for a video on the Corporal Works of Mercy, the following caught my eye. It is from St. Michael’s Church in Poway, CA, and features the pastor, Fr. John Dolan, introducing how the parish practices the Corporal Works of Mercy. Within the first few minutes of the video, we also meet Bridget Beas, who is the parish Director of the Corporal Works of Mercy. First, I think it is fantastic that […]

Reviewing and Renewing a Faith Formation Program

After more than 25 years in catechetical ministry, I started to look back on what was asked of me in five different parishes over those years. Some of the answers were to reorganize, create permanent records, minister to families, and all the rest of what we do. At each parish, however, something else happened: the numbers of families joining the program grew; the number of families “coming home” to the Catholic Church grew. What was […]

Using Videos on Your Parish Website

In my book, A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion, I share the following thoughts: First impressions are very important. We all know that. Unfortunately we are not always aware of when and how that first impression is being made. Back in the day, first impressions were usually made face-to-face. With the dawning of the digital age, that is no longer always the case. In fact, in most […]

How to Include Parents in Faith Formation Through Community-Building Family Nights

How do we involve parents in faith formation? This age-old question seems to be getting harder and harder to answer. We seem to live in a “drag, drive, and drop off” culture when it comes to parental involvement in our faith formation programs. We use phrases like “create a culture of expectation,” “invite, welcome, and include,” and “mandate, require, and coerce” when talking about our efforts to include busy parents. But how do we effectively […]

Six Ideas for Taking Care of the Spiritual Needs of Your Catechists

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Christ Our Life faith formation program. It seems so simplistic to suggest that as leaders in catechetical ministry we need to be catechists to our catechists, but that is what the Lord calls us to be. Just as a catechist needs a manual to guide him or her through leading the sessions, so, too, we may also need to provide a spiritual handbook or […]

Tips for Hosting a Book Club at Your Parish

Book clubs continue to be a popular vehicle for social interaction while encouraging and motivating people to read, to encounter ideas they might not otherwise consider, and to talk about their own ideas and thoughts about what they’re reading. Parishes and faith communities can use book clubs to build a sense of community, invite new people to explore the Catholic faith, and experience faith formation. Book clubs can be an excellent vehicle for pre-evangelization and evangelization […]

Communicating Expectations to Catechists

My good friend Tom Quinlan, Director of the Catechetical Office in the Diocese of Joliet, IL, recently sent me a copy of something he shared with his catechetical leaders to help communicate expectations for catechists. I’ll let Tom do the explaining: As a former parish director of religious education, I found it important to provide catechists with a covenant each year. This catechist covenant would detail what was being asked and expected of them in their role […]

Summer Planning for the DRE: Developing Goals and Objectives

“Do you work during the summer?” No matter how often I hear this question, I am surprised by its suggestion. Do others really believe there is nothing to do once the religious education programs wrap up for the school year? Although the pace may slow somewhat (aside from summer programs and Vacation Bible School), most DREs have plenty to keep them busy during June, July, and August. Summer is often a time for me to […]

A Different Kind of Small Faith Group

Last summer, I posted about some ideas for adult faith formation that were less “churchy” sounding but still unabashedly spiritual. I’m working from the premise that we too often approach adult faith formation as attempting to get adults to come to our turf (the parish grounds) to join groups we are forming to study some aspect of the Catholic faith. Instead, I’m proposing that we identify where and around what activities adults are congregating and invite […]

Ending the Year on a Good Note

When we approach the end of faith formation classes for the year, we can be overwhelmed by a flurry of activity. During this period, our highest priorities are the celebration of the sacraments, planning for the final classes, end-of-year meetings, and looking forward to the next year. Amidst all these priorities—as well as tying up any loose ends—we can easily forget to take a step back and reflect on some of the gifts that are […]

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