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 […]

Calling Forth Catechists: Your Pool of Candidates

If your efforts to call forth catechists boil down to an “all call” approach (a bulletin announcement inviting anyone to respond to a need), you will not have much success. The most effective way to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist is through personal invitation! One catechetical leader recently told me that, last year, she made 43 individual contacts (either in person or by phone) and ended up with the best […]

Calling Forth Catechists: Why People Volunteer

As you call forth vocations to catechesis, it’s good to know why people volunteer in the first place. Understanding why people volunteer makes it easier to identify and invite people to volunteer. Research shows that people volunteer for the following reasons. Achievement—to learn new skills, accomplish something worthwhile, increase self-esteem Challenge—to stretch themselves, discover gifts and talents Creativity—to express themselves creatively Independence—to undertake a task on their own (separate from spouse or family) Leadership—to develop personal leadership […]

Calling Forth Catechists: A Catechist Role Description

As you set forth to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist, it’s a good idea to have a role description in place to describe what you are calling them to. Be careful not to make your role description so demanding and lofty that not even Jesus would qualify! Keep it simple and basic so as not to scare anyone away but specific enough to narrow the field so that you’re not […]

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