Scripture Gives God a Face and a Voice

Imagine getting into a conversation with a friend and asking him/her to tell you about his/her spouse or some other significant person whom he/she claims to love, and he/she comes up completely blank—unable to describe what that person looks like, what personality characteristics he/she has, or what stories reveal that person’s essence. You would no doubt be suspicious (and rightly so) about whether or not your friend truly knows this other person or if this […]

Teaching Children the Lost Art of Being

In today’s world, there is a lot of emphasis placed on knowing and doing and not so much on being. In other words, we find ourselves focused on what we know and do and not enough on who we are. As catechists, we have the privilege of helping those we teach to develop a deeper understanding of who they are in relation to a loving God, in whose image they are created. One of the primary […]

The Saints and Election Day

The Feast of All Saints, falling on November 1 of each year, is celebrated on the doorstep of Election Day in the United States. This annual coincidence provides us with an opportunity to make a connection between the lives of the saints and our civic duties. Pope Francis explained that “an authentic faith…always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it….If indeed ‘the just […]

Reconciliation Resources: A Story of Reconciliation and an Examination of Conscience

If you’re preparing children to receive First Reconciliation or planning a Reconciliation service for your school or parish, here are two resources to help. A Story of Reconciliation is a readers’ theater script presenting the story of the prodigal son/forgiving father, as found in Luke 15:11–32. Use it with children preparing for First Reconciliation, or present the story as part of a lesson on the parables. You may want to invite parents to—or involve them […]

The Saints: Our Catholic Heroes

When I was a young boy, I collected baseball and football cards. I traded for my favorites and found ways to pass on those I didn’t care for to other individuals. As an impressionable child, I saw these athletes as my heroes. They were famous, rich, and able to bring their teams to victory even when defeat seemed imminent. I cannot imagine the hours I must have spent over the span of my life memorizing […]

Teaching the Daily Examen to 4- to 6-Year-Olds

One of the hallmarks of Ignatian prayer and spirituality is, of course, the Daily Examen—a prayerful way to review your day to recognize God’s presence and movement in your everyday life. We tend to think of this prayer as an adult exercise; however, many catechists and school teachers have found that this prayer is easily adaptable to children and can serve as a great tool for introducing young people to the contemplative aspect of our […]

Archbishop Romero, Paul VI “Headline” Canonizations October 14, 2018

At major concert events, it is customary to announce which performers are headlining. On October 14, 2018, the Catholic Church will canonize seven Blesseds, but there is no doubt who is “headlining” the event: Archbishop Óscar Romero and Pope Paul VI. Here is the lineup: Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff; Óscar Arnulfo Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, martyr; Francesco Spinelli, priest, founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Most Holy Sacrament; […]

Marian Devotions for the Classroom

I love Our Blessed Mother! My devotion to Mary is easily shared with my third graders. In my classroom there is a print of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a statue of Our Lady of Grace, and a poster of Mary, Undoer of Knots. Even more images of Mary can be easily shown on an interactive whiteboard. When we celebrated the Queenship of Mary, I found 20 different […]

Sacraments Matching Game

Our celebrations of the sacraments are signs of Christ’s presence in our lives and a means for receiving his grace. Help children identify the Seven Sacraments by playing a fun matching game. This downloadable game can be printed out and played in sacramental preparation sessions or as a review for children of all ages learning more about the sacraments. Even catechists or teachers can enjoy playing after reading my Living the Sacraments: Finding God at […]

Encountering God in the Silence—Shhh!

In my years of experience as a catechist, I have always sought to provide those I teach with experiences of silence which, according to St. John of the Cross, and, more recently, Fr. Thomas Keating, is God’s “primary language.” At first, the young people are often uncomfortable with silence, because they experience so little of it in our society. Gradually, however, with some coaching, they can learn to view silence, not just as empty space, but as […]

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