A Prayer to Listen to the Holy Spirit

The Scriptures remind us that the voice of God often comes in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11–13). Practice listening for God’s voice, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your group of Confirmation candidates, catechists, or other adults through a prayer service composed by Julianne Stanz. The prayer is inspired by Shhh…God Is in the Silence by Fiona Basile. A copy of the book is needed for the prayer service readings.

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Second Commandment and Living Up to Our Name

I remember one time in grade school when I was called on the carpet by the school principal, Sr. Salome, for some type of misbehavior (nothing too serious, I’m sure). As Sr. Salome verbally chastised me, the words that stung the most were, “That’s not what I’d expect from a Paprocki.” Ouch! As the seventh of nine children who all went to the same Catholic elementary school, I had to live up to the reputation that […]

Preparing Prayer Experiences That Are Authentically Catholic

One thing that many catechists struggle with is how to prepare and lead a simple prayer experience in a faith formation setting. Too often, we find ourselves searching the Internet for an inspirational poem or quote that speaks to the occasion, and we end up reciting that as the prayer while everyone else listens. While such poems or quotes may indeed be inspirational, it is important that our prayer experiences are authentically Catholic. That doesn’t […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The First Commandment and Our Attraction to God

The First Commandment is “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” Each of us has a natural attraction to God, who is always seeking to pull us closer to him as a magnet attracts a piece of metal. Unfortunately, we often let a lot of other things come between us and God. We are attracted to many things that we think will bring us happiness in life. When […]

Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood Activities Pack

Six African Americans are on the path to canonization as Catholic saints. Learn about these inspiring men and women of God through our Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood activities pack. The pack includes video suggestions with the brief biographies of: Venerable Pierre Toussaint Servant of God Mother Mary Lange Venerable Henriette Delille Venerable Father Augustus Tolton Servant of God Julia Greeley Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA After learning about these holy […]

A Diversity of Saints

When I was in parish ministry, our faith community was gradually becoming more ethnically diverse. When a nearby parish was closed and merged into our parish, a small but vibrant community of Black Catholics added to the richness of our diversity. While making plans to welcome our new parish members, I realized that not one of the images of saints in our church and parish center were people of color! For All Saints Day that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Celebrating the Feast of St. John Paul II

While many of us folks of a certain age think of Pope St. John Paul II as a contemporary, many of our young people probably would consider him as “ancient history.” After all, he passed away in 2005, which means that none of our pre-K through grade 8 children have a living memory of him. Likewise, those college-age young adults who may have vague memories of him from their childhood probably only recall him as […]

The Saints as Missionary Disciples: St. Martin de Porres

This is part two of a series exploring saints who lived as missionary disciples. Amid all the upheaval that we have recently undergone and are still going through, we sometimes forget that the saints also lived during times of intense disunity, strife, and racial tension. St. Martin de Porres reminds us of the necessity of compassion, particularly during times of difficulty and division. What can his witness teach us about missionary discipleship? Let’s explore his […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Teresa of Avila and the Doctors of the Church

When we think of doctors, we tend first to think of medical doctors working in hospitals and medical centers, caring for sick people. However, there are many other kinds of doctors. Someone who has earned a doctorate in his or her field is seen as one who has achieved the most advanced degree in an academic discipline. Such doctors are regarded as authorities in their fields. In the Catholic Church, there are several dozen—36 to be exact—saints […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Calming Effect of Praying the Rosary

Many contemplative practices involve the use of a mantra, or the repetitive uttering of a sacred word or group of words (or sometimes a sound) in order to deepen one’s focus, avoid distractions, and create a sense of calm that permits one to enter into an “altered state.” Too often, Catholics are suspicious of such practices, thinking of them as foreign to our tradition. Nothing could be further from the truth! One of the best examples […]

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