Teaching Finding God and Christ Our Life Lessons at Home

Recently, I shared some tips for parents teaching religion lessons at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, I’d like to take a moment to speak directly to folks using either of our Loyola Press programs, Finding God or Christ Our Life, for at-home lessons. As a Catholic publisher, our mission is to provide you with the resources you need to facilitate transformative experiences of God for the children and families you serve. In light of the current […]

A Coronavirus Response Lesson

Any experience in life—whether good or bad—is an opportunity to learn. That holds true for this Coronavirus threat that we are experiencing and enduring. We are all learning how to adapt to the unique situations that we find ourselves in. As always, it is up to us adults to make sure that children are learning the right lessons from the experiences that affect them. With that in mind, Loyola Press has created a special lesson […]

A Prayer for Catechists: Stories of Scripture

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. For more resources on Scripture in faith formation, see: Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation Are You Biblically Animated? Introducing Catholics to the Bible: Free Parent-Child Session “What’s Your Story?” Inviting Children into a Healthy Narrative Bible Bell Work Biblical Literacy for Catechists

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Teaching Young People How to Meditate

Just as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, catechists are called to teach young people how to pray. As a Secular Franciscan, prayer is not something I do; prayer is who I am. When I teach young people how to pray, I am sharing with them the essence of who I am. I recently had the privilege to share my prayer life with a group of eighth- and ninth-graders. Specifically, they invited me to teach […]

Helping Young People Write Intercessions

While many parts of the Mass are always the same (we use the same words for the Gloria; the Holy, Holy, Holy; the Lord’s Prayer; the Lamb of God; etc.), several parts are always different from one Mass to another: the Scripture readings, the homily, and the Prayer of the Faithful. This, of course, gives us an opportunity to invite young people to shape some of the words we use at Mass. In particular, inviting […]

Establishing a Climate of Trust: Growing with GOD

Many experts in leadership emphasize that one of the first priorities of an effective leader is to establish a climate of trust. In other words, people need to know that they are safe in this environment that they are being invited into. This is especially crucial in a faith formation/spiritual environment where people are being invited to entrust their entire being to the Person of Jesus Christ and his Church. Doing the work of establishing […]

Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

In recent years, I have been increasingly convinced of the notion that our lives are guided by a narrative that is shaped by many factors and influences from the day we were born. This narrative colors how we see ourselves, others, and all of reality, including God. This concept is very familiar to people participating in twelve-step groups, since the healing process involves eradicating unhealthy narratives (“stinking thinking”) and replacing them with a healthy narrative. As […]

Overcoming the False Dichotomy Between Faith and Science

As researchers dig deeper into discovering why young people become disengaged from practicing faith, one of the most startling revelations is that, for far too many, the decision to disengage occurs between the ages of 10–13. Most often, the reason given for this disengagement is a preference on the part of young people for science or that which “can be proven.” They are, unfortunately, perceiving (and we are unintentionally communicating) a dichotomy between faith and science, […]

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