Saint Paul and How to Evangelize in the 21st Century

By now, you are probably aware of a new movie about to be released: Paul, Apostle of Christ, starring James Faulkner as St. Paul and Jim Caviezel as St. Luke. The movie, to be released next week, is rated PG-13 and tells the story of how “two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus.” (IMDB) As happened when the Church celebrated […]

Engaging Students with a Church Tour

One of my favorite days of the year is when I lead second-graders on a church tour as part of their preparation for First Eucharist. I like to show them and their parents things in the church they might never have noticed or things they may see all the time but not fully understand what they are or why they are there. Before one such tour last spring, I launched into my usual welcome speech. […]

Third Graders and the Ten Commandments

As we move through the school year, my students become more comfortable sharing and asking questions during religion class. I welcome this opportunity to answer questions, and I’m grateful that they can do this in a safe environment that is free of judgment. I want them always to feel that God loves them. When I can’t answer a question, I admit that and promise to get back to them with an answer. If the question […]

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

While I have served as a parish DRE and catechist over the years and have dedicated a great deal of my efforts to supporting parish catechists, I am, myself, a product of Catholic schools, having attended St. Casimir grade school, St. Ignatius College Prep, and then Loyola University of Chicago. My wife Joanne attended the same grade school, the parish high school for girls at St. Casimir, and St. Xavier College (now University), and she […]

Celebrating the Saints All Year

Too often we think the only time to teach about the saints is during November or the end of October as we lead up to All Saints Day. While that is indeed a great time to talk about all the saints, opportunities to learn about the saints exist all year long. As we settle into the new year, let’s look at some of those opportunities. In January, many people like the tradition of picking a […]

Preparing Students for Reconciliation

Once or twice a year all the children in our parish religious education program celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation during class time. For most of them, this is the only time they will receive this sacrament during the year. With that in mind, I spend some time preparing these children to celebrate Reconciliation. I start preparing a few weeks before they will celebrate the sacrament. I don’t go into too much depth at […]

Marian Art, Advent, and Learning Stations

With both the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (a holy day of obligation) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December, and the readings in the second half of Advent telling Mary’s story in the days before Jesus’ birth, this is the perfect time to teach the children in our classes about Mary. I realized in my planning my Advent arc of activities this year that the Finding God art prints […]

St. Martin of Tours Video

In honor of the approaching feast of St. Martin of Tours, Bob Burnham talks about wielding God’s weapons of peace, joy, and love. Burnham is the author of Little Lessons from the Saints. How are you incorporating lessons about the saints in your classes this month? Don’t forget Fr. Solanus Casey will be beatified on November 18, 2017. Download Burnham’s reflection and meditation on Fr. Solanus here.

Relaxing Prayer

I prepared my students to pray with a guided reflection, telling them that using their imaginations to have a conversation with God might take some practice. I gave them permission to “not get it” the first time. This was important for establishing trust and tone. I then played the “Called by Name” prayer track from the CD that came with our Finding God program and sat down with my students to participate in the imaginative […]

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