Sunday Mass: “Why Do We Have to Go?” (Part Two)

Recently, I posted about the challenge of convincing our children that going to Mass is a priority in our lives, especially when they push back and tell us that it’s boring or that they don’t get anything out of it. Rather than trying to convince them that it will be fun and exciting, it is more important that we concentrate on helping them to appreciate the deeper reasons why Sunday worship—the Eucharist—is so central to […]

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: The Prophets

This is the final article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. What is a prophet? The word prophet means “to speak for.” A prophet, then, is someone who speaks for God. When God wanted to speak to his people, he often chose someone to remind them of the covenant and its promises. Catechists can help students get to know these important spokespersons for God so they can become […]

Sunday Mass: “Why Do We Have to Go?”

We’re all familiar with the question that children ask when we are taking them somewhere they are excited about: “Are we there yet?!” Unfortunately, when it comes to taking our children to church on Sunday, the question often turns into, “Why do we have to go?” It can be challenging for parents who want their children to develop an appreciation for the centrality of Sunday Eucharist, when they receive “push-back” instead of enthusiasm. Try as […]

Hosting a Bible Boot Camp

With the end of the catechetical year quickly approaching, you may be looking for ways to engage older children, youth, and adults in faith formation over the summer. One great idea is to host a “Bible Boot Camp” using my book The Bible Blueprint and the free online Leader Guide to increase Bible literacy, leading to a deeper appreciation of Scripture. Most programs that are labeled as “Bible Boot Camp” are Vacation Bible School programs […]

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: David—Hero, King, and Sinner

This is the fourth article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. David, King of Israel, is possibly one of the most interesting characters in all of Scripture. He was a shepherd, the Lord’s anointed, giant-killer, loyal friend, singer of psalms, ambitious king, repentant sinner, and founder of the House of David, from which Jesus was descended. Because David is such an important person from the Old Testament, it’s […]

Preparing for First Holy Communion

Every year, the number one question from my second graders as they prepare for First Holy Communion is, “Mrs. Coleman, what does it taste like? My brother said it tastes like paper.” My typical response to this concern is, “Does your brother often eat paper?” My concerns as a catechist are a bit different than the children’s. The closer we get to First Eucharist, the more I worry: Are they ready? Do they truly understand? […]

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 […]

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