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 […]

Saints in the Classroom

My classroom is filled with statues, icons, and pictures of saints. These holy men and women who lived heroic lives of virtue and great charity constantly inspire me. I hope they inspire my students too. I am always looking for ways to help my students learn about the saints. Our school celebrates All Saints Day with a kindergarten parade. They dress up as their favorite saint or as a saint who shares their name. (The […]

Three Lessons from Mary, the First and Best Catechist

For any dedicated catechist, having a devotion to the Blessed Mother should be part and parcel of our spiritual lives. Mary, as the first and best catechist, provides a model for our own ministry of catechesis. Three aspects of the life of Mary, drawn from Evangelii Gaudium, serve as a guide for our ministries: 1. Finding God in All Things 2. Pointing to Jesus 3. Seeking Out Help Finding God in All Things St. Ignatius […]

Sacramental Preparation Should Rely on a Language of Mystery

When my mom was 13 years old and unbaptized, she hung around with her best friend Ramona who, like the rest of her family, was a practicing Catholic. Once, when my mom went with Ramona’s family to Sunday Mass, she observed them all go up to receive Communion and come back to their places to kneel in prayer with a look of joyful contentment on their faces. After Mass, my mom asked Ramona’s mother, “What […]

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: Moses, Deliverer of His People

This is the third article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. Moses’s name might conjure up images of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments or the 1998 animated film The Prince of Egypt. Moses’s life was so dramatic that it still inspires us today. His story is also part of our Salvation History. Through Moses, God saved his people. This tale is so important that it is retold […]

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