Asian and Pacific-Island Cultural Encounter and Dialogue

This is the fourth and final article in a series highlighting key statements from Encountering Christ in Harmony, A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters (ECH:API), approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2018. The Asian and Pacific Island population in the United States is the fastest-growing minority population, according to research referenced in Encountering Christ in Harmony. Yet this population “tends to go unrecognized in the […]

Creating the “Aroma of the Gospel” Through Stories

In order to introduce people to Jesus Christ, it is incumbent on us catechists to tell the stories of Jesus’ amazing deeds, beginning with the stories we have in Scripture in which he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the sick, changes water into wine, calms the storm, and raises people from the dead. Too often, we rush to teach doctrinal concepts while those we’re teaching don’t even know the story of Jesus Christ! As catechists, […]

Living the Sacraments Prayer Cards

Each chapter of my newest book, Living the Sacraments: Finding God at the Intersection of Heaven and Earth, includes a prayer, and I’m happy to share today a set of prayer cards with these prayers for each of the seven sacraments. These colorful cards can be shared with a reading group that’s discussing Living the Sacraments or Vivir los sacramentos, given to parents at a sacramental preparation meeting, or included in a catechist’s folder for […]

Introducing Children to the Blessed Mother

Throughout the faith formation year, I devote part of my lessons to introducing the children to the Blessed Mother. Whenever I teach about Mary, my goal is for the children to know that: Mary is our mother; Mary is our best model of faith; and Mary said yes to God, and we can say yes to God too. My lessons on Mary are based on the liturgical year. I begin in October, which is dedicated […]

Mary, a Model for the Ministry of Catechesis (Video)

Mary, as the first and best catechist, provides a model for the ministry of catechesis. Julianne Stanz, author of Developing Disciples of Christ, says that three aspects of the life of Mary, drawn from Evangelii Gaudium, serve as a guide for our ministries. Read the complete post that inspired this video: Three Lessons from Mary, the First and Best Catechist. Find Marian resources here to help you honor Mary during May or throughout the year.

A May Crowning Acrostic

We end our program year with a May Crowning celebration, presided over by our pastor. Generally we can expect opening and closing songs, a reading about Mary from Scripture, a few words from the priest, some prayers, and an eighth-grader crowning the statue of Mary. The statue then keeps the crown for the rest of the month, serving as a reminder to the entire parish of the special evening the religious education students shared. Today […]

Not Done with Prayer Yet

We had just finished a silence challenge, and I called the young people to our regular opening prayer when I was disheartened to hear one boy mumble, “What, we’re not done with prayer yet?” Prayer time is usually not met with such resistance in my classroom. In fact, I think many of the young people enjoy the quiet and reflective experiences built in to our time together, whether they are able to vocalize it or […]

Leadership: A Jewel of Asian and Pacific Island Cultures

This is the third of four articles that explore Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters (ECH:API), which was approved by the USCCB on June 14, 2018. Encountering Christ in Harmony describes some of the unique aspects of Asian and Pacific Island (API) Catholics and recommends pastoral responses based upon four central concerns: Identity, Generations, Leadership, and Culture of Encounter and Dialogue. API Catholics in the […]

First Holy Communion Novena

Encourage families preparing a child to receive First Eucharist with a novena-style prayer to pray at home. Download the First Holy Communion Novena and make copies for parents, instructing them to begin praying 10 days before the day of First Holy Communion. Each day’s prayer time includes parts for children and parents, as well as a suggestion for a family practice for the next day. The text for the novena is from Christ Our Life, […]

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