Discovering the Nearness of God: Anointing of the Sick: Healing as God’s M.O.

Welcome to the sixth installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, with the theme of “Healing as God’s M.O.” When we talk about “thin places” or “thin moments”—when the veil between heaven and earth seems very thin—we tend to think of places of great beauty or experiences of joy or accomplishment. But […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Reconciliation: Rescue Me!

Welcome to the fifth installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with the theme of “Rescue Me!” All of us can recall watching footage on TV of heroic rescues as a victim finds himself or herself in swirling flood waters. The rescuer enters the swirling torrents and extricates the flailing victim, carrying him or her to […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Eucharist: What Do You Crave?

Welcome to the fourth installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of the Eucharist, with the theme of “What Do You Crave?” Researchers tell us that the majority of us experience regular cravings for specific foods. It’s important to remember that hunger and cravings are not synonymous. The former is driven by the body, while the latter is driven […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Confirmation: What’s Come Over You?

Welcome to the third installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of Confirmation, with the theme of “What’s Come Over You?” We use the phrase, “What’s come over you?” when someone appears to be affected by something. The phrase captures our belief that it is possible for something outside ourselves to affect us within and transform the way we […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Baptism, A Whole New You

Welcome to the second installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of Baptism, with the theme of “A Whole New You.” In some traditions (Celtic spirituality, for example), certain locations have been identified as spaces where God’s presence is heightened and therefore more easily encountered. These spaces are referred to as “thin spaces,” referring to the belief that […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision

Welcome to the first installment of an eight-week series I’m doing this summer here on Catechist’s Journey on the Catholic sacramental vision. “Discovering the Nearness of God” will draw from my upcoming book, Living the Sacraments: Finding God at the Intersection of Heaven and Earth. I’d like to begin by stating emphatically that the most urgent message for us to spread today is the good news of the nearness of God! We live during a […]

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 […]

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 […]

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? […]

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. […]

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