Pop-Up Catechesis: Practicing Real Presence

During this pandemic, we’ve had to restrict our presence to virtual for occasions that we normally and preferably would be really and truly present. In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we look at the concept of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist as we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). For more information about the Real Presence and the celebration of the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: First Eucharist Retreat at Home

With the ongoing pandemic and shelter-in-place restrictions, almost every aspect of our lives has changed, including major events such as graduations, showers, birthday parties, Confirmations, weddings, and First Holy Communions. For many children, a First Eucharist retreat is part of their preparation at the parish. Since the present crisis precludes such gatherings, I offer some suggestions for doing a First Eucharist retreat at home, in today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis.  Here are some resources to […]

Helping Young People Write Intercessions

While many parts of the Mass are always the same (we use the same words for the Gloria; the Holy, Holy, Holy; the Lord’s Prayer; the Lamb of God; etc.), several parts are always different from one Mass to another: the Scripture readings, the homily, and the Prayer of the Faithful. This, of course, gives us an opportunity to invite young people to shape some of the words we use at Mass. In particular, inviting […]

Countdown to First Penance and Reconciliation

Assist families in preparing for First Reconciliation by sending home a calendar that counts down the last four weeks leading to the celebration of the sacrament. This tool guides parents in helping their children prepare at home, and it gives children a great visual as they count down to First Reconciliation. From praying the Act of Contrition to giving a compliment or reviewing the Ten Commandments, the countdown activities will help children grow in their […]

Sacraments: Grace for Christian Witness

Pope Francis has repeatedly urged the faithful not to remain closed-in on ourselves, focused only on the affairs of the Church, but rather to go out and give witness to Christ. This is the missionary spirit in which catechists share the Good News—not only in the classroom, but in our daily interactions with the greater community. This bold commission may seem daunting at times, but we receive grace, “the free and undeserved help . . […]

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 […]

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, […]

Come to the Table: A First Communion Retreat (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of two articles about hosting a retreat for children preparing for their First Holy Communion and their parents. This article provides the outline and schedule for the retreat. The preparations, planning, and materials needed for the retreat were described in the first article. Registration and Gathering The retreat begins with snacks and registration. At registration, hand out a welcome kit to each family. Ask each family member to write their names […]

Come to the Table: A First Communion Retreat (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of two articles about hosting a retreat for children preparing for their First Holy Communion and their parents. This article covers the preparations, planning, and materials needed for the retreat. An outline for the retreat will be provided in the second article. One of my favorite activities to do with the children is Come to the Table, our First Communion Retreat. This retreat has become an opportunity for family catechesis, when […]

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: The Sacraments

This month I’m revisiting my book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe, with the notion of keeping our faith simple without dumbing it down or making it simplistic. The truth is, while there have been many great thinkers and intellectuals throughout our Church history, the Church was founded by fishermen and tax collectors and a hodgepodge of men and women disciples who were everyday, common folks with little […]

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