Learning by Imitation: Why Kids Need Saints

None of us is purely original. The fact is, we human beings learn by imitation. As infants, we begin making sounds that imitate the sounds made by those around us. Before long, we are shaping words with those sounds, achieving the ability to communicate with others. Our imitation doesn’t stop there, however. Scientists have shown that imitation cannot be dismissed as some sort of lower form of learning but is a quite sophisticated intellectual activity. […]

Three Lessons for Catechists from St. Luke the Evangelist

St. Luke the Evangelist left us great treasures by writing the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. We as Christians have learned so much about Jesus and the faith of the Church from his writings. Luke was a master at sharing the Gospel, and catechists can learn from both what he wrote and how he wrote it. Know Your Audience Luke wrote his Gospel for believers who came from a Gentile background rather than […]

On the Road to Sainthood

For many of us, the stories of the saints—while inspiring and often dramatic—always seemed to be about people from far away places who lived long, long ago. Paintings and statues of saints clearly depicted them as belonging to another century, if not another millennium. That’s why it is so exciting these days to be able to see color photographs and even video of saints such as St. Pope John Paul II and Saint Teresa of […]

Little Video Lessons from the Saints

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me she was going to use one of the videos I filmed for my book Little Lessons from the Saints at her next RCIA session. “Really?” “Yep. I’m leading a lesson on the communion of saints, so it’s perfect. Besides, I think they would get a kick out of seeing you on video.” “Either that or a good laugh.” “Probably both,” she said. A few days […]

Feeling Peace on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary

I moved to Maryland on August 14, 1989. I left my home in California to attend grad school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and I was so excited to get started on this adventure. As I look back, I’m amazed at my lack of apprehension about leaving my family and friends and flying across the country. Ah, youth. Since I knew I had to find an apartment quickly, I had made a reservation at a […]

St. Clare of Assisi and Authenticity

“Some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard about faith came from a teenager,” says Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints. Enjoy the short video below to learn what those wise words were and what they have to do with St. Clare of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow. Hint: it has to do with authenticity, which we discussed recently in our Spirituality of the Catechist retreat.

Three Ways to Teach the Saints According to St. Teresa of Ávila

I hate to admit this, but I often give the saints short shrift in my faith-formation classes. Since I am helping ninth-graders prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, my focus is usually on having them pick a Confirmation name. To that end, I ask them to write a paper, produce a video, or perform a skit about a saint. If I can find the time, I will set aside a lesson in which I give […]

Celebrating Mary

May brings us to a special month to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. Does your parish host a May Crowning in recognition of her role as Queen of All Saints? Such events are often special memories for Catholics, as author Elizabeth M. Kelly shares in May Crowning: A Reflection on a Marian Celebration. Maybe your school or parish prays a Living Rosary. Read how one parish incorporated lessons on the Rosary and Marian apparitions with a […]

St. Catherine of Siena and Teaching Virtues

“The purpose of education is to instill the virtues in the next generation,” says Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints. In honor of St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day we celebrate April 29, watch the brief video featuring Burnham below. He says Catherine is an example who can teach us about virtues. How do you teach about the virtues in your classroom?

Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

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