All Saints Day Celebration

My favorite session of the year is our celebration of All Saints Day on the class preceding November 1. It combines storytelling (one of my favorite ways to catechize) and direct instruction with a dose of games that make for excitement on the part of the children. With this session I’m hoping to leave some knowledge about saints and also a positive association with the fun games. I also use this opportunity to get parents […]

Saints Coloring Sheets

Help even the youngest children get to know our friends, the saints. Download saints coloring sheets featuring St. Peter, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Francis of Assisi, and others. These blackline masters feature words and art from God Made the World, the Age 4 book in the God Made Everything early childhood faith formation program. Learn more about God Made Everything here. Ideas for using these coloring sheets: Use the pages as an introduction to a […]

Lessons from My Friends, the Saints

I like to refer to the saints of the Catholic Church as my friends, and I reach out to them several times a day. Who are the saints I turn to during my teaching day? My teaching philosophy is, “Love the children first, then teach them.” This quote is attributed to St. Mother Théodore Guérin. What more can I say about this quote? Spending seven hours a day with a classroom of students that one […]

A Lesson from St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes: Experience First

Bernadette Soubirous was a young girl of 14 when Our Lady appeared to her, about the age of the young people in my class. She didn’t have much education, but still she was chosen to receive the visions of Lourdes. St. Bernadette helps me to remember that it’s about the experience first. While it’s important to know the facts of our faith and be able to articulate what we believe, first there must be an […]

A Little Lesson for Me as a Catechist from St. Peter

Perched as we are on the doorstep of All Saints Day (Nov. 1), I thought it would be a good opportunity for several of us catechists to share some little lessons we have learned from the saints, inspired by the book Little Lessons from the Saints by my friend and Loyola Press colleague Bob Burnham. I always remind catechists that we are never alone when we teach: the Communion of Saints has our back. I often […]

Saints Among Us Retreat

One of my favorite activities with my third graders is a simple retreat designed to help them recognize and appreciate the saints, not only those in heaven, but those in our homes and those we are called to be. It is great for family catechesis as well. We include children from both the school and the parish religious education program and require at least one parent to attend. The retreat usually takes place on the Saturday […]

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 […]

Celebrating the Annunciation: Finding Reassurance in Mary

March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when we recall and celebrate the day that the angel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of our Lord (Luke 1:26–38). As I’ve mentioned here before, Marian feasts are ultimately about Jesus, since Mary seeks to draw attention, not to herself, but to her Son, Jesus, who brings us the Good News of rescue, restoration, and reassurance. Mary participates in […]

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