Pop-Up Catechesis: Make a Wish and Blow Out the Candles

Among the many traditions that are part of a birthday celebration is that of the celebrant making a wish and blowing out the candles. This tradition most likely has its roots in ancient Greece, when people would offer cakes and candles as an offering to the gods. It was believed that the smoke rising from the blown-out candles carried the offering to the gods. On September 8, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin […]

Old Testament Timeline Activity

Explore some of the Old Testament stories we hear during Ordinary Time with the help of our Old Testament Timeline Activity. This one-page sheet for children pairs the engaging art of Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories with an activity to engage logical/mathematical learners. Pull out the glue and scissors, and look at stories from Isaac, Jacob, and Esau to the wise King Solomon. Use your Bible or the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Our Hearts Are Restless

One of the things that I get a kick out of when watching our grandchildren is seeing how restless they can get—and knowing that eventually we will return those restless children to their parents to deal with! On a spiritual level, we never really outgrow that restlessness. We continually seek rest or fulfillment in any number of things. In reality, as St. Augustine famously wrote, “our hearts are restless, Lord, until they find rest in you.” […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Celebrating the Queenship of Mary

One of the traditional characteristics of royalty is someone who leads an army into battle. Before Israel had a king, they would go into battle led by the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the presence of Almighty God in their midst. Eventually, the Ark of the Covenant was lost to history. However, Christians see Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as the new “Ark of the Covenant”—one who bears within her the presence of the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Feast of the Assumption

In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we explore the significance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15). The feast reminds us of the seamless connection between body and soul, as Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul. Catholicism is not a dualistic faith that ignores the physical in favor of the spiritual. Rather, we see the two realities as intertwined. The Feast of the Assumption calls us to appreciate more deeply […]

Pop-Catechesis: The Transfiguration

I’m sure you can think of an experience in which you felt that someone you thought you knew showed their “true colors.” To show your true colors means to reveal yourself as you really are, for better or for worse. The Feast of the Transfiguration tells us the story of when Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountaintop and showed them his “true colors.” He revealed himself as he really is: the Son […]

Summer Prayer Placemat

Before heading out to enjoy fun activities in nature this summer, pause to thank God for the gifts of the season. Our summer prayer placemat invites children to compose a prayer of thanks in a fun fill-in style. Pull out the big box of crayons, because even adults will want to spend time coloring the cute images and completing the activities on the sheet. Encourage families to pray the prayer together before enjoying breakfast, lunch, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: St. Ignatius of Loyola and Striving for the More

Coaches often encourage their players to give 110%, which simply means to always strive for more. This idea of wanting to do more, or magis (MAH-jiss) in Latin, was at the heart of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spirituality: we should always strive to do more “for the greater glory of God.” In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we prepare for the Feast of St. Ignatius on July 31 by exploring the concept of magis.  For more […]

Introducing Springs of Faith: A Catechumenal Approach to Infant Baptism Preparation

For too long, infant Baptism preparation has been little more than a “hoop” to jump through in order for parents to have their baby baptized. That’s why I am so excited to share the news about a wonderful new program from Loyola Press: Springs of Faith. I’m proud to be associated with this program as I contributed to the writing of a number of its components and did catechetical reviews of most aspects of the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Holy Hiking and the Feast of St. James

Except for when we may be engaged in contemplative prayer or Adoration, we Catholics rarely sit still. Even when we worship at Mass, we sit, stand, kneel, genuflect, bow, cross ourselves, and walk in procession. We are a people “on the move“—pilgrim people. One of the most profound examples of this embodiment of our faith is the concept of a pilgrimage, and the “gold standard” of pilgrimages is, of course, the Camino de Santiago (Way […]

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