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.

Celebrate, Remember, and Appreciate: Mystagogy for Children

Mystagogy is a time for the community and the newly baptized to “grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist and doing the works of charity.” (RCIA 244) Mystagogy is clearly a period of encounter, accompaniment, and integration. Both the community and the newly initiated grow together. Unlike adults who are instructed and mentored prior to Baptism, […]

Teaching the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist

Various studies in recent years have revealed a disturbing fact: less than half of people who identify as Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a central tenet of our Catholic faith. We believe that, in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly though mysteriously present to us under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine. Is this a difficult concept to teach to children […]

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ: Hard to Swallow?

Once, when I gave a Scripture presentation to a group of adults, an elderly gentleman came up to me afterwards and said, “I don’t understand why God seems to be all over the place in the Old Testament, but he’s nowhere to be found in the New Testament.” My guess is that he was referring to the dramatic theophanies of the Old Testament, such as the burning bush. I replied, “Oh, no, God is very present in […]

The Catechist as a Personal Trainer for Prayer Life

“Central aspects of the formation of children are training in prayer and introduction to Sacred Scripture” (General Directory for Catechesis 178). Today let’s focus on the training in prayer part of that. Training indeed is key, but how do we understand that? Think of a personal trainer: when we need to get in shape or need new motivation to stay in shape, we might hire a trainer to teach us the basics of fitness and […]

Beyond Memorizing Words to Meditating with Traditional Prayers

This past year I was a substitute catechist for my parish’s faith-formation program. When a young man in one of the classes learned that I had written a book of meditations based on the lives of the saints, he said, “Of course it’s a book of meditations. It’s Bob.” Even though we didn’t spend much time together, he knew that prayer and contemplation are the source of all that I am and all that I […]

Weaving Prayer Throughout the School Day

It’s time to say goodbye to another class of third graders, and as I reflect on our time together, I have noticed that there was a beautiful pattern woven throughout each day. Our classes began and ended with prayer, and we took advantage of opportunities to pray as they popped up throughout the day. For example, our school is next to a main thoroughfare through our city. Hundreds of cars pass by our school every […]

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 […]

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