Tonight’s Class: The Ten Commandments

For this evening’s class, I plan to focus on the Ten Commandments. One of the things that the Confirmation assessment revealed is that many of the young people in my group do not know the Commandments well at all. Here’s my plan: Two Sides to Every Coin – I’ll begin by flipping a coin several times, asking different young people to call out “heads” or “tails.” I’ll use this to illustrate that, just as every coin […]

The Our Father – Our Declaration of DEpendence

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting to about 150 high school teens and their group leaders at St. Francis Xavier in LaGrange. Our topic was Living the Mass and we had a very engaging experience together. One of the parts I most enjoyed was speaking about the Lord’s Prayer. Here’s what I did: I recently purchased a replica of the Declaration of Independence (it’s poster size and only cost $9.95 from American Family Traditions […]

Bible PowerPoint – God’s Library

This coming Monday evening is our Open House for the School of Religious Education and we anticipate parents coming to sit in on their children’s sessions. Of course, we want to be sure that some very engaging things are going on that evening! I’ve decided to do a Bible activity with my group which is based on my book God’s Library: A Catholic Introduction to the World’s Greatest Book (this book is now out of […]

Anointing with Oil Acrostic

Victor from California sends along the results of an activity he did with his 8th graders. I’ll let him describe it in his own words: The lesson was on Anointing with Chrism. Following some content and context, I had them divide into groups and do an acrostic with the word “anointing” on poster paper. They got more exposure with oil as I had each of them dip their finger into some fragrant oil and anoint their […]

Catholics are Environmentalists

What does the environment have to do with being a Catholic catechist?  Plenty! The Catholic Conservation Center reminds us that “long before the current ecological movement developed, saints taught respect for all of God’s Creation.” The Center goes on to say: Since its inception, the Church has instructed us on the proper dominion and stewardship of Creation.  This wisdom is made known to us through sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church, the message […]

Leading Reflective Prayer – Yes, Kids Can Meditate

We sometimes think of meditation as something reserved for mystics and monks. Meditation, however, is simply prayer that focuses attention on God so that we can recognize his presence in our daily lives and respond to what he is asking of us. Meditation, also called reflective prayer, involves the imagination. Kids have great imaginations and, as a result, they love to pray in this way. Here are some tips about leading reflective prayer (meditation) from my book, […]

St. Ignatius of Loyola – A Catechist

Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. When we talk about Ignatius, we tend to focus on either spirituality, missionary work, or higher education. What is often lost in all of this is the fact that Ignatius was a catechist! He and his followers regularly gathered children in the churches and squares of Rome to offer instruction on the basics of Christianity. So on this feast of St. Ignatius, we renew our […]

May – The Month of Mary

I remember with great fondness the May Crownings of my childhood…nothing said “spring is here” more powerfully than a good May Crowning. Are May Crownings passe? Hopefully not. As catechists, a May Crowning is a good opportunity for us to help those we teach understand that Catholics do not worship Mary but rather honor her. May Crownings may be considered out of date by some but, with the proper catechesis, they can continue to be […]

Reflecting on the Year

Many of us catechists are either finished or close to wrapping up the “year” in religious education. This is a good time to reflect on this past year, asking the Lord to help us learn and grow from the experience. Here is a reflection you may want to use to review your past year. (I’ve written it in such a way that it is best read aloud by an individual who is leading others in […]

Silence is Golden

I mentioned the other day that for the beginning of Advent, I invited the kids to pray in silence at the start of class. A friend of mine who used to be a 6th grade catechist remarked, “Oh, that’s the way I prayed with them almost all of the time.” I thought that was very refreshing. We sometimes think of prayer as a space that we have to fill up with words, when what we […]

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