Prayer Cubes for Lent

There are many opportunities to engage children during the season of Lent. I like to use this season to encourage the children in my class to develop a new prayer habit, especially a habit that they can bring home to their families. Last year my class used Lenten prayer sticks, which were very popular. I wondered why, and it dawned on me that having something tangible made prayer time hard to ignore. Parents could more […]

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: Prayer

Welcome to the final installment of my series, Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic, as I continue to draw from my book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe, to focus on the four pillars of our Catholic faith: Creed, Sacraments, Moral Life, and Prayer. Today, we look at our life of prayer. On a recent episode of the doctor drama New Amsterdam, the main character, Dr. Max Goodwin, is in […]

Eucharistic Adoration Cards

Young people who are first being exposed to Eucharistic Adoration may wonder what to do during the silent time spent in front of the Most Holy Sacrament. Encourage them to have a conversation with Jesus with our downloadable Eucharistic Adoration Cards as a guide. The cards include prompts for conversation with Jesus, such as, “Tell Jesus what you are most excited about,” or, “Ask Jesus for the help you need in the days to come.” […]

Praying with Little Ones

Last fall, Joe Paprocki provided 20 tips for catechists. The ninth tip stuck with me: as catechists, we are not teaching a subject, but we are facilitating an encounter with Jesus. All of us encounter Jesus in different ways on any given day, and our students are no different. Offering a variety of prayer experiences for children can open up new ways for Christ to work in their lives. When I’m praying with my first-grade […]

Praying with Second Graders

The longer I am a catechist, the more I feel the need to focus on prayer with the children in my classes. For so long I limited prayer to the start and end of class, and I encouraged the children to memorize traditional prayers. But I didn’t do much else. Now I lead the children in exploring new and varied ways to pray so they can grow in their personal relationship with God. Early in […]

Teaching Children the Lost Art of Being

In today’s world, there is a lot of emphasis placed on knowing and doing and not so much on being. In other words, we find ourselves focused on what we know and do and not enough on who we are. As catechists, we have the privilege of helping those we teach to develop a deeper understanding of who they are in relation to a loving God, in whose image they are created. One of the primary […]

Teaching the Daily Examen to 4- to 6-Year-Olds

One of the hallmarks of Ignatian prayer and spirituality is, of course, the Daily Examen—a prayerful way to review your day to recognize God’s presence and movement in your everyday life. We tend to think of this prayer as an adult exercise; however, many catechists and school teachers have found that this prayer is easily adaptable to children and can serve as a great tool for introducing young people to the contemplative aspect of our […]

Encountering God in the Silence—Shhh!

In my years of experience as a catechist, I have always sought to provide those I teach with experiences of silence which, according to St. John of the Cross, and, more recently, Fr. Thomas Keating, is God’s “primary language.” At first, the young people are often uncomfortable with silence, because they experience so little of it in our society. Gradually, however, with some coaching, they can learn to view silence, not just as empty space, but as […]

40 Ways to Foster Prayer in Your Home

Our lives offer many opportunities to pray, and we can share those opportunities with the children in our care. Find inspiration for different ways to pray in the home by downloading Tom McGrath’s suggestions for 40 Ways to Foster Prayer in Your Home—in English or in Spanish. Share the booklet with families in your school or parish. These suggestions are excerpted from Tom’s book Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home. Fill […]

Relaxing Prayer

I prepared my students to pray with a guided reflection, telling them that using their imaginations to have a conversation with God might take some practice. I gave them permission to “not get it” the first time. This was important for establishing trust and tone. I then played the “Called by Name” prayer track from the CD that came with our Finding God program and sat down with my students to participate in the imaginative […]

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