Share Prayer: Breaking the Culture of Silence

Pope Francis has spoken many times of the value and power of intercessory prayer in Christian life. “When evangelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed of self-absorption, they are desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others.” (The Joy of the Gospel #28) Have you ever run into someone who asked you to pray for him or her? Did you take the time at that moment to stop what you […]

Teaching Children to Pray the Rosary

I love teaching the Rosary to my first graders. The Rosary helps them learn important prayers, highlights Scripture stories, and keeps their hands occupied when we are sitting together in a circle. In May I hand out rosaries to each student, usually a week after they learn the Hail Mary. I explain that they were blessed by a priest earlier in the day. (One year, I actually took a photo of our pastor with his […]

Silent Prayer Circle

I like to vary how my class prays partly to give everyone more tools in their prayer toolbox, but also because not everyone learns or prays in the same way on a given day. When I teach about the Holy Family, I teach my first-graders simple signs in sign language (ASL), which we practice together. Thanks to YouTube, you can easily teach yourself signs and phrases in ASL. I have learned how to sign “thank […]

Not Done with Prayer Yet

We had just finished a silence challenge, and I called the young people to our regular opening prayer when I was disheartened to hear one boy mumble, “What, we’re not done with prayer yet?” Prayer time is usually not met with such resistance in my classroom. In fact, I think many of the young people enjoy the quiet and reflective experiences built in to our time together, whether they are able to vocalize it or […]

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 […]

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