Miracle Workshop: Talking about the Miracles of Jesus

I knew we had a lot of ground to cover when I asked for examples of miracles Jesus performed and one of the students said, “When he gave fish to two guys.” That didn’t sound too miraculous, so I asked the boy if he thought that sounded impressive, and he admitted it didn’t. One of his classmates helped by offering that he thought there were 2,000 people fed with fish—getting closer to the famous miracle […]

Scripture Skits—Free New Testament Plays

Children excel at pretending, so get them out of their seats to learn about Scripture with our free New Testament plays. Key teachings of Jesus from the Gospels form the basis for these Scripture skits: Jesus Teaches How to Live and Love Jesus on the Mountainside: The Feeding of the Five Thousand and the Sermon on the Mount Two Parables of Jesus: The Good Samaritan and the Lost Son Each short play includes background information […]

The Wedding Feast at Cana: A Call to Community

Have you ever noticed that many heroes in popular culture are loners? These heroes save the day, but they tend to do it all by themselves. Think of Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wolverine, and for those of us who are a little older, the Lone Ranger. Our heroes tend to be rugged individuals who, even if they engage in an alliance or loose affiliation with others, do so reluctantly. A good example of this is Han […]

Bibles at Home

Every year part of our third-grade curriculum includes teaching children how to look up a verse in the Bible. In the past I’ve used fortune cookies with a verse from Scripture as the “fortune” to make the learning fun. We started out this class by handing out a Bible to each child and showing them the list of books of the Bible in the table of contents and finding where the Old Testament ends and […]

Can Your Catechists Tell THE Story?

Whenever I serve in my parish as a catechist, I notice something distressing: children generally have little knowledge of Bible stories. Many of them cannot connect the dots from Jesus’ birth in a stable to his Death and Resurrection. Even fewer can connect Adam and Eve to Jesus; only a few have heard of such key ancestors in faith as Abraham, Moses, and David; and almost none of them realize how they personally are connected […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 3: Listening to the Word

This is the third article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. To help children listen well to the Word of God at Mass, catechists should provide experiences of Scripture that allow young people to respect the Word, to become aware that Jesus speaks to them through it, and to engage in holy listening.* Respect for the Word From early childhood, students should learn that a reading from the Bible […]

A Creative Way to Look Up Scripture Verses

Do you remember learning how to locate passages in the Bible? Those of us who teach religious education to children realize that we have to teach this every year. We must create opportunities in class for kids to find Scripture verses on their own. One day when I realized we would have a short class, I decided to use the opportunity to reinforce how to find chapter and verse in the Bible. But I wanted […]

The Gospel is More Than “Chicken Soup”

One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned in my experience as a catechetical minister is that the core message of the Gospel is not about simple character development (ala Chicken Soup for the Soul) but about radical realignment of our being. I was reminded of this notion by this Sunday’s Gospel about the Canaanite woman who begs Jesus to cure her daughter and perseveres in her request until Jesus, moved by her great faith, responds and […]

Dear 7th Grade Catechist…

Last night, we celebrated the Eucharist to bring closure to this catechetical year at St. Cajetan. The pastor, Fr. Frank, did a wonderful job of making it a celebration of growth and thanksgiving for many blessings…he is so good at speaking to the children! It occurred to me that I might be able to help the 7th grade catechist who will “inherit” my class next year, by telling him or her what my students learned […]

This is MY Story!

I was delighted to discover last evening that my 6th graders had retained a great deal of what we covered during the year! In essence, I really emphasized 3 main topics this year: Old Testament stories, the Ten Commandments, and the Sacraments. Last night, we did a review of the Old Testament stories and it went very nicely. Here’s a pic that sets the stage: On the board is the theme/big idea for the session […]

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