The Luminous Mysteries: The Baptism of Jesus and How God Entered the Muck

As we enter into the last months of Ordinary Time, let’s reflect on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary over the next few weeks. In 2002, St. Pope John Paul II proposed a fourth set of mysteries—the Mysteries of Light, or Luminous Mysteries, which cover events in the life of Jesus and Mary during the Lord’s public ministry. The First Luminous Mystery is the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, an event which was […]

Praying with the Trinity

The Trinity is a beautiful mystery that cannot be fully explained or understood through human language, which makes it a challenge to communicate to children when we rely on words in our catechesis. The early Christians came to know God as trinitarian through their lived experiences of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We can help children to identify their own experiences of the Persons of the Trinity and therefore come to a […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Recently, I enjoyed watching Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot mystery in which the Belgian detective uses his keen skills to gather clues leading to the solving of a complex crime. Like all detectives who themselves did not witness the crimes they are investigating, Poirot relies on his skills of observation to gather clues leading to an irrefutable conclusion. As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, we are reminded that we, too, must rely […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and Our Need for an Advocate

Some years ago, when I was serving as a catechist for an eighth-grade faith formation group, I was blessed to have an outstanding catechist aide. Let’s call her Mrs. Kelly. As it turns out, Mrs. Kelly was a nurse at nearby Advocate Christ Hospital. When it came time for us to teach about the coming of the Holy Spirit—our Advocate—on Pentecost, I asked Mrs. Kelly to describe her work as a nurse in pediatrics and how she […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Christ the King and Noble Leadership

Recently, Americans went to the polls to elect leadership that they hope will serve the country well. Before democracy came on the scene, most nations were headed by royalty, dating back thousands of years. While we tend to think of leaders like kings and queens as rulers, in truth, leaders are called to serve, and this service is called to be noble (virtuous, dignified, distinguished, extraordinary). In short, it is a call to be heroic, which means […]

Pop-Catechesis: The Transfiguration

I’m sure you can think of an experience in which you felt that someone you thought you knew showed their “true colors.” To show your true colors means to reveal yourself as you really are, for better or for worse. The Feast of the Transfiguration tells us the story of when Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountaintop and showed them his “true colors.” He revealed himself as he really is: the Son […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Celebrating Relationships and Trinity Sunday

We have learned many things during this pandemic, one of which is just how much we value relationships. For Catholics, that should come as no surprise, since we believe we are made in the image and likeness of a relational God—a community of Persons whose relationship is so intimate that they are One! In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we look at the notion of celebrating relationships in anticipation of Trinity Sunday (June 7, 2020).  […]

Teaching the Trinity

Several of my students experienced a “light-bulb moment” in our recent discussion of the Trinity. So often we sow seeds never to see whether they take root, much less grow; seeing faces light up in understanding is always a fun moment. Our guiding text for the day was Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 1. Even though this is the first chapter in the text, I usually skip over it until we’ve been in class together […]

Like Sheep Without a Shepherd

This coming Sunday, we will hear a number of references to the “shepherd” in the Liturgy of the Word. The First Reading (Jeremiah 23:1–6) speaks of the shepherds who are scattering the flock. The Responsorial Psalm speaks of the shepherd who leads us to green pastures. In the Gospel, Jesus has compassion for the huge crowds because they are like sheep without a shepherd. Pope Francis reminds us that this image of a shepherd and […]

Independence Day: Revisiting How to Create a Declaration of DEpendence

As we celebrate Independence Day, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit an idea from a lesson I taught several years ago about the Lord’s Prayer as our Declaration of DEpendence. Through the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we express our dependence on what God provides for us: his name, kingdom, will, daily bread, forgiveness, direction, and deliverance. Have a wonderful and blessed holiday! Here’s how to make your own “parchment.” […]

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