Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 2: Introduce Jesus as Someone You Can Trust

As we continue our summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith (based on my new book of the same name), we explore establishing a climate of trust. Strategy #2: Introduce Jesus as someone you can trust. Advertisements seek to gain your trust. The goal is to convince you that your money will be well-spent on whatever product or service is being sold. In a similar way, […]

Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 1: Focus on Brokenness

Welcome to my summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith. Today we look at the first strategy for tilling the soil of people’s hearts and minds: Strategy #1: Point out that potential believers’ current “way” is broken or unsatisfactory and needs to be repaired or replaced. In other words, we need to begin the faith formation journey by drawing attention to our human brokenness, and we proclaim […]

Summer Series: Preparing Hearts and Minds

Now that June is here, it’s time to welcome summer! And with summer comes the opportunity for me to share a new series with you: Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith, which draws from my new book of the same name. With the warmer weather, many of us are spending more time in our gardens. After a long, hard Chicago winter, I find that the soil in […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Posting a Message of Faith on Social Media

In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we look at posting messages or pictures of faith on social media. St. Pope John Paul II famously referred to social media as the “new Areopagus,” referring to the cultural center or gathering place of the learned where St. Paul preached the Gospel in Athens. (Acts 17:16–34) Today, especially during a time of social distancing, we can use social media to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the world.  […]

What a Team! Speaking in the Arena at L.A. Congress

One of my favorite phrases at Loyola Press—”What a team!”—can be traced to our president emeritus, Fr. George Lane, SJ, who often reacted to success stories in this manner. This phrase captures the experience I shared earlier this year with a group of talented colleagues at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. If you’re not familiar with the L.A. Congress, it is the largest religious education gathering in the country, drawing about 25,000 people over four […]

Lenten Disciples: Martha and Mary at the Raising of Lazarus

In this Lenten disciples series, we have explored the stories of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42) and the man who was blind since birth (John 9:1–41). We now turn to the dramatic story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1–45). Set in the small town of Bethany, which was about two miles from Jerusalem, we hear that Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was very sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus, […]

Lenten Disciples: The Man Born Blind

In the Scriptures, we see examples of disciples at different stages of their faith journeys. Through the story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42), we explored the early stages of the discipleship journey. Later in the Gospel of John, we hear the story of Jesus restoring sight to a man born blind. (John 9:1–41). This story represents the next stage in the journey of discipleship. In this story, a man who was […]

Lenten Disciples: The Woman at the Well

In the Scriptures, we see examples of disciples at different stages of their journeys. For the next few weeks of Lent, we will explore three different encounters with Jesus and what these encounters tell us about discipleship. We will focus first on perhaps one of the best-known stories in the Bible: Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42). In this story, Jesus approaches a Samaritan woman and strikes up a conversation with her at […]

Start with Jesus in Your Parish

Serving parishes in her diocese as the Director of New Evangelization, Julianne Stanz has recognized a practical and motivational way to restructure a parish’s mission: start with Jesus. To help you do that, Julianne’s book Start with Jesus is about people, process, and culture, rather than an emphasis on quick fixes or unsustainable efforts. Embrace discipleship in your parish by reading the book and using the additional resources that accompany it: implementation tools for parish […]

Reclaiming the Fire: Six Keys to Making Our Faith Formation More Evangelizing

Today, more than ever, faith formation needs to be more evangelizing—not only informing, but also transforming hearts and minds. In her book, Start with Jesus, author, speaker, and evangelist Julianne Stanz states that “too often our approach to our faith lacks the fire or energy that it deserves,” and she issues a call for us to “reclaim the fire.” With that in mind, I have identified six keys to reclaiming this fire so that our […]

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