Giving Thanks Is Transformative

Thanksgiving is such a welcome break for us during these very stressful times. And, even though our Thanksgiving celebrations may not look like they usually do, we must not underestimate the power of gratitude. In her book, Spiritual Practices for the Brain, Anne Kertz Kernion points out that gratitude has a transformative power: Each of us gets knocked around by life now and again, so it’s helpful to remember that practicing gratitude can help us […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Thanksgiving and the Virtuous Circle of Gratitude

Have you ever found yourself caught in a vicious circle? For example, you find yourself feeling a little down, so you treat yourself to a snack, a drink, or a purchase—only to find that the extra weight you’ve gained, the trouble you’ve gotten into with excessive drinking, or the piling debt you’re being buried under leads you to feeling a little down—and to make yourself feel better… The cycle continues! Well, there’s a different kind of […]

Valentine’s Day: Using Signs to Share a Narrative of Love

I find Valentine’s Day to be a wonderful opportunity to talk about Catholic sacramentality. It is a day on which signs, symbols, gestures, and rituals are used to convey feelings of love and, when it comes to signs, symbols, gestures, and rituals, we Catholics are the experts! Catholic sacramentality basically expresses our belief that the invisible God can be recognized and encountered through the physical world. That’s why we use water, oil, bread, wine, flame, […]

Catechists Are Incarnational Ministers

As we await on the doorstep of Christmas—the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ—I’d like to take this time to wish all of my Catechist’s Journey readers a very blessed Christmas! This is the season in which we celebrate the very heart of our faith: our knowledge that God has drawn near to his people; the Word became flesh and dwelt among us! In Jesus Christ, the invisible and intangible God became visible and […]

Thanksgiving Psalms Bumper Stickers

On those days when I drive to work on the crowded Chicago expressways, I can’t help but notice the wide variety of bumper stickers on the cars in front of me. Some of the bumper stickers announce the car owner’s allegiance to a particular sports team, his or her political leanings, hobbies, religious persuasion (or lack thereof), pet peeves, a favorite radio station, or the driver’s idea of humor or wisdom, just to name a few. […]

A Mother’s Day Reflection: Worry and Prayer Aren’t the Same Thing

It is common for mothers to worry about their children. Yes, of course, dads do as well, but a mother has a very special relationship with her children, and worry is part and parcel of that reality. In her blog post, “Mother’s Anxiety: How Motherhood Breeds Anxiety,” psychology professor Amy Przeworski, PhD, captures this notion: I thought I knew what high anxiety was before I became a mother, but upon learning that I was pregnant, I realized that […]

A Catechist’s Litany of Thanks

According to St. Ignatius Loyola, a healthy spirituality begins and ends with gratitude. On this Thanksgiving Day, we catechists have so much to be grateful for! Below is a catechist’s litany of thanks, which I invite you to add to. As a catechist, what are you most thankful for? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Happy Thanksgiving! To each of the following, we pray, “Thank you, Lord!” For my vocation as a catechist… […]

Thanksgiving Poems

My school celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge food drive for a local food pantry. Classrooms of older students are paired up with classrooms of younger students. This food drive really ignites our school as the pairs of classrooms compete to bring in the most food and win a pizza lunch. My classroom celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing stories. I have the children write a poem called “A Story of Thanks,” that gives thanks using each of […]

The Fourth of July in Assisi

If you’ve ever been out of the country on one of our major patriotic holidays, you might have felt a little homesick. This happened to me and a group of teenagers and their families several years ago when we were in Assisi on the Fourth of July. I’ve been leading pilgrimages to Italy for about 20 years now, and people tell me I’m a good planner. Before we left the United States, I had purchased […]

A Mother’s Gaze

One of the advantages of being a grandparent in the digital age is receiving a constant stream of pictures of our granddaughter Olivia (born 3/11/18) from our daughter-in-law Sarah. It seems that Sarah is capable of catching every mood on Olivia’s face, whether she is sleeping like an angel, screaming like a banshee, or everything in between. What impresses me most is that, in order to do this, Sarah needs to have her gaze constantly […]

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