Every Symbolic Action Tells a Story: Living the Sacraments

Every symbolic action invokes a narrative—it tells a story. When a child falls down and scrapes a knee, he or she goes to Mommy or Daddy and asks her or him to “kiss it and make it better.” Now, we know that this act is symbolic and does not heal damaged cells at the molecular level, but we do it because we know that it does make it better! The symbolic act transports the child from a […]

$5 Children’s Books This June

I’ve talked before about populating the imaginations of young children with stories and images that help develop a positive worldview. If you’re looking for such stories, stock the shelves of your classroom or parish library with children’s books from Loyola Press. During June, selected children’s books are available for only $5 each when you order 10 or more in any combination. I particularly recommend Our Father: The Prayer Jesus Taught for its line-by-line exploration of […]

Instead of Giving Money as a Gift for First Holy Communion

I’ve touched on this issue before: the strange tradition we Catholics have of giving children money as a First Holy Communion gift. While a well-intentioned gesture, it makes little sense: “You’ve received the Body of Christ; now go out and buy something for yourself!” Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox, but not before suggesting an alternative gift idea. I suggest the wonderful Dear Pope Francis book (also available in Spanish) as a most fitting First […]

Teaching Children a Language of Mystery—Resource for Catechists and Parents

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you know that I have previously talked about the concept of a language of mystery. What is a language of mystery? It is a language that transcends words and relies on sign, symbol, ritual, song and music, silence, gesture, and movement. It is the language that God uses to communicate with his people. Think of how, in Scripture, God’s presence is manifested through a burning bush, a mighty […]

Living the Sacraments Now Available in Spanish!

I was excited when my book, Living the Sacraments: Finding God at the Intersection of Heaven and Earth, was published last year, and I was excited again when I learned that the book had received an award. Now, I’m excited yet again to announce that the book is available in Spanish! Introducing: Vivir los sacramentos: Encontrar a Dios en la intersección de cielo y tierra Here’s the description in Spanish: Demasiados católicos ven los sacramentos […]

Helping Catechetical Leaders to Be More Effective

One of the most powerful lines in the General Directory for Catechesis can be found in paragraph 234: “the quality of any form of pastoral activity is placed at risk if it does not rely on truly competent and trained personnel.” Unfortunately, because of inadequate funding and lack of human resources at the diocesan level, catechetical leaders too often go without the training and formation that they need and deserve. To remedy this situation, Loyola Press has teamed with […]

The Importance of Kindergarten

Among my earliest memories are the assassination of President Kennedy, the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and my first day of Kindergarten. I think that says something about the significance of Kindergarten! I know that we sometimes can overdo these things, as if our children will not get into the prestigious college of their choice later on unless we get them into a world-class Kindergarten program now. On the other hand, studies continue […]

Populating the Imaginations of Preschool Children

When speaking about the roles of parents, godparents, grandparents, catechists, and teachers in forming the faith of children, my friend and colleague, Tom McGrath, often emphasizes the need to “populate the imaginations” of young children with stories, images, signs, and symbols of our Catholic faith. At a very young age, children develop a “worldview”—a way of seeing the world. Some develop a positive worldview that recognizes truth, beauty, and goodness as more potent than that which […]

Making Our Faith “Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic”

No doubt you are familiar with the “…for Dummies” series of books—instructional books designed to take complex topics and present them in a non-intimidating format for readers who are new to the subject. Ironically, the reason that these books sell so well is that readers know that the author will not treat them like dummies but rather as an apprentice in need of a mentor. The authors are experts in their fields, and the subject […]

How the Gifts You Give Can Help “Keep Christ in Christmas”

You can always expect to receive certain kinds of Christmas presents from certain people. For example, I could always expect to receive gifts of some kind of clothing from my mom, because she felt it was her duty to keep me properly dressed. And she made no apologies for that! As catechists, we should make no apologies for offering gifts to others at Christmas that focus on the centrality of Christ. In other words, the gifts […]

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