Confronting Racism: Everyone Belongs

I’ve always found John 4:4 to be a strangely intriguing passage. The passage tells us that Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee and that, to do so, “he had to go through Samaria.” The reason it is intriguing is because he did not have to go through Samaria. There were, in fact, other ways to get from Judea to Galilee. While passing through Samaria was the shortest route, it was a route that many Jews avoided, because […]

Bringing Sports and Faith Together: “All In” by Coach Porter Moser

Early on in my career, I was once gently criticized by a colleague for using too many sports metaphors in my writing and speaking. Having taught religion for a decade in an all-boys high school, I found that references to sports resonated with my students, and so I relied on them quite often. My colleague suggested that sports references were “masculine” and excluded the girls. Perhaps there was a time when this was true, but we […]

Books Make for Wonderful Christmas Gifts!

According to Pew Research, roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) indicate that they haven’t read a book in the past year. A great way to remedy that is to gift those you love with books this Christmas! There are many benefits to reading books, including mental stimulation, stress reduction, exposure to knowledge, inspiration, escape, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement, and more! Loyola Press is happy to provide you with a Christmas Gift Guide to help you […]

Our “Why” Is a “Who”—Start with Jesus by Julianne Stanz

Popular author and speaker, Simon Sinek, made a splash a few years ago with his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. His point is well-taken: people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the why behind it. For Christians, our “Why” is a “Who!” OK, I know this is beginning to sound like the old “Who’s on First?” bit by Abbott and Costello, […]

Becoming an Adaptive Teacher/Catechist and Including Those with Disabilities

Whenever I go out to eat with a group of people, I quickly scan the seating arrangements at the table and select a location that will be acceptable to me. No, I’m not looking for a place of honor at the head of the table! I’m looking for a location that will enable me to most effectively hear and enter into the conversation taking place. Why? Because I am hearing impaired. I have profound hearing loss in […]

Why We Have Processions: We Are to Be a Church on the Move!

Many things are associated with Catholicism: novenas, rosaries, statues, holy water, scapulars, and so on. We call these “things” sacramentals. They are symbolic words or actions that remind us of the presence of God in our lives and draw us to the sacraments. One of my favorite sacramentals is the act of walking in procession. When our non-Catholic friends attend Mass with us, they very often comment on the amount of movement required of the […]

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 […]

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