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 […]

Now Available: Slide Presentations for the Effective Catechetical Leader Series

I am excited to announce that the slide presentations I’ve created for The Effective Catechetical Leader series are now available. When we at Loyola Press collaborated with the good folks at NCCL (National Conference for Catechetical Leadership), we talked about developing some ancillary materials that would enhance diocesan efforts to offer formation and training opportunities for catechetical leaders. It became obvious very early on that one such resource would be PowerPoint presentations—one for each of the […]

Are You Using the Leader Guides for My Books?

From time to time, I receive requests from people asking me for or recommending that I develop leader guides for my books. The truth is, many of my books already have Leader Guides! These guides can assist you in leading formation sessions or book discussions based on each book. They are especially helpful for small faith groups that wish to focus on a single resource for a period of time. Be sure to visit the page […]

Fishing for Men and Women

If Jesus wanted to choose the ideal person to lead his church into the future, where would he look for such a person? We might suppose he could find such a person in Jerusalem, among the priests of the temple or perhaps among the educated and talented nobles of the city. Yet the person Jesus called for the task was not found among the religious leaders or the noble families of the capitol city. Simon […]

What Book to Use for RCIA? Try A Well-Built Faith

While it is true that the “parish is the curriculum” (Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us) for the RCIA, and that the liturgical calendar should give shape and form to the “scope and sequence” of the catechumenate, the fact is, most RCIA coordinators and teams still desire to put a book in the hands of their catechumens and candidates. I have been delighted to learn that many such coordinators and teams have chosen to use […]

A Shout Out to Des Moines, IA

Recently, I had the pleasure of doing a day-long presentation on A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion for the Diocese of Des Moines, IA. The event was sponsored by the Catechetical Leaders Association of the Diocese of Des Moines (CLADD) and was attended by about 80 pastoral ministers: pastors, deacons, catechetical leaders, youth ministers, diocesan personnel, and parish staff members. Thanks to John Gaffney, Director for the […]

The End of the Catholic Bubble—One Size Does Not Fit All!

I love sharing this blast from the past with folks! This is a picture from my childhood. (I’m the cute little guy on the right with hands folded.) Like many Catholic kids growing up in the 50s and early 60s, we often “played Mass” at home. My mom created vestments for us to play priest and a nun’s habit for my sister Ramona (back row, left) and collected “vessels” for us to use—chalice, paten, tabernacle […]

With Small Faith Groups, Capitalize on Flexibility

With Lent being just about a month away, many parishes are looking at utilizing small faith groups, one of the most effective formats for adult faith formation and a reality that I have written about previously. Too often, we think that we have to find a “permanent” resource for small faith groups—something that they can use continually without change. This flies in the face of one of the best things about small faith groups, which is […]

What, In God’s Name, Are We Doing?

There is a great scene from the classic sitcom, Seinfeld, in which Jerry and George sit in the diner lamenting a particularly frustrating day. Jerry begins to question the direction of their lives: “What is this?” he asks. “What are we doing? What in god’s name are we doing?” He and George go on to lament their pathetic lives before Jerry resolves, “Well, this is it. I’m really gonna do something about my life, you know? George, […]

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