Advent: Getting the Help We All Need

Perhaps more than any other liturgical season, the season of Advent reminds us that we need help! It is a season that reminds us that we are in need of an intervention—a savior—someone who enters into our reality and lifts us up and out of the “muck” that we find ourselves trapped in. The “muck,” of course, is sin, and our Savior, of course, is Jesus Christ. In order for us to overcome the effects […]

Family2Family Advent Connections

Several years ago the faith community within which I ministered adopted the Advent theme “Taking Hope to Others” for our seasonal focus. The idea was to encourage members to find ways of living out the hope the Christ Child brings in real and practical ways. I pondered what this might look like for my religious education families and how busy suburban families could possibly find ways to “take hope to others.” I struggled, as many […]

Advent Bookmarks

We know that the excitement of Christmas is top of mind for children in December, even as we try to teach them the patience of waiting in Advent. This year, help young children remember the gift of Jesus at Christmas with our Advent bookmarks coloring sheets, available in English and Spanish. The bookmarks are from Finding God Kindergarten. Invite children to use the bookmarks in their textbooks or hang them on the family fridge as […]

Helping Young People Understand Feasts and Holy Days of the Liturgical Year

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption (August 15), I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a closer look at what holy days are all about and to help young people understand them. A good way to start is to ask young people where they may have gone on vacation and if anyone did any sightseeing at places such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or an art gallery […]

Living the Liturgical Seasons at Home: Summer/Fall Ordinary Time

The liturgical year is 365 days a year, and the season of Ordinary Time is a course of instruction in the Christian life. Ordinary Time after Pentecost and before Advent is a period when we celebrate no particular aspect of Christ, but honor him in the fullness of his mystery. (Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year, 43) We spend time with Jesus and let him be with us and in us as we grow closer […]

Celebrating the Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord often happens after our religious education sessions are over for the school year. However, it can be the perfect final lesson of the year as students depart for the summer. Include the Ascension in your lesson plan for the final session by encouraging students to be disciples over the summer. Just as Jesus left the Twelve with a mission, you can do the same. I Am with […]

Condensed Easter Lesson

The downside of having a late Easter this year is that we only have one full session after returning from Easter break and before our May Crowning closes the year. This means that I have to condense my Easter Season lessons from two or three to one. Here’s my basic plan. I’ll start by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” While this song is more often played during Christmastime, the celebratory “Hallelujahs” make it […]

File Away for Next Lent: Neighborhood Way of the Cross

I would have shared this with you earlier, but I didn’t hear about it until Lent was over! So, file this one away for next Lent. I recently heard about a parish that did the Stations of the Cross during Lent through their neighborhood, arranging to stop at 14 pre-selected homes where each Station was prayed. I think this is a wonderful idea and a way to get families involved in a traditional Lenten practice. […]

Drawing the Joy of the Easter Season

With the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter, we transition from a season of penance into a season of joy, and I wanted to help my fourth-grade class think about this transition. I began by asking them to draw a picture of what they did during Lent. This picture did not have to be fancy; it could be a drawing of what they gave up or something they did, such as praying the […]

Celebrate the Joy of Jesus During the Easter Season

The Easter season is a time of wonder and of joy, a time when we don’t want families to ditch church for baseball season and forget about Jesus’ big days! How can catechists help young people and families meet the Risen Jesus in ways that will engage them and deepen their relationship with him during this season? Here are a few thoughts. Extend a personal invitation to families to participate in the Easter Triduum and […]

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