Living the Liturgical Seasons at Home: Winter Ordinary Time

As we put away the Christmas decorations and enter Ordinary Time, things might seem just a bit drab. This isn’t just a bland waiting-period for Lent. These weeks are an opportunity to focus on the public ministry of Jesus through the readings of the new cycle’s Gospels. Ordinary Time is about spiritual growth. Just as in Ordinary Time during summer and fall, engaging in family prayer, having a home altar or a prayer centerpiece on […]

Babies Are Game Changers. The Christ Child Is No Exception!

When we think of Jesus coming into our world as a baby, we can easily be lulled into lovely, peaceful images of cuddly babies sleeping in heavenly peace. The truth is, babies are “game changers!” The dictionary defines a game changer as “an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.” Having a baby is a game changer. You know this if you are […]

Celebrating the Christmas Season at Home

The Christmas season—which begins on December 25 with Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord—offers many opportunities to celebrate Jesus’ Incarnation. Here are a few ways to celebrate Christmas that will bring you closer to Jesus and to the ones you love. Prepare During Advent. The time spent preparing for the coming of Christ during December will affect our experience of Christmas when it finally arrives. Attend Mass and a meal with family […]

Christmas Bible Story Booklet

To help you share the Christmas story with children, we’re happy to share a Christmas Bible story booklet with you. The text of the booklet is from the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories by popular Catholic children’s author Amy Welborn. Print out the booklet and share with your class in a session on the birth of Jesus, or send copies home for families to enjoy together. Use copies as Christmas cards to your students, […]

Emmanuel, the Great Catechist

During Advent, we sing the traditional hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” a beautiful song based on the “O” Antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours (Vespers) for the octave (eight days) before Christmas (beginning December 17). One verse of that song is of particular interest to catechists, because it speaks of our longing for being taught to live according to God’s way: O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who orderest all things mightily; To us the […]

The Boy in the Back of a Nativity Painting

Long-time catechists may find themselves going back to the tried-and-true activities that they’ve used before with predictable outcomes. But sometimes breaking out of that cycle can be a good thing. For a number of years, I would print out artwork that depicted the Nativity. I had 15–20 images from various artists. The first-grade children and I would sit in a circle on the floor, and I would show the images to the class and then […]

The Wandering Wise Men and Other Advent Traditions

Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year. I am thankful that my school waits to celebrate Christmas, opting for a hearty Advent celebration instead. My classroom gets into the Advent celebration by including many fun traditions and service projects revolving around Advent. My classroom has an Advent wreath, and we use the Loyola Press Children’s Advent Calendar. Our school also has an all-school Advent wreath prayer service where we sing and pray together. […]

John the Baptist’s Marketing Strategies

Whenever I propose an idea for a new book to Loyola Press, one of the questions that I am asked by our marketing people is, “How is this different from anything else that’s on the market?” The better job I do of differentiating my work from anything else available, the better chance the book has of being successful. Is it possible that John the Baptist had a degree in marketing? When you consider his message, his […]

Six Ways to Celebrate Advent at Home

Advent offers unique and beautiful opportunities to make family memories in the home. The traditions of this season allow Catholics to practice our faith more deeply and with greater attention and intent. Here are some simple ideas to celebrate a faith-filled Advent. 1. Savor the darkness. During Advent, the days are short and the nights are long. Just as we long for the warm and sunny days of summer, we long for the light of […]

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 […]

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