Guided Reflection on Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

With Ash Wednesday quickly approaching, now’s the time to think about how you will introduce the Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to your students. In addition to using the seasonal chapters in your textbook, take some time for reflection on these traditional practices. Download a Guided Reflection on Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. This prayerful reflection introduces young people to the three Lenten disciplines and invites conversation with Jesus about how to make prayer, […]

Focusing on the Life of Jesus During Lent

With Lent just over a week away (Ash Wednesday is February 14, 2024.), I’d like to invite you to make plans to focus on the life of Jesus this season through two special opportunities. Lenten Read-Along—Each year Loyola Press hosts a Lenten Read-Along, which is an opportunity to join with others in reading an inspirational book at a relaxed pace, giving time to savor what we read during Lent. This year’s Lenten Read-Along invites us […]

Lent: A Less-Jolting Wake-Up Call

Most wake-up calls are not pleasant. I’m talking about the kind of wake-up calls associated with having a heart attack, getting pulled over for DUI, losing a job you thought you’d have forever, losing a loved one, experiencing a financial loss, or having a close relative or friend attempt suicide. Such wake-up calls are a kick in the gut that compel us to pause and reflect on our lives and consider making significant changes in […]

Christmas: The Birth of Evangelization

We often describe Christmas as “Jesus’ birthday” and rightly so. It is, also, the day on which evangelization was born, modeled for us by the angels, who proclaimed to the shepherds the arrival of a newborn king. Their proclamation moved the shepherds to go in search of this king and, after they encountered him, to return to their lives filled with joy and gratitude. Evangelization is, of course, intimately related to catechesis. The Directory for […]

Froggy Jumps: A New Game for Kids to Learn About the Church Year

Shortly after each of my grandkids progressed from crawling to walking, they very quickly excelled at running and jumping, as most kids do! In particular, they suddenly became very adept at imitating frogs as they bounced around the house, jumping from sofa to couch, while saying, “Ribbit, ribbit!” I have no doubt, then, that they are going to love playing a new game from Loyola Press called Froggy Jumps—a game in which children help the […]

O Antiphons Activities Pack

The familiar Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” has as its verses paraphrases of the O Antiphons. These special prayers are prayed at Evening Prayer and as the Alleluia verse at weekday Masses from December 17–23. Introduce young people and families to the O Antiphons this Advent with our O Antiphons Activities Pack. Young people can learn the Latin words of the O Antiphons and compose a special poem. Or invite families to pray […]

Advent: Sharing Stories of Hope, Part 3

Welcome to the final installment of this brief series on sharing stories of hope during Advent. Previously, we’ve talked about how, through storytelling, we share our most important values, and how the stories we share, especially about people in need, must be stories of hope or “action motivators” rather than “action inhibitors.” During the holiday season, it is common to share stories about people in need of our charity and support. In his book, Cannonball […]

Advent: Sharing Stories of Hope, Part 2

In part one of this series, Advent: Sharing Stories of Hope, I wrote about how storytelling is a way of sharing our values (that which is most important to us) and how hope is a virtue that we highlight during the Advent season. Advent reminds us that we are to be a people of hope year-round, each and every day. We are to be people who carry and exude a confident and joyful anticipation of […]

Advent: Sharing Stories of Hope

Recently, my wife Joanne and I went on a trip to Cabo, Mexico, for our best friends’ daughter’s wedding. We spent four wonderful days in Mexico with our best friends, and when we returned home, we gathered with them, just three days later, to look at pictures and share stories. That might seem like a strange thing to do, since we had just been together for this shared experience. However, it is human nature to […]

The Growing Popularity of Advent Calendars: A Teachable Moment

Have you noticed that “Advent calendars” are all the rage these days? I put that in quotes because the “Advent calendars” I’m referring to are secular in nature and have become a big part of holiday marketing and sales. There are “Advent calendars” for wine, tea, chocolate, books, gemstones, spices, cookies, and a host of other delights, most of which have nothing to do with the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Now, I’m not […]

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