The Joyful Mysteries: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple and Finding Him in Our Lives

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary lead us up to and through the birth of Jesus Christ and his childhood. For that reason, they make for wonderful reflections during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Today, we look at the Fifth Joyful Mystery: the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. This mystery also includes elements of the Sorrowful Mysteries; there is nothing joyful about losing something, let alone losing a child! So much of Scripture, however, speaks […]

The Joyful Mysteries: The Presentation and Carrying the Light

Today, we continue our reflections on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary by looking at the Fourth Joyful Mystery: the Presentation. One of the distinguishing features of the Christmas season is lights. As December rolls along, more and more homes light up inside and out with Christmas lights, which serve to dispel the darkness of winter. As each Sunday of Advent reaches us, an additional candle is lit on our Advent wreaths, increasing the light […]

Christmas as the Feast Day for Catechists

If I were asked to choose a feast day for catechists, I’d have to choose Christmas. Christmas is the day that we celebrate the Incarnation, the Word made flesh. Throughout the year, catechists “enflesh” (i.e. give bodily form to; make real or concrete) the Word of God. I have no doubt that this is why Pope Francis chose to pray for catechists this December as his monthly prayer intention. Pope Francis is asking the Church […]

The Joyful Mysteries: The Nativity and Rejoicing in the Nearness of God

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary lead us up to and through the birth of Jesus Christ and his childhood. Today, we look at the Third Joyful Mystery: the Nativity. For my 50th birthday, my wife told me to splurge and buy a ticket to see Sir Paul McCartney live at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Even after John Lennon’s tragic death in 1980, I still held out hope that I might one day see one […]

Epiphany Journaling Novena Booklet

An Epiphany novena is a wonderful way of marking the Christmas season with prayer that is inspired by the Scriptural images of the journey of the Magi. This novena in anticipation of the traditional Feast of the Epiphany begins on December 28. This year, let’s take time to reflect on our own spiritual journey as we walk prayerfully with the Magi on their journey. Download my Epiphany Journaling Novena booklet for nine days of written […]

Traveling with the Shepherd This Christmas

For children, some of the most intriguing characters from the nativity stories are the shepherds, perhaps because at least some of the shepherds are imagined as being young. Catechists and parents can take advantage of the fascination that children have with shepherds and the nativity story by “traveling” with the shepherd from the wonderful book, The Shepherd’s Story, visiting local nativity scenes with a cutout shepherd boy. Invite children and families to take pictures of […]

Catechists as Proclaimers of a Promise Kept: Merry Christmas!

Hope is built on promises, and Christian hope does not disappoint. Why? Because our hope is based on a promise kept. The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise that God made to his people long ago, to send a Savior through whom God would always be present. On Christmas, we celebrate a promise kept! As catechists, we are proclaimers of a promise kept. We are proclaimers of hope! Those we teach are […]

Traveling on the Advent Train; Next Stop: Christmas!

Someone once asked me how we go about “switching gears” from Advent to Christmas. After I thought about it for a moment or two, I realized that we don’t switch gears, but rather, we allow ourselves to be transported by the liturgical calendar from one season to another. Liturgical seasons are defined not so much by what we do during each season, but rather by what that season does to us. We are formed by the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Lessons of the Magi at Epiphany

As we look forward to the Feast of the Epiphany, it’s important to realize that this is much more than a sentimental Christmas story for children, and its message isn’t limited to the notion that Jesus, the Savior, is revealed to the whole world, as critical as that point is. In this story, we also find a model for discipleship in the Magi (aka, the Three Wise Men or Three Kings). In this episode of Pop-Up […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Putting On Christ This Christmas

We often lament the fact that stores begin putting up Christmas decorations around the time of Halloween! Oddly enough, I find a link between Halloween and Christmas. On Halloween, children put on costumes and proceed to act like the characters they are portraying. My granddaughter, Livvy, two years of age, wore a kitty-cat costume and crawled about meowing and purring for a week. Well, on Christmas, we celebrate the person whose “costume” we have donned […]

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