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 […]

Christmas Traditions

Did you talk about Christmas traditions with your group this year? Here, Julianne Stanz talks about two Irish holiday traditions. If Julianne’s Braving the Thin Places wasn’t in your stocking, get your copy here.

Pop-Up Catechesis: Understanding Peace

Scripture tells us that, when Jesus was born, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.” (Luke 2:13–14) In fact, in many of our Christmas carols, we sing of peace: “Sleep in heavenly peace.” (“Silent Night”) “And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.” (“O Little Town of Bethlehem”) “His law is love and His gospel is peace.” (“O Holy […]

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 […]

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