When Christ Comes, Let Us Welcome Him

The Christmas season is one of immense opportunity for us to re-engage those who come to church only sporadically. During this time, we should be especially effusive and warm in our welcoming efforts. Unfortunately, hospitality has become synonymous with coffee and donuts after Mass in many parishes. We seem to have relegated welcoming to a particular committee such as the Stewardship Committee or the Hospitality Committee. Not only has this mindset absolved our parishioners of […]

When Simpler Is Better

As a non-creative person by nature, I spend a good deal of time trying to think of ways to make my second-grade class as captivating as possible. As catechists we know that the subject we teach is the most exciting, life-giving topic ever to be shared. But finding new ways to engage our students is easier for some than others, especially for non-creative people like me. I always felt that I’d need to ramp up […]

Waiting and Preparation: Teaching Advent and Christmas

What should Catholic children know about Advent? They should know that it is a season of waiting and preparation, not fulfillment. In contrast to the frenzied Christmas shopping season, the patient waiting that characterizes Advent has its own particular beauty. More than that, it helps us understand something important about Jesus: he is the awaited Savior of the people of God. Use the rich symbols and stories of the season to help children experience Advent […]

Glory to God!

In his Urbi et Orbi message for Christmas 2013, Pope Francis said: I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people. I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man […]

Christmas Project Day

We take the week of Christmas and the following week off from faith formation classes. That means we might have one or two classes during the Christmas season—and those after the world has already moved on past trees and tinsel. How do we teach children the importance of the Christian understanding of Christmas when the timing seems a bit awkward? I try to do so by using the last class before Christmas as a project […]

The Manger and the Message: The Real Story of Christmas in Less Than Two Minutes

Here’s a resource from a friend of mine that I know you will like. Bret Nicholas worked with me at Loyola Press for a number of years and contributed greatly to the titling and marketing of many of my books and for that, I am eternally grateful. He runs his own publishing business and has authored an outstanding little resource called The Manger and the Message: The Real Story of Christmas in Less Than Two […]

Thank God for the Textbook!

On pg. 40 of my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, I mention that one of the top ten things that can go wrong for a catechist is “You’re done with your lesson and you still have 35 minutes to go!” Would you believe 50 minutes? That’s exactly what happened to me last night! We took our 6th graders to church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we were told to anticipate that it would take the […]

This Christmas, Light Up a Room as Mary Did

The Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent provides us with a key for how to enter into Christmas. We hear of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. Mary enters and does not utter a word and yet Elizabeth is filled with joy. Why? Because Mary is carrying Jesus within her…she is bringing Good News into Elizabeth’s home. She is bringing the nearness of God to Elizabeth. Mary knows how to light up a room! As […]

Catechists in Action – Dan Ward Segment 6

In this segment of Catechists in Action, 7th grade catechist Dan Ward continues to work with his students to prepare them for Christmas. Watch as Dan… invites his students to take 3 minutes to think of what they need to do to prepare for Jesus’ coming invites volunteers to share their ideas shares an idea of how he and his family are going to prepare for Christmas httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2SlSHFTlvs

Catechists In Action #3 – Dan Talks About Advent/Christmas Preparations and the Sacrament of Reconciliation

In this segment of Catechists in Action, we watch as 7th grade catechist Dan Ward talks with his students about preparing for Christmas and the coming of Christ and about preparing to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation the following week. Watch for the following as Dan: multi-tasks: teaching while also distributing materials pauses and shushes students when they get innattentive gives the students a writing activity to do but creates a sense of urgency by […]

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