It’s a Wonderful Life as an Easter Story

Every Christmas season, we have many opportunities to watch the Christmas classics, one of the most popular of which is the 1946 movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, with James Stewart and Donna Reed. While that heart-warming story is indeed suitable for Christmas, I can’t help but think that it is even more appropriate for Easter! Think about it: Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—a celebration of the transformation of suffering and […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Blessing of Easter Foods

One of my favorite traditions at Easter is the blessing of Easter foods and baskets on Holy Saturday. When I was a kid growing up in a predominantly Polish parish in Chicago, my siblings and I annually lugged several baskets full of the best-smelling Easter foods to the parish hall on Holy Saturday for the blessing of Easter foods known as the Święconka (shveeyen-TSON-kah). Many parishes continue this tradition on Holy Saturday; however, there is […]

Catechesis and the Paschal Mystery: Moving from Death to Life

The new Directory for Catechesis has many thought-provoking and powerful lines, including the following: “Everything [in faith formation] is oriented toward the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.” (64a) “Catechesis communicates the heart of the faith in an essential and existentially understandable way, bringing each person into contact with the Risen One and helping him to reinterpret and to live the most intense moments of his life as Paschal events.” (64a) I find it […]

Lent as a Thin Place: In Death You Will See New Life

Without a doubt, births and deaths are some of the most profound moments of our lives. They are most certainly “thin places”—those moments or places where the veil that normally prevents us from recognizing God’s presence seems to be quite thin. As we approach Holy Week, we prepare to come face to face with death and new life; Good Friday and Easter are a continuum. In our catechetical settings, Holy Week provides us with an […]

Lent as a Thin Place: Yearning for God

As I look back on my relationship with my wife Joanne, one of the times that I recall with greatest fondness is the time in which I was “in pursuit” of her. As a couple of teenagers, we moved from being part of a larger group to spending more and more time alone with one another. Of course, I spent great time and energy (and a lot of brain cells!) planning and plotting to create […]

Lent as a Thin Place: Embracing Our Brokenness

One of my favorite musical performers was the late Leonard Cohen, and one of my favorite songs by him is “Anthem.” In the refrain of this wonderful song, Cohen shares this profound truth: Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in Indeed, it is through the “cracks”—our brokenness—that the light gets in. It is this same truth that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Lent and Following Our Inner Compass

Just as the magnetized needle of a compass is naturally drawn to face north (the Earth’s magnetic pole), each of us is naturally drawn toward God. However, throughout the year, our attention is drawn by other things. Lent is a time for us to “turn around” and to once again allow ourselves to be drawn to God. Through praying, fasting, and giving alms, we focus our attention on God, to whom we are naturally drawn. […]

Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary Scripture Search

During the season of Lent, we reflect on the suffering and Death of Jesus. This is a good time to introduce or review the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. In addition to teaching children how to pray the Rosary, invite them to do a Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary Scripture Search. Download the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary Scripture Search reproducible and answer key using the form below. Introduce the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary […]

A Whole Bunch of Values Lenten Countdown for Children

For a fresh approach to a Lenten calendar, explore a variety of values with young children this Lent. Our Lenten Countdown for Children invites children to choose a good value to practice each day, coloring and numbering circles as they go to track their progress. Values listed include sharing, patience, honesty, and more—all traits covered in the book A Whole Bunch of Values. Download the Lenten Countdown for Children.

Pop-Up Catechesis: Wearing Ashes

Ash Wednesday is right around the corner, and it is one of the most public expressions of Catholicism that takes place throughout the year. Catholics are easily spotted on Ash Wednesday, and it’s always interesting to watch TV and spot newscasters, reporters, politicians, and celebrities sporting ashes on their foreheads. This public display of faith can put us on the spot, however, as others may ask us to explain ourselves. In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, […]

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