Christmas and Catholic Identity

I had the privilege of being on the Morning Air show hosted by Sean Herriott (Relevant Radio) this morning. BTW, I’ll post a link to a recording of it tomorrow when it becomes available. Anyway, I spent the time talking about how unabashedly Catholic the celebration of Christmas is! I describe Catholic identity as being characterized by the following 5 traits: a sense of sacramentality a commitment to community a deep respect for the dignity of human […]

An Advent Examination of Conscience

Tonight, our 8th graders will be celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the church. Advent is indeed an appropriate time to celebrate this sacrament, making straight the path to the Lord. I found the following examination of conscience which is based on the scripture passage of the Visitation and the Magnificat (Luke 1:39-56) which makes it quite appropriate as an Advent examination of conscience. Advent Examination of Conscience

An Online Advent Calendar and an Advent Calendar with "Bite"

I came across the following online Advent Calendar, provided by St. Margaret Mary Parish in Naperville, Illinois. http://www.smmp.com/Advent/Advent.php Also, here is an unusual version of an Advent Calendar that I located at http://www.buynothingchristmas.org/resources/youth-guide2.html. This can be used to raise awareness about world poverty and the blessings that we take for granted in our own lives. (the poster at left is also available from this site) This is an Advent “calendar” that has a bite to […]

Advent Adventure in Good Deeds

I received the following from Barb G. in an email and am happy to pass it along…some nice ideas. Thanks Barb! Advent Adventure in Good Deeds Advent is a season of preparing our hearts to be more and more like Jesus, the light of the world.  Invite your young people to let the light of Jesus shine through them. Challenge them to reach out to others by taking an “Advent Adventure in Good Deeds” and […]

An Advent Retreat!

Here’s another opportunity for you to find enrichment during this wonderful Advent season. Loyola Press is hosting an Advent retreat on the Days of Deepening Frienship Web site. The retreat features a new Advent article each week written by some pretty talented authors! November 30: James Martin, SJ, shares tips on going from the secular to the spiritual in our Christmas preparations and celebrations. December 7:  Liz Kelly will share some insight on Advent rituals […]

An Evening of HOPE

Last evening’s class went very nicely. I was especially grateful for the very relaxed rapport that the 8th graders seem to have developed with me. They are upbeat and pleasant, smiling and talking with one another and with me. They genuinely seem to enjoy being there and we seem to be very comfortable with each other. With Advent beginning, our focus was on the theme of HOPE. Because of the good vibes, we were able […]

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Happy Advent! I hope that your Thanksgiving weekend was an opportunity to enjoy family, friends, and some recreation and renewal! Well, it’s back to “work” for me tonight, wrapping up the short unit on Church history. Here’s my plan: As the kids enter, I’ll give them pages from daily newspapers and set them to work finding examples of “bad news.” Each of the kids will share their examples of bad news stories with the group and I’ll talk […]

Easter Blessings!

I wish you a very Blessed Easter season!!! May the grace of the Risen Lord be with you always! Experiencing the Triduum was a blessing as always. Holy Thursday and Good Friday were at St. Julie Billiart parish in Tinley Park and the Easter Vigil was at St. Clement in Chicago. All were celebrated with great reverence, style, and grace, and the the richness of the sacramentality of these days filled all of my senses. […]

I Wish You A Blessed Holy Week

The other day, I drove past a Protestant church whose marquee read “He is Risen!” I joked with my wife that “they’re a week early!” And yet, of course, we know that Jesus is Risen. As we proceed through this Holy Week, we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus through the lens of the Resurrection. We don’t pretend this week that we don’t know how the story ends. Good Friday is not a wake service for […]

40/40 – Lenten Activities: A Holy Week Gift Box

Throughout Lent, a number of catechists weighed in with contributions of their own. I’m pleased to share the following activity with you from a catechist named Greg in my home state of Illinois! Thanks, Greg! A Holy Week Gift Box Hi Joe, I teach my last class before Easter this week on Palm Sunday afternoon (to my 7th graders). I would love to leave each of my students with something as both a “gift” and […]

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