Advent: Who’s Coming?

As we began class on Monday, I pointed to the prayer center and asked, “Does anyone notice anything different?” After a short pause, one of the girls pointed to the purple cloth and said, “There’s purple for Advent.” I complimented her on being so observant and then asked, “So, what does the word Advent mean?” No one knew (or at least no one volunteered an answer!). Then, I gave an example. Our aide, Ben, had […]

Advent Hope

Tonight is an opportunity to spend some time with the young people focusing on the notion of HOPE as we proceed through this first week of Advent. I picked up a few copies of the daily newspapers and will distribute sections to each of the young people, asking them to find a “bad news” story and to tear it out and prepare to describe it to the group. We’ll collect these stories on the table […]

The Liturgical Calendar, the Paschal Mystery, and the Grand Canyon

If you’ve ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that its immenseness is overwhelming: 277 river miles long, up to 18 mles wide, and a mile deep! All around the rim of the Canyon are numerous breathtaking look-out points. What do visitors to the Grand Canyon do? They walk along the trails and pause at various look-out points to take in the view from specific vantage points. Along the way, they are looking at the same […]

The Seven Last Words and the Stations of the Cross

In honor of Holy Week, I offer you these links to prayerful reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ and the Stations of the Cross: The First Word The Second Word The Third Word The Fourth Word The Fifth Word The Sixth Word The Seventh Word The Stations of the Cross

40 Days, 40 Possibilities

I just received a handout from a friend, titled “40 Days, 40 Possibilities.” It provides some very practical suggestions for practicing the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Click here to access it. I hope you find it helpful for yourself as well as for those you teach.

Ashes

I’m glad that we receive ashes only once a year and have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist everyday (and not the other way around!). Both actions express the same message: we are incapable of sustaining ourselves. On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of what we are when no longer sustained by God: dust. The Eucharist, on the other hand, IS what sustains us—God’s grace—the presence of Jesus within us. The message of Ash Wednesday […]

Living Stations of the Cross

Last night, the 8th grade religious education students offered a Living Stations of the Cross in the Church. The DRE, Arlene Astrowski, did such a wonderful job of working with these kids with very limited time to gather them to rehearse. It was simply done and with adolescent reverence (meaning that there were smirks and uncomfortable fidgeting that comes with teens doing something that serious in front of their friends). Before I took my class to […]

An Easter Exercise in Imagination

Kids are very familiar with the tradition of people decorating their homes for Christmas with creche scenes that draw from Scripture. Here’s an idea to prod the imaginations of young people and help them to focus on Scripture images from the Easter stories: Invite your students to imagine that they own a business that manufactures home decorations. First, have them brainstorm all of the figures that need to be manufactured for a creche scene (Mary, […]

So, What Are You Doing for Lent?

Catechists typically practice what they preach and, this time of the year, we are preaching Lent to our students. That leads me to ask, WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS LENT?  What is your spiritual plan for growth? How are you practicing the Lenten disciplines? Let’s take the next couple of days to just share our thoughts, insights, and experiences around this question.

Another Lenten Idea

Here’s another simple idea to use to draw attention to the focus of Lent. Ask all of your students to stand up and, on the count of three, to point north. Inevitably, there is some confusion…not all have their bearings! Explain that we can rely on a compass to help us get a sense of direction. Make a simple home-made compass. You will need a magnet, a sewing needle, a shallow aluminum baking pan filled […]

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