St. Patrick and the Trinity

Today is the annual Southside Irish parade in Chicago which kicks off the many celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. I think for many Catholics, when they think of St. Patrick, they think of his 3-leaf clover metaphor for the Trinity. I suppose that helps for little kids, but what about us adults? Too often the Trinity is dismissed as a mystery that we can never understand. While we can never solve the mystery of the […]

Let Your Light Shine…Without Tooting Your Own Horn

This Tuesday evening, my wife and I are scheduled to volunteer at a homeless shelter. I plan to share this with my students, not to boast, but to help them see that service is a way of life for Catholics. They have just been confirmed and were required to complete a certain number of service hours. I want them to see that they weren’t just jumping through a hoop but were engaging in the Catholic […]

Catholics in a Secular World

My friend Sr. Julie writes: This morning I overheard some locker room talk at the gym. From what I could gather two of the women were school teachers. One mentioned that in her school (I don’t think it was Catholic) all of the religious holidays are no longer observed. Instead schools are going with national holidays such as International Women’s Day. While I am pleased that such national holidays are recognized, I do have some questions. […]

The Communion of Saints

Today is my (deceased) Dad’s 86th birthday. I’m going to Mass with my Mom and then out to eat to celebrate Dad’s life. I think of him often and have many dreams about him (he passed away nearly 10 years ago). I find great comfort in the Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints and I feel my Dad’s presence in my life in an ongoing way. I think that the Communion of Saints is […]

A Modest Proposal

I wonder how it is that we settled on the model of one catechist per 12-15 students for religious education.  It occurs to me that if we really wanted to invite young people into an apprenticeship in the Catholic way of life, that we would surround them with more adults. I see no reason why a “class” of 12-15 young people couldn’t be accompanied by 4 or 5 adults.  I know that DREs will say that it’s […]

Catechists Deserve Respect

My (Feb. 2) post about “Natalie” is a good example of the lack of respect given to the role of the catechist. Catechists are not baby-sitters, den mothers, scout leaders, or lunch-moms/dads. Those are all roles with their own dignity, but to be a catechist is to have a vocation. When someone responds to that call to serve as a catechist, the Church owes her or him support, guidance, and formation. A friend of mine from […]

Checking On Prayers Taken to Heart

I mentioned a while back that I will be taking the young people aside one at a time to check whether or not they have taken to heart the prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I begin tonight. (As I do this, Patti will be conducting the lesson).  I’m going to do this in a prayerful manner. Before we begin, I’m going to ask each of them if there is someone or some need they […]

Countdown to Confirmation

This Monday evening, we begin the home stretch to Confirmation…about 6 weeks away. This immediate preparation can be a great opportunity to impress upon the young people an appreciation and awareness of the great grace of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Uppermost in my mind is helping them to see that Confirmation is not the end of their religious formation. Too often, it is seen as “graduation” from the Church. I hope to emphasize […]

Catholics and the Bible

I’m glad to hear that the bishops of the world will gather later this year (October) with Pope Benedict XVI for a Synod on the Bible. This will be a good opportunity for Catholics to reflect on the role of Scripture in our formation. For too many Catholics, the Bible has been kept at arm’s length, causing us to miss out on the power of God’s Word in Scripture. Catechists are at the forefront of […]

Catechist Connection

Not too long ago, I mentioned a forum for catechists called the Catechist Connection. Unfortunately, that forum closed up shop. There were some good threads going and I encourage catechists who were deeply involved in discussion on that forum to send their comments here. In my posts, I’ll be happy to address issues that are brought forth in comments so that the discussions about issues of importance to catechists can keep going.

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