Use Vacation to Renew Your Vocation

Feeling a little flat? Except for having a flat tummy, it is usually not a positive thing to say that something is flat. Food, music, a carbonated drink, an acting performance, an athletic performance: if any of these are referred to as flat, that’s not a good thing! Sometimes, as catechists, we can find ourselves feeling “flat.” The General Directory for Catechesis tells us that, to avoid being flat, we catechists need formation that is […]

The Triduum and Discernment

I’m in a period of discernment, not sure where God is calling me. I may discover that the old ways I’ve been doing things are no longer appropriate; in a sense, a part of me may have to die so that I can discover a new way of serving God. In this way, I will be living the Paschal Mystery, which is the whole point of the Triduum. Maybe you too are asking, “Lord, what […]

How to Take Care of Yourself as a Catechist

Getting up early is my least-favorite thing to do. Yet on Sunday mornings, I spring into action, because I truly can’t wait to see my class. Staying fresh and motivated is important, and I work to make sure that I’m tending to my own development as well as my students’. Here are some ways I keep myself spiritually refreshed. Build in quiet time. Some days, it feels like I’m on the run from the time […]

Pause Without Pausing

My wife and I recently took our spiritual pulse, using a brief assessment derived from Terry Hershey’s book, The Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less. I was happy with my results: I am “a powerful pauser” and know how to balance my priorities. Of course, finding this balance has required me to make some difficult decisions. For example, earlier this year I recognized that I had overcommitted myself. Teaching a ninth-grade class full-time […]

Finding Balance as a Religion Teacher

Finding balance is a very important part of every catechist’s life. We are pulled in so many directions; giving of ourselves to our students requires that we keep our eyes on the Lord, our students, and ourselves too. How do I keep myself balanced and nourished? When I was a college student, I looked forward to the camaraderie and time spent away from the busyness of college at our semester retreats. These three-day retreats were […]

Putting Things Behind Us

For many, New Year’s Eve can be an occasion for excessive drinking. There are many reasons for that, but one of them, for sure, is the desire that many of us have to put things behind us. As we turn the page on the calendar with high hopes for better days to come, we can’t help but call to mind the regrets, failures, hurts, pains, and disappointments of the previous year. Perhaps one way that […]

A New Year and New Beginnings

Like most people, I find myself making one or two New Year’s resolutions—usually associated around some form of self-improvement (diet and exercise). Some I keep; others I’m less successful at keeping. While New Year’s Day is about new beginnings, there is an important distinction to be made between our approach to the new liturgical year that has just begun and the New Year on our secular calendar. Ultimately, New Year’s resolutions are about something that […]

Connecting with Other Catechists

Like the families we serve, catechists are a diverse group. We are of different generations (my fellow catechists include millennials, gen-X’ers, and baby boomers); we come from different backgrounds (some are cradle Catholics, others were baptized as adults, still others like myself came into full communion with the Catholic Church from another Christian tradition); and we grew up experiencing different cultural traditions (one friend of mine likes to share the traditions she learned from her […]

Where Has God Been in Your Classroom?

The midpoint of the faith formation year is the perfect time to reflect on how the faith formation year has gone so far. The following exercises, based on the wisdom of St. Ignatius Loyola, are meant to help you discern where God has been in the classroom and where God might be directing the classroom during the remainder of the year. Begin each exercise by warming-up with a Scripture reading, a prayer, or silence, and […]

The Saintly Catechist

The director of our faith formation program asked if I could help her develop a saints’ syllabus for the eighth- and ninth-grade classes. This was right up my alley. We met for coffee to work on the syllabus, which would complement our regular curriculum. Our discussion turned to the canonization process: how does someone become a saint? As we talked about the steps in the canonization process, I wondered, “What do we have to do […]

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