Embracing Simplicity

We conclude our series on developing a space for grace by exploring the importance of embracing simplicity. Helping our students embrace simplicity for a positive and healthy life should be a part of our conversations about faith, mission, and the stewardship of all the resources that God has entrusted to us. Here are a few entry points for a conversation about this topic. Look at the witness of Pope Francis. When Pope Francis was elected, […]

Introducing Young Children to the Examen

One of the centerpieces of Ignatian spirituality is the practice of the Daily Examen, a brief prayer exercise to help busy people recognize the presence and movement of God in their daily lives. Many wonderful books have been written to help adults practice this powerful prayer, with A Simple Life-Changing Prayer and Reimagining the Ignatian Examen being among the best. Previously, I have blogged about teaching young children how to practice the Examen. Now, thankfully, there […]

Cultivating Radical Hospitality

As we continue our series delving into practices that can help us create a space for grace, let’s explore the concept of radical hospitality and receiving others as Christ would receive them. To do this, I want to share a few insights from my Irish background and culture that might be helpful. In general, the Irish are known for their effusive hospitality and the warmth of their welcome. Indeed, the Irish expression céad míle fáilte, […]

Authentic Availability and Acceptance

We continue our series on developing a space for grace by focusing on authentic availability and acceptance. These two related spiritual practices can help us as catechists to fulfill our mission to share the Catholic faith joyfully with those around us. Authentic Availability Leo Tolstoy’s story of “The Three Questions” contains important lessons for us in terms of how to be authentically available to God and to each other. The story outlines three questions with […]

Releasing Regrets to Rest and Reset

This article continues a series in which we are exploring practices that can help each of us and our students to develop a space for grace. My last article focused on growing in gratitude and listed some practices that can spiritually strengthen us. Today we will focus on releasing regrets so that we can rest and reset. Release Regrets Releasing regrets is one of the keys to interior freedom and peace. Making peace with ourselves […]

Getting to Know Jesus: A Retreat Inspired by Dear Pope Francis

Invite children to get to know Jesus through a special retreat inspired by Ignatian spirituality and the book Dear Pope Francis. The retreat includes Scripture passages with the theme of getting to know Jesus. Each passage provides the basis for one session. The sessions can be prayed with over the course of a week in a Catholic school or in shorter sessions over the course of a one-day or weekend retreat for parishes. Three options […]

Lent and the Importance of Being Still

“Be still, and know that I am God.” —Psalm 46:10 This Scripture passage is the favorite of many, because it is so direct and so true. We all need to be reminded that God is God and we are not. And stillness helps us to recognize this truth. In fact, being still is a necessary part of spiritual renewal. Think of it this way. Have you ever come across a spiritual tradition that has not […]

Cannonball Moments, Lent, and the Call to Repent

On May 20, 1521, Ignatius of Loyola was wounded in battle, a cannonball shattering his leg. During his long period of rehabilitation, Ignatius had very little to distract him and was immobilized for a long stretch of time. With nothing else to do, he read the only literature available to him: books on Jesus and the lives of the saints. Upon reflection, he realized he was fighting for the wrong army and fighting the wrong […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Teaching the Art of Discernment

Among the many things that parents teach their children is how to make decisions. Today, more than ever, young people have many options available to them when making decisions. While having options is a good thing, it also creates more stress and anxiety for young people: How do I choose what’s best for me? How do I know which choice is the right one? Recognizing that making important decisions is a crucial skill in life, […]

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