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 […]

Spiritual but not Religious? Here’s What it Means to Be Spiritual

Many of those we minister to these days will use the description, “I’m spiritual but not religious,” to describe themselves. This typically means that they seek a relationship with God but are wary, disillusioned, or just not attracted by institutional religion or denominations. One of the problems that folks in this situation encounter, however, is that being “spiritual” can be a very nebulous notion. We can help those interested in a deeper spiritual life by […]

Book Club Bonus: Share Your Opinion!

We hope you enjoyed reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List this summer. Please take a few moments and help us learn about your experience with this book club format and how we might improve by taking the survey below. View Survey Use promo code 4919 to receive 20% off The Prayer List. Shipping and handling are additional. Offer expires 8/10/18. Cannot be combined with other special offers. U.S. domestic shipping orders only.

Online Book Club Week 10: This Is Not Our Home

Editor’s note: Welcome to the last week of our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 28, 29, and the epilogue. Learn more about the book club here. “Two Toms” and “Praying with a Mother’s Heart” are two chapters that broke my heart. They are stories of prayer, faith, doubt, great love, and great loss. Love and loss are […]

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