Ascension Leads to Looking at Summer Spiritual Experiences

As we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension, just about all of us have moved into the more peaceful period between the end of the religious education year and the start of Vacation Bible School. When I worked in a parish, I savored each and every one of those days, and as I was praying, I turned to St. Luke’s version of the Ascension story (Luke 24:50–53). What struck me in those few verses is that Jesus’ […]

Forming Catechist Enrichment Groups

In her book, Cultivating Your Catechists: How to Recruit, Encourage, and Retain Successful Catechists (The Effective Catechetical Leader series), Jayne Mondoy reminds us that corporate America invests millions of dollars in coaching groups of individuals (employees or clients) to work together toward a common goal and to be fully engaged. The truth is, without engagement, people (especially volunteers) tend to burn out more quickly. In his book, Growing an Engaged Church (Gallup Press), Albert L. Winseman identifies three […]

Take a Deep Breath in May

The month of May might just be one of my favorite times of the catechetical year. May provides an opportunity for DREs to take a deep breath, a momentary pause between the conclusion of the school year and the beginning of the summer. We delight in empty classrooms and suddenly open calendars. We return supplies to their places, clean out the clutter, and organize the paperwork. After all the Easter celebrations, May Crownings, First Communions, […]

Expanding the Soul: Feasting on Hope Leads to Magnanimity

Gandhi once said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” It seems to me that a simple way of doing a daily Examen is to ask ourselves, What did I do today that made my soul expand? and What did I do (or fail to do) today that made my soul constrict? Unlike our waistlines, which we struggle to prevent from expanding, our goal […]

Three Ways to Make Hope Real

Our world needs to hear the message of Christian hope. This hope is not mere optimism; rather Christian hope finds its source in a person, Jesus of Nazareth. St. Thomas Aquinas said hope is, “infused in us by God alone.” The universal call of the Church is to be a missionary disciple, to live as one who understands that we are sent forth to make hope real in our world today by sharing the Good […]

Holy Week: Entering the Passion Story

As we journey through this holiest of weeks, and especially the Triduum, I invite you to reflect and respond to one or both of the following questions: Which character(s) in the Passion story do you find most intriguing (whether they are inspiring or tragic) and why? If you could paint a picture or create a sculpture of one moment in the story of Christ’s Passion, what would it be and why? I invite you to […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

This is the sixth article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Happy are the catechists who are authentic, for the young people will see how much they rely on God. Some days, I find it very hard to be motivated to prepare for my faith formation classes. On these days, more than ever, I need […]

Sacred Spaces

Do you have favorite places to pray? I know I’ve got several, and depending on what’s going on at the time, I will seek out my little locations and get connected with God. Since I’m a morning person, one of my favorite places to pray is my little patio right outside my kitchen. I’ve equipped this patio with comfortable chairs, a table, and a beautiful little terra cotta image of the Madonna and Child. Coffee […]

Hope Is Not a Feeling; It’s a Practice

As much as Facebook can sometimes be annoying and frustrating, with people venting and over-sharing, I also find a number of gems along the way. One person I can count on for that is my friend Bob Burnham, who recently posted the following phrase: “Hope is not a feeling; it’s a practice.” He then generously shared a link to a very nice article he wrote for Busted Halo: “3 Ways to Practice Hope,” in which he […]

A Few Ignatian Items

As you take some time to relax this week and enjoy the Christmas season, we bring to your attention a few articles you might enjoy from another Loyola Press website, IgnatianSpirituality.com. Staying Curious by Marina McCoy In his ministry, Jesus often asks others what they want. For example, he asks the blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) On another occasion, James and John approach Jesus, and he asks […]

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