Catechists In Action #3 – Dan Talks About Advent/Christmas Preparations and the Sacrament of Reconciliation

In this segment of Catechists in Action, we watch as 7th grade catechist Dan Ward talks with his students about preparing for Christmas and the coming of Christ and about preparing to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation the following week. Watch for the following as Dan: multi-tasks: teaching while also distributing materials pauses and shushes students when they get innattentive gives the students a writing activity to do but creates a sense of urgency by […]

Reconciliation – The Light is ON for You

Tonight, our 8th graders will be going to the church to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the season of Lent. I see that in the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has launched an effort titled “The Light is On for You” to encourage people to receive the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. In essence, every parish and chapel in the Archdiocese of Boston will be open on Wednesdays during Lent from 6:30-8:00 pm for confessions. […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Primary Grades

Welcome to this installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the next […]

Sacraments: Grace for Christian Witness

Pope Francis has repeatedly urged the faithful not to remain closed-in on ourselves, focused only on the affairs of the Church, but rather to go out and give witness to Christ. This is the missionary spirit in which catechists share the Good News—not only in the classroom, but in our daily interactions with the greater community. This bold commission may seem daunting at times, but we receive grace, “the free and undeserved help . . […]

How a Yearly Calendar Helps Me as a Catechist

When I start seeing back-to-school sales I know it’s time to put together my yearly calendar for planning my upcoming year as a catechist. When I first became a catechist, I just flowed through the year with no overall plan. I would read over the next lesson in my teacher guide several days before an upcoming class and then present it from the book. That was not my best effort, and I remember scrambling at […]

Come to the Table: A First Communion Retreat (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of two articles about hosting a retreat for children preparing for their First Holy Communion and their parents. This article provides the outline and schedule for the retreat. The preparations, planning, and materials needed for the retreat were described in the first article. Registration and Gathering The retreat begins with snacks and registration. At registration, hand out a welcome kit to each family. Ask each family member to write their names […]

Come to the Table: A First Communion Retreat (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of two articles about hosting a retreat for children preparing for their First Holy Communion and their parents. This article covers the preparations, planning, and materials needed for the retreat. An outline for the retreat will be provided in the second article. One of my favorite activities to do with the children is Come to the Table, our First Communion Retreat. This retreat has become an opportunity for family catechesis, when […]

Lent, a Time to (Re-)Learn the Story of Our Salvation—Part 2: Restoration

Lent is a wonderful time for us to learn or to re-learn the story of our salvation, which is at the heart of our Baptism. How does one go about telling a story, however, that spans several millennia and encompasses 72 books (and thousands of pages) of Scripture? Actually, the entire story of our salvation can be summarized and captured in three words: the story of our salvation is one of rescue, restoration, and reassurance. […]

Speaking God’s Language at Home

It is an established fact that language and culture go hand in hand. Language is a crucial part of identity. When a language becomes endangered, the culture associated with that language also becomes endangered. According to linguist Noam Chomsky, “Language embodies the world view of a culture and is unique to the culture that created it. It reflects values and concepts that are deemed to be the most important by a culture. A language describes the culture […]

Sharing the Wisdom: Lessons from Mom on War, Peace, and Prayer

Twelve-inch painted ceramic statues of Jesus and Mary are permanent fixtures on the bedside table of my mother, Caridad Ragasa. The painted-on hair, cheeks, and hands are partially worn off, evidence of my mother’s daily caresses. As a child, I witnessed her kneel before the statues in prayer every morning and evening. I marveled at her persistent daily devotion, which for years I never fully understood. Finally, as a teen I asked, “Mom, when did […]

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