Advent in a Parish

This long-time Texas boy has recently moved north to Minnesota, and two of the joys I have felt as a result of this move are the experiences of watching the leaves change color in the fall (something I did not see much growing up) and the snowfall of winter. (Within just the last few days, I have witnessed more snow than I have in the past several years combined back home.) These changes remind me […]

How to Host a Parish Advent Wreath-Making Workshop

The Advent Wreath Workshop is an event I happily inherited from my predecessor at the Church of St. Clare in Staten Island, NY, where I serve as Pastoral Associate and Director of Religious Education. Every year, we invite parishioners on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent to gather and make an Advent wreath for their home. This event is a popular activity in our parish. I have met parishioners who have been doing this for many years as […]

The Wandering Wise Men and Other Advent Traditions

Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year. I am thankful that my school waits to celebrate Christmas, opting for a hearty Advent celebration instead. My classroom gets into the Advent celebration by including many fun traditions and service projects revolving around Advent. My classroom has an Advent wreath, and we use the Loyola Press Children’s Advent Calendar. Our school also has an all-school Advent wreath prayer service where we sing and pray together. […]

John the Baptist’s Marketing Strategies

Whenever I propose an idea for a new book to Loyola Press, one of the questions that I am asked by our marketing people is, “How is this different from anything else that’s on the market?” The better job I do of differentiating my work from anything else available, the better chance the book has of being successful. Is it possible that John the Baptist had a degree in marketing? When you consider his message, his […]

Six Ways to Celebrate Advent at Home

Advent offers unique and beautiful opportunities to make family memories in the home. The traditions of this season allow Catholics to practice our faith more deeply and with greater attention and intent. Here are some simple ideas to celebrate a faith-filled Advent. 1. Savor the darkness. During Advent, the days are short and the nights are long. Just as we long for the warm and sunny days of summer, we long for the light of […]

Family2Family Advent Connections

Several years ago the faith community within which I ministered adopted the Advent theme “Taking Hope to Others” for our seasonal focus. The idea was to encourage members to find ways of living out the hope the Christ Child brings in real and practical ways. I pondered what this might look like for my religious education families and how busy suburban families could possibly find ways to “take hope to others.” I struggled, as many […]

Advent in Action: Bringing a Calendar to Life

Catechists and Catholic school teachers are responsible for what can seem like daunting tasks each liturgical season: being creative with lessons that get children excited and involved, and incorporating technology in the classroom. Keven Rinaman of Calvert Catholic Schools in Tiffin, OH, took an approach during Advent 2016 that included both efforts. As Director of Technology and former teacher at Calvert Catholic, Rinaman came up with an Advent calendar project after brainstorming with Barb Gilman […]

Advent Bookmarks

We know that the excitement of Christmas is top of mind for children in December, even as we try to teach them the patience of waiting in Advent. This year, help young children remember the gift of Jesus at Christmas with our Advent bookmarks coloring sheets, available in English and Spanish. The bookmarks are from Finding God Kindergarten. Invite children to use the bookmarks in their textbooks or hang them on the family fridge as […]

10 Ways to Celebrate Advent with Your Class—Without Rushing to Christmas

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Dear Pope Francis Family Kit today; details below. With stores decorating for Christmas as early as Halloween, movie channels already showing holiday flicks, and restaurants playing Christmas music in November, it’s easy for the young people we serve to want to jump […]

Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

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