Pop-Up Catechesis: Advent and Looking Forward

We all need something to look forward to. Often we find the energy to get through today because of something that’s on the horizon for tomorrow. Perhaps we’re looking forward to a special event, like the birth of a child, a birthday or anniversary celebration, a much-needed vacation, or a reunion with an old friend or family members. Maybe we are looking forward to attending a major sporting event or a concert or theater performance. […]

Curating Advent Resources to Fit the Needs of Those You Teach

As the role of the catechist continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, one of the models that is becoming more apt is that of the catechist as curator. Typically, we think of a curator as that person in a museum or gallery who is responsible for acquiring, caring for, and developing a collection of artifacts that will be displayed for the edification, education, and inspiration of those […]

Advent: The Season of Hope That We Really Need

It is an understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year! We can’t wait to turn the page and move on to a new year. For Catholics, that turning of the page happens a month before the secular holiday of New Year’s Day on January 1. We celebrate the beginning of our liturgical year on the First Sunday of Advent, which is only a few weeks away, on November 29. Advent is always […]

Advent: Getting the Help We All Need

Perhaps more than any other liturgical season, the season of Advent reminds us that we need help! It is a season that reminds us that we are in need of an intervention—a savior—someone who enters into our reality and lifts us up and out of the “muck” that we find ourselves trapped in. The “muck,” of course, is sin, and our Savior, of course, is Jesus Christ. In order for us to overcome the effects […]

When and How to Introduce Advent

The first week of Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. While that is usual, it forces me to make a choice in how to introduce Advent: Do I talk about the season early, before Thanksgiving? Or do I wait until after the holiday break, when the season has already started? I’ve alternated my approach through the years, but I usually like to at least introduce Advent before the holiday, inviting the young people to […]

Creating Sacred Space for Advent

What does it mean to call something “sacred?” According to the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (InterVarsity Press), “a sacred space is a place where God is encountered in a special or direct way by virtue of which the very place becomes holy and set apart from ordinary space.” This Advent, embrace the season as a sacred space and do so from the ease of your e-mail inbox. Sacred Advent is a daily e-mail prayer break during […]

Get in Touch with Hope for Advent

Advent often seems like just a busy “home stretch” before Christmas “break.” Normally, there is little opportunity for parish leaders and catechists to prepare themselves for the season. We who serve others often think of ourselves last. However, if we do not develop a personal spirituality for Advent, we are not really in a position to teach others its significance. As has often been said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Authentic spirituality for […]

Keeping Focused This Advent

Ah, it’s Advent. I don’t know about you, but it sometimes looks as though Christmas is already here, with all the Christmas sales and all the holiday decorations. As I sat in the pew on Sunday, I kept thinking about all the shopping I still had to do—there are only so many shopping days left before Christmas! I hope we’ll all be able to refocus now on our Advent journey. The craziness of Black Friday […]

A New Beginning This Advent

As Christmas approaches, life becomes hectic, overbooked, and our prayer time can shrink. But if we take intentional steps, Advent can become a period of deepening our relationship with our Savior. The word advent means “coming or arrival”—the coming of Christ into the world. Advent is a time of preparation. During this season, we direct our hearts and our minds toward Christmas, the anniversary of Christ’s birth. However, we also prepare for the second coming […]

Advent in the Classroom

Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. I really enjoy the many activities that the parish, the school, and my classroom use to prepare children for the birth of Jesus. Our parish has a “giving tree.” We have a large Christmas tree near the altar. The tree is decorated with paper ornaments that list the age of a child and Christmas gift. Families take an ornament off the tree and buy the gift for […]

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