Coloring Pages with Older Students

Another catechist had a coloring page he recommended—“except for the older kids, of course.” I, as the seventh-grade catechist, took the page anyway. While I never want to bore or insult the young people with an activity that is too young for them, I have found coloring pages to be useful activities from time to time. A simple outline to color can help make a point in a learning station, such as an image of […]

Collaborative Religious Art

I love the artwork that adorns the hallways of our school. While we display art made by our students, religious art decorates the building itself: the first-floor hallway ends at a beautiful mosaic of the Madonna of the Streets, and a large cream-colored bas-relief of angels playing instruments greets students at the end of the north stairwell. Most recently, our school has added collaborative art projects made by the eighth-graders as a gift from the […]

Using Visuals to Evangelize in the Classroom

The expression “a picture speaks a thousand words” is particularly apt for the culture in which we live. Image-intensive social media platforms promote sharing through memes, stories, and snippets of information that go viral. For young people, images are not a distraction from the central message but constitute the message itself. Authenticity and thoughtful imaging of the Christian message are particularly important for us as a Church. For those who are in a pre-evangelization stage […]

Arts and Crafts in the Classroom for the Non-Artist Catechist

Arts and crafts are not my specialty. I am upfront about this with my students, but I don’t want my lack of art skill to mean that we don’t have any artistic activities in our sessions. I certainly appreciate fine art. I have asked young people to draw pictures as responses to themes we’re discussing. And I do find some projects that I can lead that appeal to the artistic side of young people. What’s […]

Story, Art, and Prayer in Holy Week

Holy Week presents a perfect opportunity for catechists to change what might be the usual format for the session and create a retreat-like atmosphere to explore themes from this climax of the liturgical year. I do that in my seventh-grade classroom by focusing on several prayer experiences and activities aimed at helping the young people grasp the story of Jesus’ Passion and Death. I’ve written before about Preparing for Holy Week in Junior High, but […]

“If These Walls Could Talk…” Catholic Walls Do Talk!

This is a picture I took several years ago of my wife, Joanne, pausing to sit and reflect at the Art Institute of Chicago. This is generally what we do when we encounter art: we pause and let it “speak” to us. Art that relies on images, shapes, and objects speaks to us without using words to tell a story. I remember as a young child attending the Latin Mass and not understanding most of it. […]

The Boy in the Back of a Nativity Painting

Long-time catechists may find themselves going back to the tried-and-true activities that they’ve used before with predictable outcomes. But sometimes breaking out of that cycle can be a good thing. For a number of years, I would print out artwork that depicted the Nativity. I had 15–20 images from various artists. The first-grade children and I would sit in a circle on the floor, and I would show the images to the class and then […]

Arts and Faith

Tips on using art in summer ministry. A contest hosted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans that showcases emerging young artists. An artist who’s painting the first portrait of Pope Francis. These are a few of the stories Loyola Press includes in its second annual series, Arts and Faith. Arts and Faith is a collection of stories about Catholics around the globe who demonstrate the creative ways art expresses and deepens their relationship with God. […]

Using Arts & Faith: Holy Week with Young Adults

Following are suggestions for using videos from Arts & Faith: Holy Week with the young adults of your parish. Invite your group to deepen their experience of Holy Week through reflection and discussion of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Since I’m a chronic planner, living in the present moment is always hard for me. I like to think through all the possibilities and then take the next […]

Using Arts & Faith: Christmas with Young Adults

This is a guest post by Pamela Tremblay. Christ’s Birth as an Invitation to Enter the Messiness The reflection states that Christ, “enters messily into the imperfection of our lives.” It then ends with the challenging question of “How will she bring his light to the world?” Young adults are a generation filled with passion and desire to change the world. They want to be people of greatness and are at a time in their […]

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