Baptismal Crosses and Baptism Reunions

In his book, Excellence in Ministry: Best Practices for Successful Catechetical Leadership (part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series from Loyola Press and NCCL), my friend Tom Quinlan wisely suggests the following: My strong exhortation for parishes today is to front-load their efforts at impacting family systems. There is much more proverbial bang for the buck in doing front-loaded, early family evangelization ministry than anything later down the road! From my experience, baptismal ministry gets next-to-nothing […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Baptism, A Whole New You

Welcome to the second installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of Baptism, with the theme of “A Whole New You.” In some traditions (Celtic spirituality, for example), certain locations have been identified as spaces where God’s presence is heightened and therefore more easily encountered. These spaces are referred to as “thin spaces,” referring to the belief that […]

A Great Video for Baptismal Prep: Ritual Matters

One area of adult faith formation that is always in need of more attention is baptismal preparation, especially when it comes to helping young parents recognize how they can help their family to grow in faith. A great resource to keep in mind is something that has been around for a few years: the “Ritual Matters” video that is part of the Come and See DVD in the God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist program from Loyola Press. This lovely, brief […]

Summary of Session on Moses/Exodus (12/10/13)

Tuesday’s session on Moses and the Exodus event was a very enriching experience! Unfortunately, we had 2 students absent, including the one who asked the great question last week about whether or not God was doing bad things by sending the plagues upon the Egyptians. I had hoped she would be present to benefit from our further exploration of the topic. We started by giving the kids a quiz on the first 3 commandments which […]

Holy Saturday, 2013

Alleluia! He is Risen! Here are pics from the Easter Vigil so beautifully celebrated at St. Julie Billiart Parish in Tinley Park, IL. Awaiting the Vigil in darkness 6 young adults await baptism The lighting of the Easter fire The Exsultet beautifully proclaimed by John Thomas of Liturgy Training Publications   Alleluia!!! The Litany of Saints I baptize you… Renewal of baptismal promises White garments   Approaching the altar for the first time

A Lesson Plan on the Sacraments of Initiation

For the past week, while traveling from coast to coast, I’ve been rambling about my lesson for this evening on the Sacraments of Initiation (and a connection to the Old Testament) and posting bits and pieces here and there as I came up with them. Now, I’ve put it all together into a coherent (hopefully!) lesson plan for this evening! Here ’tis: The Sacraments of Initiation Big Idea: We pledge allegiance to God through the Sacraments of […]

Exodus/Passover and the Sacraments of Initiation – Update

Here is the latest addition to my lesson for tomorrow evening on the Sacraments of Initiation and how they tie-in to the Exodus/Passover story. I developed a chart that the young people will once again need to manipulate (I will do it as a projection but you can use it as a worksheet) to put the correct words in place to show the connection between the Sacraments of Initiation and the Exodus/Passover experience. The chart, when […]

Sacraments of Initiation: I Pledge Allegiance…

I’m on my way to Brooklyn, NY, for a presentation this evening, however, here’s my latest thinking about  teaching the Sacraments of Initiation this Monday and tying it to the Old Testament. I plan to introduce the session by inviting the kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to talk about what it means to pledge one’s allegiance to someone or something (loyalty, obedience). I’ll use that as an opportunity to talk about how […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 2, Day 3: “I Just Melted” (The Sacraments of Initiation)

WEEK TWO: Sacraments (Celebrating the Christian Mystery) DAY 3: “I Just Melted” (The Sacraments of Initiation) I remember asking my Dad before he passed away how it is that he and Mom never fought throughout their nearly 50 years of marriage. He said that, when they were dating, Mom once stood him up because she was unable to get back in time from another outing. He said he was all set to ream her out the […]

Fidelity Oaths for Catechists?

One of the stories in Catholic news recently is the issue of some dioceses requiring catechists and religion teachers to take an oath of fidelity. In particular, the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, has been in the news after some teachers and catechists quit rather than submit to taking the required oath of fidelity. The oath, which is to be signed and publicly administered on Catechetical Sunday, basically asks catechists to state that they, “with firm faith, belive […]

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