A Prayer for Catechists: Stories of Scripture

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. For more resources on Scripture in faith formation, see: Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation Are You Biblically Animated? Introducing Catholics to the Bible: Free Parent-Child Session “What’s Your Story?” Inviting Children into a Healthy Narrative Bible Bell Work Biblical Literacy for Catechists

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

In recent years, I have been increasingly convinced of the notion that our lives are guided by a narrative that is shaped by many factors and influences from the day we were born. This narrative colors how we see ourselves, others, and all of reality, including God. This concept is very familiar to people participating in twelve-step groups, since the healing process involves eradicating unhealthy narratives (“stinking thinking”) and replacing them with a healthy narrative. As […]

Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation

The God who loves us so abundantly is not some kind of nebulous, amorphous vapor of good feelings. God has revealed himself to us over the course of history through specific words and actions, climaxing in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn, revealed the Father’s love through specific words and actions. These words and actions formulate our narrative—the story of our salvation. When we invite others to enter into a relationship with […]

The Bible Blueprint 10th Anniversary Giveaway

I was thrilled to learn recently that Pope Francis has declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as “Word of God Sunday,” with the first observation of this taking place on January 26, 2020. What a great way to highlight the role of Scripture in the faith lives of Catholics! It is through Scripture that God reveals himself to us as a God who seeks to rescue, restore, and reassure us. This is our story—our […]

The Seven Ds of Discipleship: #5 Dwelling in the Word

This is part five of a seven-part series on discipleship. So far in this series, we have covered desire, discernment, decision-making, and discipline. In this article, we will talk about an essential and critical key to discipleship: Dwelling in the Word of God. A couple of years ago, I spoke with a group of students about the importance of remaining connected to God through prayerful reading of the Scriptures at home. After the class, a […]

Catechists Hungry for Knowledge of Scripture: A Look Back at Our Poll

Recently, we conducted one of our informal polls to get a peek into the minds and hearts of catechists. In this particular poll, we asked: Which area of Catholic teaching do you most need to grow in understanding? With 51% of the vote (as of 9/6/19), Scripture, by far, is the area in which catechists most feel a need to grow in their understanding. This is not surprising. While we Catholics have made great advances […]

“What’s Your Story?” Inviting Children into a Healthy Narrative

Among the many popular digital entertainment apps available today are those known as “interactive story” apps in which players “enter into” a storyline that is not predetermined and make choices that determine the story’s outcome. One such game, What’s Your Story?, invites players to choose from favorite movies and TV shows and to become a character in the story, making the story their own. The truth is, we all have a story or a narrative […]

Are You Biblically Animated?

At a meeting I recently attended at my alma mater, the Institute of Pastoral Studies (Loyola University), I heard a phrase I’d not heard before: biblical animation. It’s not a new phrase, but it was new to me! First, biblical animation does not refer to cartoon drawings of Bible scenes. Rather, biblical animation refers to activity that is “powered by” (animated by) an encounter with Christ in Scripture. Second, it would seem that the concept of […]

Creating the “Aroma of the Gospel” Through Stories

In order to introduce people to Jesus Christ, it is incumbent on us catechists to tell the stories of Jesus’ amazing deeds, beginning with the stories we have in Scripture in which he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the sick, changes water into wine, calms the storm, and raises people from the dead. Too often, we rush to teach doctrinal concepts while those we’re teaching don’t even know the story of Jesus Christ! As catechists, […]

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