How the Gifts You Give Can Help “Keep Christ in Christmas”

You can always expect to receive certain kinds of Christmas presents from certain people. For example, I could always expect to receive gifts of some kind of clothing from my mom, because she felt it was her duty to keep me properly dressed. And she made no apologies for that! As catechists, we should make no apologies for offering gifts to others at Christmas that focus on the centrality of Christ. In other words, the gifts […]

Celebrating the Wisdom of Elders

Encourage the children, youth, and families in your parish or school to acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from the wisdom of the generations in your community. Download resources inspired by Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends, including: An Intergenerational Event to gather families together to recognize and honor the gifts and wisdom of the generations. Family Prayer Box activity for any classroom. How Do I Help Celebrate the Wisdom of the Generations? […]

Are You Using the Leader Guides for My Books?

From time to time, I receive requests from people asking me for or recommending that I develop leader guides for my books. The truth is, many of my books already have Leader Guides! These guides can assist you in leading formation sessions or book discussions based on each book. They are especially helpful for small faith groups that wish to focus on a single resource for a period of time. Be sure to visit the page […]

Perseverance: I Will Try Again Tomorrow

When I do presentations for catechists all over the country, I like to ask how long folks have served in this role: newbies? Five years? Ten years? Once, as I kept going in five-year increments, a catechist in the front row continued to raise her hand as I sailed past 40, 45, 50, and 55 years! I finally asked her, “How many years have you been a catechist?” to which she proudly replied, “This is […]

Forming Catechist Enrichment Groups

In her book, Cultivating Your Catechists: How to Recruit, Encourage, and Retain Successful Catechists (The Effective Catechetical Leader series), Jayne Mondoy reminds us that corporate America invests millions of dollars in coaching groups of individuals (employees or clients) to work together toward a common goal and to be fully engaged. The truth is, without engagement, people (especially volunteers) tend to burn out more quickly. In his book, Growing an Engaged Church (Gallup Press), Albert L. Winseman identifies three […]

Hosting a Bible Boot Camp

With the end of the catechetical year quickly approaching, you may be looking for ways to engage older children, youth, and adults in faith formation over the summer. One great idea is to host a “Bible Boot Camp” using my book The Bible Blueprint and the free online Leader Guide to increase Bible literacy, leading to a deeper appreciation of Scripture. Most programs that are labeled as “Bible Boot Camp” are Vacation Bible School programs […]

What Book to Use for RCIA? Try A Well-Built Faith

While it is true that the “parish is the curriculum” (Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us) for the RCIA, and that the liturgical calendar should give shape and form to the “scope and sequence” of the catechumenate, the fact is, most RCIA coordinators and teams still desire to put a book in the hands of their catechumens and candidates. I have been delighted to learn that many such coordinators and teams have chosen to use […]

With Small Faith Groups, Capitalize on Flexibility

With Lent being just about a month away, many parishes are looking at utilizing small faith groups, one of the most effective formats for adult faith formation and a reality that I have written about previously. Too often, we think that we have to find a “permanent” resource for small faith groups—something that they can use continually without change. This flies in the face of one of the best things about small faith groups, which is […]

In-House Service Experiences: Reading Books to Young Children

It’s not always easy for young people to arrange to participate in service experiences, since they rely on adults for transportation. Likewise, as a catechist or teacher, it can sometimes be difficult logistically to plan opportunities for your students to participate in off-site service experiences. One solution is to arrange for older children to spend some time reading books to younger children! Young children love to be read to. In addition to that, reading aloud to […]

Godparents: Get Your Godchild a Different Kind of Christmas Gift

To be asked to be a child’s godmother or godfather is such an honor, because we know that we are being asked to play an important role in that child’s faith development. Unfortunately, we often feel at a loss for how to do that. This is especially true at gift-giving times when we often resort to giving money, which I’m sure the kids love, but which does not really express the depth of the relationship […]

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