Changing It Up with a Craft

It was the week when all the students in Texas had to take standardized tests. Even on a good day, my third-grade faith formation class is a squirmy bunch. After being at elementary school all day, doing nothing but taking standardized tests, I knew they would be extra squirmy. I needed to do something different to keep their attention this time. I wasn’t going to follow my regular class plan, so I needed a hands-on […]

Hallelujah and Peace to Celebrate Easter Season

Because our faith formation program takes time off for Holy Week and Easter Week, the Second Week of Easter is the first time we meet after the Church has celebrated the Resurrection and the Alleluia has returned to Mass. I like to make a point of that for the young people in my group and start sessions after Easter by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” It grabs the attention of the young people […]

Four Ways to Help Children Understand Easter, the Feast of Feasts

Easter is central to Christian faith. We are, as St. Augustine pointed out, an Easter people. How do we help students identify themselves as Easter people and claim Alleluia! as their song? First, make sure they know the story of Easter. Easter is the “Feast of feasts,” the moment when the Kingdom of God enters into our time (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1168‒1169). Jesus’ Death on the Cross and his Resurrection after three days […]

Five Tips for Celebrating the Easter Season in Your Classroom

The DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, presents the legendary figures of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman as the protectors of the innocence, hopes, and dreams of children. In one important scene, the Easter Bunny explains to Jack Frost, the newest guardian, the meaning of Easter. “Easter is new beginnings, new life,” he says. “Easter’s about hope.” And really, it is. Our goal during the Easter season is to […]

How to Learn the Paschal Greeting with a Tech Twist

I love seeing my students after our Easter break. They look fresh-faced with that “I-just-got-a-haircut” look, they seem taller, and they are sporting a new pair of shoes! I greet them with with colorful Easter decorations, which include my table-top sized Easter tree. Each Easter I love teaching my students about the Orthodox paschal greeting. You say, “Christ is Risen!” Your neighbor replies, “Indeed he is Risen!” What a great way to greet your neighbors […]

Easter Blessings

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ, Alleluia! He is indeed risen! As we begin this glorious 50-day season of Easter—a time in which we celebrate fully the Lord’s triumph over sin and death—may our hearts be filled with new life and may our spirits soar! To help us begin this celebration, I am happy to offer you this brief video reflection on the Gospel story of Peter and John running to the tomb […]

Good Friday Points to Easter

My friend, Todd Williamson (Director of the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago), likes to remind people that we should not approach Good Friday as though we do not know the outcome—namely, the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter! While Good Friday is a solemn and sober celebration, we know full well that it is leading us to the joy of the Resurrection and Christ’s triumph over sin and death. With that in mind, I thought […]

Holy Week, the Triduum, and Easter—Free PowerPoint Presentation

Whether it’s with a deep breath, a soft prayer, or a slight push, there are things we do to get ready. These final touches, and many others, are examples of our personal preparedness, and it is just as important to prepare and ready ourselves as it is to experience. Today I’m offering a way to help us get ready for the end of Lent with a free PowerPoint presentation on Holy Week, the Triduum, and […]

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

I know little about the Greek language, however, when I was in my Doctor of Ministry program, one of my classmates was an Orthodox priest who taught me that their Easter greeting is “Christos Anesti!” which means, “Christ is Risen!” to which the response is “Alithos Anesti!” or “Indeed, He is Risen!” or “Truly, He is Risen!” And so, this Easter, instead of simply wishing you a “Happy Easter,” my greeting to you is, Christ […]

From Lent to Easter—From Fasting to Feasting (Savoring)

We just finished 40 days of Lent in order to prepare to celebrate 50 days of Easter! During Lent, we practice specific disciplines: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. So how do we “practice” Easter? We certainly don’t give up on praying and almsgiving, although those are colored now more by joyful gratitude than penance. But what does it mean to move from fasting to feasting? Feasting is not to be associated with gluttony. Feasting, for Catholics, […]

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