Easter is Very Late Next Year!

I see that Easter, 2011, is on April 24! That’s quite late compared to most years (almost 3 weeks later than this year).This means that for many of us, we’ll be winding down our programs as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter! Of course, this means that Ash Wednesday is also very late: March 9, 2011, to be exact, which gives us some breathing space between Christmas and Lent. Why am I mentioning all […]

RCIA Catechists: Getting the Newly Initiated to “Come Back” for Mystagogia

I had a nice discussion last evening with some RCIA coordinators, catechists, and sponsors, who were lamenting how difficult it is to get the newly initiated to return for sessions following the Easter Vigil. (Sounds very similar to the struggle we have getting kids to come back after Confirmation, eh?) The Easter season is to be a period of “mystagogia” (miss-tuh-GO-jyah) – an opportunity to reflect upon the mysteries of our faith (which basically describes […]

Easter Season Lessons?

Happy Easter everyone!!! I received the following email from Margaret Ann, asking for some help. Hi Joe, I started putting together my next Family Program for the Home Schooler Rel. Ed. folks at my parish. I’m thinking along the lines of the Easter Season Readings/Feast Days – Ascension, Pentecost. I am leaning on the theme of New Growth, Gardening, Spring, Rogation Days (the ritual of blessing the fields – this year they are May 10, 11, […]

Alleluia! The Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil last night at St. Julie Billiart Parish in Tinley Park was exquisite! What a beautiful experience of celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord! Here are the catechumens and candidates gathered around the soon-to-be-lit fire. The Easter fire is lit in the darkened narthex of the church. The Deacon did a wonderful job of singing the Exsultet…the Easter Proclamation…in the darkened church lit now by the candles held by all the faithful. The […]

Good Friday Graces

The graces of the Triduum continue to flow as we marked the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and the Veneration of the Cross on this Good Friday at St. Julie Billart Parish in Tinley Park (this is where my wife and I usually attend Mass on Sundays).                 The solemn beginning in which we prostrate ourselves (through the priest and deacon) before the Cross reminds us of the […]

Easter Blessings!

I wish you a very Blessed Easter season!!! May the grace of the Risen Lord be with you always! Experiencing the Triduum was a blessing as always. Holy Thursday and Good Friday were at St. Julie Billiart parish in Tinley Park and the Easter Vigil was at St. Clement in Chicago. All were celebrated with great reverence, style, and grace, and the the richness of the sacramentality of these days filled all of my senses. […]

I Wish You A Blessed Holy Week

The other day, I drove past a Protestant church whose marquee read “He is Risen!” I joked with my wife that “they’re a week early!” And yet, of course, we know that Jesus is Risen. As we proceed through this Holy Week, we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus through the lens of the Resurrection. We don’t pretend this week that we don’t know how the story ends. Good Friday is not a wake service for […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Holy Week Basket

This Lenten activity is an opportunity for catechists to connect Holy Week and the end of Lent to the celebration of Easter. Holy Week Basket We are all familiar with Easter Baskets. This activity takes the Easter Basket and transforms it into a Holy Week Basket in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Place a traditional Easter Basket (filled with that fake green grass!) in the center of the room. In the basket, place a number […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Making a Paschal Candle

OK catechists, today we continue with another Lenten activity… Making a Paschal Candle Ask if any of the young people have experienced a power outage during a storm at night time Talk about how frightening it can be to be surrounded by darkness and how we rely on flashlights and candles to provide light for us at these moments. Explain that we use the image of “darkness” to talk about the bad things that are […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Bury the Alleluia

During these 40 days of Lent, I am offering 40 ideas (activities) to help catechists engage young people around the themes and images of this sacred season. Here is your next Lenten activity: Bury the Alleluia Write the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” on the board and ask if anyone can explain what it means. (we miss something or someone the longer we are without it or them) Point out that during the […]

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