The Engaged Catechist: Forming Catechist Enrichment Groups

In his book, Growing An Engaged Church (Gallup Press), Albert L. Winseman explains that, without true engagement, volunteers burn out quickly. He identifies 3 ways to make an immediate impact on the level of engagement of church members: clarify the expectations of membership help your members discover what they do best create small groups I think these can (and should) be easily applied to catechists, who, without engagement, do indeed burnout quickly. Those catechists who […]

Sacramental Readiness and Initiation – Developing New Habits

We’ve had a good conversation here about sacramental readiness over the last few days thanks to a plea for help from “Monica.” Thank you to all who have so generously shared their wisdom. Our discussion got me thinking about the notion of readiness and the fact that all of our catechesis takes its cue from the process of Initiation which is an apprenticeship into a way of life. Assessment of knowledge of the faith is […]

Catholic Identity? It’s in the W.A.T.E.R.

This coming Monday (April 29) is my last evening with the 6th graders. Following the closing Mass in church, I should have about 20 minutes left with them and I plan to use that time to send the kids off with something concrete about how to live out their faith as a Catholic. First, I’m going to show them some images of Chinese artist Liu Bolin who is known for his “Invisible Man” images in which […]

Prayers for Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on the Announcement of his Resignation

Just a few months ago, I read an interesting book titled The Pope Who Quit that tells the fascinating tale of the election and subsequent resignation of Pope Celestine V in 1294, the only pope to ever abdicate the Chair of St. Peter. That story provides a context for us to understand just how historic is the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Given the significance of this moment, it is evident that our […]

Why the Title “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?”

I had to chuckle at the follow-up email I received from Dr. Thomas Groome, asking why I chose to title my post, “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?” I can understand why he might take exception to that title since he is still very much on the scene! The truth is, the title was intended to be provocative (you know how we bloggers are always trying to capture attention!) The question, “where have you gone, […]

Opening Mass Tonight; Thinking Ahead to Next Week

Tonight, our religious education program celebrates our Opening Mass in the Church which means that I will primarily be supervising my 6th graders as they gather for Mass and then throughout the Mass. This afternoon, I plan to go over their names so that this evening I will be able to greet them and talk to them by name. As we wait for Mass to begin, I thought I would do some Q & A […]

Off to a Good Start!

I was very pleased with my first session of 6th grade religious education last evening! 🙂 Here’s a rundown of highlights and lowlights: Since I teach in the later session and someone is in the room before me, I don’t have much time to set up (15 mins…if I’m lucky) so it is a real whirlwind trying to get things ready. I have this notion that the kids will walk into this very serene and prayerful […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 1, Day 5: You’ve Got the Network (Church, Mary, Saints, and Eternity)

WEEK ONE: The Creed DAY 5: You’ve Got the Network (Church, Mary, Saints, and Eternity) I’m sure you recall the Verizon ad with the message “It’s the Network,” showing people on Verizon wireless phones backed up by a huge crowd of Verizon workers who represent their support network. The message is clear: wherever you go, the network is there with you and you are never on your own. A huge part of our Catholic faith is our […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 1, Day 2: Trusting God’s Word

WEEK ONE: The Creed DAY 2: Trusting God’s Word (Scripture and Tradition) If someone claims to have authority to perform a very important task, we want to know that we can trust that individual. If someone pounds on your door and says, “Open up! Police!” you certainly want to verify that they have a badge before you let them in. Authority and trust go hand in hand.  When it comes to our faith, the question of […]

Hey Catholics! Public Relations is NOT a Dirty “Word!”

When discussing catechesis and evangelization, I am very comfortable using the phrases such as  “public relations” (PR) or marketing, and find that I often encounter push back. “The Church is not trying to win a public relations battle!” “Proclaiming the Gospel is not a popularity contest!” “The Church is not about public relations!” The conclusion that many people draw is that public relations and marketing necessitate altering the content of your core beliefs. That is a […]

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