Enhancing Sacramental Preparation with Engaging Videos

I have long been an advocate of using engaging videos to enhance faith formation, as long as they are never used to replace the catechist. In other words, videos should always be seen as a supplement to the faith formation experience—a way of reinforcing important content visually and/or a way of telling a story that invites the viewer into a deeper experience of the theme being explored. In my years at Loyola Press, I have been […]

Doing Confirmation Prep Digitally During the Pandemic

While you may be proceeding with plans for an in-person celebration of Confirmation at some point in 2021, chances are that your Confirmation prep is taking place this fall in the midst of the pandemic. Of course, this means that you are scrambling to figure out how to do Confirmation prep remotely! Never fear, Confirmed in the Spirit—the popular Confirmation preparation program from Loyola Press—is now available digitally! This includes the following: Young People’s Book My […]

Confirmation Apprenticeship at St. Sylvester Parish in Chicago

The General Directory for Catechesis states clearly that faith formation is to be an “apprenticeship” in the Catholic way of life (#67). This means, of course, that faith formation cannot be limited to the transmission of information but must invite one into a way of living that is transformational—one that changes our minds and hearts. For Catholics, part of our way of living involves practicing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, since we believe that […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Confirmation: What’s Come Over You?

Welcome to the third installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of Confirmation, with the theme of “What’s Come Over You?” We use the phrase, “What’s come over you?” when someone appears to be affected by something. The phrase captures our belief that it is possible for something outside ourselves to affect us within and transform the way we […]

A Different Approach for Letters to the Bishop for Confirmation

During a trip I made last month to Jacksonville, FL, I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with my friend and colleague Sean Williams (to my left) and two wonderful people, Deacon Jerry Turkowski (DRE) and Monina Mulleague (CRE), of San Juan del Rio Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Deacon Jerry and Monina recently adopted the Finding God program for their very sizeable parish and, over lunch, we discussed various aspects of evangelizing catechesis, and we […]

Stealth Catechesis: Teaching without Teaching

One evening, my 10th-grade Confirmation class revolted. “We do not want to use the book anymore,” said their leader. “Why not?” I asked. “We’ve been in school all day, and we’re tired of sitting around listening and reading. This is supposed to be church, not school.” I could see her point. After all, I had been working all day, had gone straight to the church from the train, and I had yet to eat dinner. […]

Independence Day: Revisiting How to Create a Declaration of DEpendence

As we celebrate Independence Day, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit an idea from a lesson I taught several years ago about the Lord’s Prayer as our Declaration of DEpendence. Through the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we express our dependence on what God provides for us: his name, kingdom, will, daily bread, forgiveness, direction, and deliverance. Have a wonderful and blessed holiday! Here’s how to make your own “parchment.” […]

Parent Confirmation Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As children age into teens, they continue to look to their parents and guardians for cues on how to act and think in a mature way. Even if they don’t seek out advice or seem to actively dismiss it, young people are just as eager for parental guidance as they were when learning to tie their shoes. The same is true in preparation for Confirmation, when young people look to their parents for guidance on […]

Bringing Confirmandi and Sponsors Together for Meaningful Conversation

Too often, the role of the sponsor at Confirmation is treated as though it’s akin to being a bridesmaid or a groomsman at a wedding: just stand there and look good. And, oh yes, be sure to put your hand on your confirmandi’s shoulder. In short, it is a missed opportunity for quality adult faith formation. At St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, the Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, takes the role of the sponsor […]

Apprenticeships Instead of Service Projects

I recently received this comment from Jared Anderson about something creative and outstanding he is doing with his Confirmation program: The way that we incorporate Mission into our Confirmation program is that I require the candidates to do 4 month long Apprenticeships in an already existing Parish Ministry. There are 12 ministries (including myself as Director of Confirmation and Youth Ministries) that provide an adult mentor to provide ministry-specific formation and opportunities to get their […]

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