Accompaniment: Giving People the “Time of Day”

In the new Directory for Catechesis, there is a good amount of attention devoted to the notion of accompaniment. This is not surprising, since Pope Francis used the phrase “the art of accompaniment” in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. But what exactly does accompaniment look like? Simply put, to accompany someone is to give that person the “time of day”—a phrase we use to describe acknowledging someone and giving that someone our attention. It is to […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Who Do You Follow?

There are leaders, and there are followers. It’s important to know that being a follower is not a bad thing—that is, as long as you are following the right person or thing! Disciples are basically followers. To be a disciple is to adhere to the teachings of someone. In the Gospels, anyone who adheres to the teachings of Jesus is referred to as a disciple. Today, the Church is calling each of us to discipleship—to […]

What a Team! Speaking in the Arena at L.A. Congress

One of my favorite phrases at Loyola Press—”What a team!”—can be traced to our president emeritus, Fr. George Lane, SJ, who often reacted to success stories in this manner. This phrase captures the experience I shared earlier this year with a group of talented colleagues at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. If you’re not familiar with the L.A. Congress, it is the largest religious education gathering in the country, drawing about 25,000 people over four […]

Lenten Disciples: Martha and Mary at the Raising of Lazarus

In this Lenten disciples series, we have explored the stories of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42) and the man who was blind since birth (John 9:1–41). We now turn to the dramatic story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1–45). Set in the small town of Bethany, which was about two miles from Jerusalem, we hear that Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was very sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus, […]

Lenten Disciples: The Man Born Blind

In the Scriptures, we see examples of disciples at different stages of their faith journeys. Through the story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42), we explored the early stages of the discipleship journey. Later in the Gospel of John, we hear the story of Jesus restoring sight to a man born blind. (John 9:1–41). This story represents the next stage in the journey of discipleship. In this story, a man who was […]

Lenten Disciples: The Woman at the Well

In the Scriptures, we see examples of disciples at different stages of their journeys. For the next few weeks of Lent, we will explore three different encounters with Jesus and what these encounters tell us about discipleship. We will focus first on perhaps one of the best-known stories in the Bible: Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42). In this story, Jesus approaches a Samaritan woman and strikes up a conversation with her at […]

Catechists as Co-Missionaries

Each year when catechists are commissioned on Catechetical Sunday, I envision Jesus’ Great Commission before he ascended into heaven: Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole […]

The Influential Catechist

In a previous article I encouraged catechists—myself included—to move ever steadily toward God’s vision for us and the world. On this journey of accompaniment, we influence one another through our acts of Christian discipleship. Charlie is a catechist and influential civic leader. He helped re-establish a medical center in a town near under-served rural communities. He explains, “It often took over an hour for an ambulance to transport patients to a full-service emergency medical facility. […]

The Seven Ds of Discipleship: #3 Decision-Making for Christ

This is part three of a seven-part series on discipleship. “Just make a decision,” I said to my two children as they were vacillating between two very simple options for dinner. If only all decisions could be so trivial! While some decisions in our life can be very simple, others will be pretty complex. This is especially true when making decisions in relation to our faith. In the last two parts of this series, we […]

The Seven Ds of Discipleship: #2 Discernment

This is part two of a seven-part series on discipleship. In my last blog post, we discussed desire as a key to discipleship and reviewed a number of ways that we can keep the flame of our faith burning. We will now look at a critical spiritual skill to help us to grow as disciples: discernment. Being a disciple means that we must make the time to reflect upon our lives. Just as Jesus went […]

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