Retreat Ministry: Encounters with Christ

Discipleship is a way of life and is not bound by the constraints of programs or processes. It progresses at a pace willed by the Holy Spirit. Time and trust are the currencies of discipleship, but when the time we spend with our students is limited to one hour a week between September and May, our ability to be present in their lives is challenged. Finding ways to connect outside the classroom with students and […]

Service as a Catalyst for Missionary Discipleship

The corporal works of mercy play an important part in discipleship. When acts of service are planned to intentionally proclaim the Gospel and treat all people as if they were Jesus in disguise (see Matthew 25:34–40), they are a catalyst for initial and ongoing conversion. In her wisdom, the Church outlines a systematic and comprehensive process of evangelization and faith formation that nurtures conversion. This process of evangelization includes the following five stages. Pre-evangelization Initial […]

Jesus: Not What the Church Teaches but Who the Church Lives

“But how do we know Jesus was an actual person and not just made up?” John, one of my tenth-grade students, asked. “I know what the Bible says, but do we have any other evidence?” As catechists we are often asked this kind of question, and it can catch us by surprise. The temptation when faced with a question like this is to offer a standard response such as, “Well, the Catholic Church teaches us […]

Fishing for Men and Women

If Jesus wanted to choose the ideal person to lead his church into the future, where would he look for such a person? We might suppose he could find such a person in Jerusalem, among the priests of the temple or perhaps among the educated and talented nobles of the city. Yet the person Jesus called for the task was not found among the religious leaders or the noble families of the capitol city. Simon […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #8: Build and Deepen Commitment

Many advertisements not only entice you to purchase a product, but they invite you to re-prioritize your life around an idea. Some of the best examples of this are diet plans, which are no longer just about losing a few pounds but are about adopting a new lifestyle. When I stroll into the kitchen at Loyola Press during lunch time, I see numerous people meticulously preparing their dishes according to the philosophy and strategy of […]

Saint Paul and How to Evangelize in the 21st Century

By now, you are probably aware of a new movie about to be released: Paul, Apostle of Christ, starring James Faulkner as St. Paul and Jim Caviezel as St. Luke. The movie, to be released next week, is rated PG-13 and tells the story of how “two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus.” (IMDB) As happened when the Church celebrated […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #7: Touch the Heart

In his research about why some things “go viral” on social media, author Jonah Berger discovered that one of the main reasons is that the item provokes emotion, whether good or bad. Think about it: if you had a nickel for each post you’ve seen about a cute kitten, you’d be rich! People share things that make others reach for a tissue. By the same token, negative emotions can result in sharing, such as when a […]

Easter Season with the First Disciples

Spend Easter season sharing the joy of the first disciples by downloading the free reflection booklet by Bob Burnham. Reflect on scenes from the lives of: St. Mary Magdalene St. Peter Cleopas on the road to Emmaus St. Thomas St. Stephen St. Paul. As they encountered Jesus in the days and weeks after the Resurrection, we are called to share the Good News in our day and age. Ponder the stories of these early disciples, […]

Four Ways to Meet Them Where They Are

By now we’re all settling into our routines for the year and getting to know our students. Inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who advised “meeting them where they are” as the starting point for conversation, I’m wondering, do we meet them where they are? In order to take this Ignatian approach, we need to get to know them. Beyond playing a few get-to-know-you name games, which have their place, how do we go deeper […]

Discipleship Is a Relationship—Catechetical Sunday 2017

This Sunday, September 17, 2017, is Catechetical Sunday, with the theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples.” I’d like to take this time to offer my gratitude and affirmation for all catechists who have responded to the call to serve in this heroic vocation and this splendid ministry! For many of us, the notion of discipleship is still a bit of a mystery. What exactly does it mean to be a missionary disciple? It sounds like a […]

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