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 […]

Living as Missionary Disciples: Be Careful What You Ask For!

This year’s theme for Catechetical Sunday, September 17, 2017, is “Living as Missionary Disciples.” But just what does it mean to be a missionary disciple? My friend, Vickie Tufano, tells a story (which she attributes to her friend, William Willimon, a professor at Duke University) of a campus minister at a university who received a phone call from an irate parent who was calling to complain that his daughter had chosen to ignore her degree […]

Catechists as Missionary Disciples

Catechetical Sunday, with its 2017 theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples,” is a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on why we do the challenging work of catechesis. How do we live as missionary disciples? Mission When I hear the word missionary, I think of a priest sailing to some far away and foreign land to preach the Gospel, armed only with his crucifix and his conviction. We might think that the call to be […]

Possibly the Most Important Paragraph in a Church Document: RCIA #75

Several years ago, a campaign began to invite former Catholics to return to the Church: Catholics Come Home. But did you ever ask, “What are folks coming home to? And why? What am I doing to help welcome them to my parish faith community?” People stop coming to church for a variety of reasons. The question is, are we inviting them back to the very same experience that caused them to leave in the first place? […]

Celebrating the Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord often happens after our religious education sessions are over for the school year. However, it can be the perfect final lesson of the year as students depart for the summer. Include the Ascension in your lesson plan for the final session by encouraging students to be disciples over the summer. Just as Jesus left the Twelve with a mission, you can do the same. I Am with […]

Make No Mistake: Disciples Make Disciples!

OK, I know! The Holy Spirit makes disciples! But the point that I want to make is that the Holy Spirit makes disciples through other disciples. I bristle at promotions for catechetical resources (books or videos) that claim to do it all on their own and promise to make it “so easy” for catechists that all the catechist needs to do is, in essence, get out of the way, so that the resource can work […]

The Power of Prayer: Three Ways to Model Discipleship

Peter, a director of religious education at a parish, asked Susan if prayer was interwoven into her classroom. “But I don’t have time to pray with my students and still get all of the material covered!” Susan answered, exasperated. “The most important thing,” Peter assured her, “is to model a life of discipleship grounded in prayer.” “Why?” Susan asked. “Because without the deep breath of prayer,” Peter replied, “our students will never believe that we […]

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